Pete Townshend opened up on a heartbreaking events of The Who’s concert in at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati on December 3, 1979, 40 years ago. At the gig, 11 people were killed and eight seriously injured when a stampede broke out as the crowd swarmed through the doors before The Who arrived on stage.
As the band announced their first concert in Cincinnati since the tragedy, lead guitarist Townshend told WPCO: “I’m still traumatised by it.
“It’s a weird thing to have in your autobiography that, you know, 11 kids died at one of your concerts. It’s a strange, disturbing, heavy load to carry,” he said of the burden of the memory.
Lead singer Roger Daltrey also recalled the devastating incident, saying: “That dreadful night of the third of December became one of the worst dreams I’ve had in my life.”
Now, The Who are set to return to Cincinnati for the first time since the horrific events of 1979, revealing a scheduled date at the BB&T Arena on April 23, 2020.
The arena is seven miles from the site of the Riverfront Coliseum.
“Now we can have a conversation about it when we go back,” Townshend told the Associated Press. “We will meet people and we’ll be there.
“We’ll be there. That’s what’s important. I’m so glad we have this opportunity to go back.”
A portion of the proceeds from the Cincinnati gig will go to the P.E.M. Memorial Scholarship Fund, which was set up in honour of three students who died in the stampede.
The Who didn’t learn of the tragedy until after they finished the show that night.
“This isn’t about rock ’n’ roll. This is about kids from Cincinnati who died — kids from Cincinnati whose parents went through trauma; kids from Cincinnati who were disabled or hurt or damaged by what happened here.”
The Who are set to tour the UK in March and April next year.
The band will play Manchester, Dublin, Newcastle, Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff, Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and London.
They will then return to North America for a string of gigs in Florida, Texas, Colorado, Nevada and the show in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Who’s new album, Who, will be released on Friday.
Elsewhere, Daltrey told Billboard earlier this year that he expects his voice to give up “in the next five years”, saying: “Age will get it in the end.
“It’s still there at the moment,” he added.