Today marks the 40th anniversary of The Who’s 1979 Cincinnati concert tragedy

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the tragic incident that occurred at a Who concert at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum, where 11 young people were killed when a crowd of fans tried to push their way through the venue’s entry doors.

The tragedy occurred when fans that had gathered outside of the arena heard The Who playing a soundcheck and thought the concert had started, causing a rush as people to tried to force their way into the building, although the doors were still closed. Contributing to the frenzy was the fact that the show offered mostly general-admission tickets with no assigned seats.

The 11 victims, whose ages spanned from 15 to 27, died of asphyxiation. The Who’s manager, Bill Curbishley, worried that canceling the concert would cause more injuries and convinced authorities to allow the show to go on. The band members were only made aware of the tragedy after they finished their performance.

As previously announced, The Who’s Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey appear in a new hour-long documentary about the tragedy called The Who: The Night that Changed Rock that premieres tonight on Cincinnati-area ABC affiliate WCPO at 8 p.m. ET, and also will stream on WCPO.com.

The special features the first in-depth interviews with Townshend, Daltrey and Curbishley about the deadly incident.

In a sneak peek at the doc, Townshend admits that he’s had a hard time feeling closure about the tragedy.

“One of the reasons maybe why the scar has been tricky because, wow, you know, this is the first conversation in-depth that we’ve had about this ever,” he says. “So, you know, maybe now the scar will heal a little bit.”

In addition, the film also features interviews with survivors of the incident and family members of some of the victims.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Share this Story: