The Who concert disaster occurred on December 3, 1979 when British rock band the Who performed at Riverfront Coliseum (now known as U.S. Bank Arena) in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, and a stampede of concert-goers outside the coliseum's entry doors resulted in the deaths of eleven people.
The Who were in the midst of the United States portion of their 1979 world tour, which began in September with a total of six dates split between the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey and Madison Square Garden in New York City. The band then took some time off and would resume the tour on November 30 at the auditorium of the Detroit Masonic Temple. The Cincinnati concert was the third show played in this portion of the tour, after a concert the night before at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena.
The concert was a sellout, with 18,348 tickets sold. The majority of these, 14,770, were unassigned general admission tickets that were first-come, first-served.
A few hours before the show a sizeable crowd had already gathered outside the front of the arena. Around 7,000 people were there by 7pm. Entry to the arena was through a series of individual doors all along the front of the arena, as well as a few doors at each side. The crowd focused at each of the doors. The doors were not opened at the scheduled time, causing the crowd to become increasingly agitated and impatient. During this period, the Who undertook a late soundcheck. Some members of the crowd heard this and mistakenly believed that the concert was already starting. Some people in the back of the crowd began pushing toward the front, but this rush soon dissipated as the crowd realized that no entry doors had been opened and that the concert had not in fact begun yet.
People were originally told through a radio station that GA ticket holders would be admitted at 3:00 pm and therefore a sizable crowd formed by 5:00 pm. Although all the doors were expected to be opened simultaneously, only a pair of doors at the far right of the main entrance were finally opened. As concert goers entered the stadium through these two open doors, those waiting in front of all of the other doors began pushing forward again. After a short period of waiting and then knocking on the doors and the glass next to the doors, the crowd assumed that none of the remaining doors would be opened. Then, about 7:15 pm, the real trouble began, some say there was a very late soundcheck but others have said that they played The Who's Quadrophenia movie, in lieu of an opening act. Either way, the crowd assumed that The Who were on earlier than scheduled. At that point, the entire crowd surged and pushed toward the two doors which had been opened. This caused many people to get trampled while some suffered more serious injuries. Eleven people were unable to escape the dense crowd pushing toward them and died by asphyxiation. Twenty-six other people reported injuries.
The concert went on as planned, with the band members not told of the tragedy until after their performance. The following night a lengthy segment on the tragedy aired on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite examining violence at rock concerts. Guitarist Pete Townshend was interviewed by CBS News correspondent Martha Teichner comparing crowd reactions at concerts to football and boxing matches calling them "high energy events".
In Providence, Rhode Island, mayor Vincent A. Cianci cancelled a scheduled performance of the Who at the city's Civic Center that same month. This was despite the fact that the Providence venue had assigned seating. Thirty-three years later, the band returned to Providence and honored tickets from the 1979 show.
The families of the victims sued the band, concert promoter Electric Factory Concerts, and the city of Cincinnati. The suits were settled in 1983, awarding each of the families of the deceased approximately $150,000 ($377,300 today), and approximately $750,000 ($1,886,700 today) to be divided among the 23 injured. The city of Cincinnati also imposed a ban on unassigned seating on December 27, 1979, with minor exceptions, for the next 25 years.
11 weeks after the concert took place, WKRP in Cincinnati aired a special episode showing some of the show's characters attending the concert, learning afterwards of the deaths, and their reaction to having helped promote it on the radio station.
The eleven people who died in the stampede were:
Walter Adams Jr., aged 22 - Trotwood, OH
Peter Bowes, aged 18 - Wyoming, OH
Connie Sue Burns, aged 21- Miamisburg, OH
Jacqueline Eckerle, aged 15 - Finneytown, OH
David Heck, aged 19 - Highland Heights, KY
Teva Rae Ladd, aged 27 - Newtown, OH
Karen Morrison, aged 15 - Finneytown, OH
Stephan Preston, aged 19 - Finneytown, OH
Philip Snyder, aged 20 - Franklin, OH
Bryan Wagner, aged 17 - Fort Thomas, KY
James Warmoth, aged 21 - Franklin, OH
The incident was the subject of a book, Are The Kids All Right? The Rock Generation And Its Hidden Death Wish, as well as a second-season episode of WKRP in Cincinnati called "In Concert". It also inspired scenes in the film Pink Floyd—The Wall, whose 1982 premiere was attended by the Who's Pete Townshend.
In 2004, the city of Cincinnati permanently repealed its long-standing ban on unassigned seating, a move which has been criticized by some. A temporary exemption of the ban had been made for a Bruce Springsteen concert in 2002. The goal of lifting the ban was to attract more big-name acts. However, the city now mandates there must be nine square feet per person at a venue, and the number of tickets sold for each event is adjusted accordingly.
Paul Wertheimer, the city's first Public Information Officer at the time of the tragedy, went on to serve on a task force on crowd control, and later founded Crowd Management Strategies in 1992, a consulting firm based in Los Angeles.
