Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pete Townshend

Things they do look awful cold
I hope I die before I get old.
From their 1965 hit single, "My Generation," which was written by Pete Townshend when he was 20.  "I hope I die before I get old" is the ultimate rock 'n' roll lyric -- no one's ever going to top it.

On this date in 1979, the Who were in Cincinnati to play at the Riverfront Coliseum before a sellout crowd of about 18,500 fans.  As was common in those days, concertgoers weren't assigned seats -- it was first-come, first-served.

Despite frigid temperatures, a crowd began to assemble outside the arena early that afternoon in hopes of getting choice seats.  When the Who had finished their sound check, five of the Coliseum's 134 doors were opened and thousands of fans began to surge forward.  (The reason so few doors were opened was that there were only nine ticket takers working that night, and it would have been a violation of union rules to allow ushers or other arena employees to take tickets.)

Eleven people were suffocated and died as a result of the stampede -- all well before they got old.  (The oldest was a 27-year-old mother of two, and the youngest were two 15-year-old friends.)  Dozens of others were injured.

Cincinnati banned first-come, first-served seating shortly after the tragedy.  The ban was repealed 25 years later.

No comments:

Post a Comment