My sister's boyfriend used to love quizzing me on the tapes I had on the wall. There were 46 tapes in one case and 23 in the other. He'd pull out Boston 6/10/76, I'd rattle off "Side A: Promised, Sugaree, Cassidy, They Loved, Music, Brown Eyed, Lazy Lightning/Supplication, and Side B: Row Jimmy, Big River, the gem Mission, LL Rain, Might as Well." He'd always be amazed at how I was able to retain the shows I had on the wall.
When I left for college, I had to figure out how to transport my tapes to and fro, because my hockey rack was a fixture in my bedroom. So, I acquired a traveling case to hold some of my tapes. I also found my mom's European backpack which had these side pockets that could have held all my socks and underwear or 22 tapes each. Of course I used it to transport tapes, which is saying a lot because I wore Teva's everyday (for about 2 years) and I needed thick wool socks in the winter.
At some point I bought a Case Logic, but that only held about 30 tapes so it wasn't an efficient option. Then one day my friend Geoff came into my dorm and said, "I found this new Case Logic. One that holds 240, 120 on each side." I was sold. I bought three of them; one for Dead, one for Phish and one for my Dylan and Tom Waits albums.
Each tape and show was special to me. They were events. A snapshot in time and they needed to be treated that way. So I would use markers, pens, and crayons to make each Maxell XL look and feel different. Then I would vary the font I would use for Dead and if I really wanted to highlight a night, I'd use a tape cover. Nowadays this is harder. One thing I've started to do, is use the images from my blog post as artwork for each show. It gives each show its uniqueness.
By the end of my college days, my tape collection was a thing of the past. I had moved on to Digital Audio Tapes, which meant I had to replace all those special events in a new improved format. I was able to replace some but it is still a work in progress. Then I moved on to CD's and now to my Digital collection of iTunes, iPods, and archive.org.
One spring day in 2002, I bagged up all my tapes into 3 or 4 black bags and left them on the curb. The next day they were gone, except these 30 tapes. Since I've romanticized my tapes in the last ten years, I'm going to send these to Boston, to my only friend with a tape player.