On this day in 1979, 11 people died at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio as a crowd pushed their way towards general admission seating shortly before The Who performed there.
I remember the event because it scared the beejezus out of me. I had never been to a rock concert before, and the imagery of crazed, longhairs running for the seats played over and over in my head. Never mind that there were no actual seats that the people were running to, the detailed account in Rolling Stone magazine after the event made going to a rock concert sound like a dangerous proposition.
The concert took place only a few months after the band put Keith Moon in the ground and, perhaps, the incident should have been construed as an omen to consider. After all, no band in their right mind soldiers on without Keith Fucking Moon, do they?
But as we learned, The Who soldiers on, even when half the original line-up has passed. Even when eleven fans perish on their way to come see you.
One of my favorite tv shows from the time, WKRP in Cincinnati did an episode on it, which I think was/is incredibly cool.
It wasn’t until I had the chance to actually go to a rock concert that I realized when 11 people die on their way to the auditorium while actually being inside said auditorium, it’s probably the result of some incredible neglect on behalf of the facility.
Because the worse thing I’ve ever seen at a concert was some dude jacking off in the stands after a Grateful Dead stands.
And nobody trampled on other people trying to get away from him…