Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Who Tragedy

With Kenny Jones on drums replacing the late Keith Moon, this version of the Who, here with their 1981 song "Don't Let Go of the Coat," is the one that played in Cincinnati, Ohio thirty years ago tonight. Eleven fans were killed in a rush to grab seats due to so-called "festival seating." Many more were injured but the concert went on as the band was not informed of any of this until after the show. A controversial move but I think it was the correct one at the time as the already fired up crowd would not have taken well to the news of the show being cancelled and more problems may have ensued. The band members each handled things in their own way but the event had long-lasting effects for Pete in particular, escalating his substance abuse for some time afterwards.

I knew a couple of folks who were there that night, one of whom suffered a broken limb and was interviewed by Walter Cronkite the next night on CBS News. A girl I dated a few years later told me she had flashed her boobs at a security guard around the other side of the Coliseum from where the tragedy would occur to get him to let her and her friends in earlier so she didn't know about the tragedy until the next day.

I myself had been knocked down in 1976 as I attended alone my very first actual rock concert--Wings. Every attempt to get back up as the crowds flooded the doors screaming failed and I was lucky enough that it happened near the door so I literally crawled inside and grabbed the first seat I could get. Not a great experience for my first concert. I left early even to avoid the crowds on the way out. Luckily I was just bruised up a little. That night in December of 1979 it was different.

1 comment:

  1. i remember when that happened. i was about 12 and had already been playing the drums for 2 years and was a HUGE Who fan at the time. that whole incident seemed quite unbelievable to me at the time. what a sad, wasteful way to die though, at a fucking conert! things havent changed much though except NOW people die so someone else can get 50% off a big screen TV at Walmart at 4am the day after thanksgiving.