In 2009, thirty years after the tragedy, rock station WEBN/102.7 aired a retrospective on the event, including clips from news coverage in 1979.
In 2014, Pearl Jam played in the city and acknowledged the tragedy. They dedicated a cover of the Who's "The Real Me" to those who died. Pearl Jam experienced a similar tragedy in 2000, when 9 people died in a crush during their concert at Roskilde Festival.
On the eve of the 35th anniversary of the tragedy, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley promised to have a historical marker on the site of the tragedy in 2015. A Committee consisting of three concert survivors, and one family member of victim Teva Ladd were pivitol in getting the memorial placed, Mike Babb, Thomas, Brown, Kasey Ladd and Rick Schwitzer, the marker was dedicated at U. S. Bank Arena on December 3, 2015.
The Showtime series Roadies dedicated an entire episode to the '79 event. The episode, "The City Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken", showcases the "roadies" of a fictional band completing many rituals after someone on the tour bus mentions Cincinnati.
— Source: Wikipedia
Glennon Edward Engleman (February 6, 1927 – March 3, 1999) was a United States Army veteran and a St. Louis dentist who moonlighted as a hitman, planning and carrying out at least seven murders for monetary gain over the course of 30 years. He was already serving two life sentences in a Missouri state prison when he pleaded guilty to the murder of a man and his wealthy parents in a separate contract killing, that occurred in Illinois. Engleman was a sociopath; once stating that his talent was to kill without remorse and he enjoyed planning and carrying out killings and disposing of the remains, in order that it would net him financial rewards.
Engleman would use his financial worth, sex and charm to manipulate women he was close to, ex-wives, lovers and his dental assistant, in helping him formulate and execute elaborate murder schemes. This led to one of his lovers, Barbara Boyle being convicted as an accomplice and serving less than half of a 50-year sentence. Another accomplice, Robert Handy was also convicted and served time in prison. Methods used to kill his victims included shooting, bludgeoning with a sledgehammer and explosives. The exact number of his victims is unknown.
Author Susan Crane Bakos 1988 book Appointment for Murder dedicates all 286 pages in covering Engleman's murder cases. The cases against him were re-enacted in a rare, two-part episode of the crime documentary series "The FBI Files".
1958: Engleman is suspected of the death of James Stanley Bullock, 27, a clerk for Union Electric Company of Missouri and part-time student. Shot near the St. Louis Art Museum. Edna Ruth Bullock (née Ball) and James Bullock were married on June 28, 1958, they had been married for five and half months on the date he was murdered. Edna Ruth Bullock was Engleman's ex-wife prior to her marriage with James Bullock, she collected $64,000 ($555,000 in 2018) from James Bullock's life insurance.
1963: Engleman is suspected in the murder of Eric Frey, a business associate of Engleman at Pacific Drag Strip, in which Frey and the Engleman were partners. Engleman struck him with a rock, pushed him down a well, and used dynamite to blow him up afterwards. He then divided the insurance proceeds with Frey's widow.
1976: Peter J. Halm. Shot in Pacific, Missouri. His wife, Carmen Miranda Halm, a former dental assistant trainee who had worked for Engleman and known him since childhood, ordered the hit to collect a $60,000 policy of life insurance on Halm.
1977: Arthur and Vernita Gusewelle at their farmhouse near Edwardsville, Illinois. Arthur was shot; Vernita bashed to death. Engleman then murdered their son Ronald Gusewelle in East St. Louis, Illinois 17 months later so his widow Barbara Gusewelle Boyle could claim the millions in life insurance she had taken out on her husband, the sole heir to his parents' oil business. Boyle collected approximately $340,000 following her husband's murder. Boyle was convicted in her husband's murder but was acquitted of killing his parents. She was subsequently sentenced to 50 years in prison for the murder of her husband. She was released from the Dwight Correctional Facility on October 10, 2009. Robert Handy, the accomplice, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit the three Gusewelle killings and was sentenced to 14 years and served his time in prison. Engleman confessed to the three killings while in prison.
1980: Sophie Marie Barrera, owner of south St Louis dental laboratory. Killed in car bomb explosion. Engleman owed her over $14,000. On 25 September 1980, a jury in federal court found Engleman guilty in the murder of Barrera. Engleman was accused of her murder to authorities by her son, Frederick Barrera.
— Source: Wikipedia
Here's my fucking hooray... This will sound corny but we had the most fun talking to people at the Meet & Greets. We love the conversations we have with people, and connecting with people... My hooray is those people that come and say Hi and tell us their stories. Like the foursome from Kansas City who all met in line at our show and still remain friends.
I'm going to jump on your bandwagon. I was thinking about how hard it was for me when I was younger, post breakup. I didn't have a lot of friends and the Murderino community is the community I wish I had then. Instead of being bummed about not having that, I'm happy we all made this thing we can have now. I'm so happy it exists.