The Who Honor Victims Of Fatal Concert Stampede At First Cincinnati Show Since 1979

Rick Kern/Getty Images for The Who

The Who Honor Victims Of Fatal Concert Stampede At First Cincinnati Show Since 1979

Rick Kern/Getty Images for The Who

The Who returned to Cincinnati last night for the first time since Dec. 3, 1979, when 11 people died in a stampede outside their concert at Riverfront Coliseum. The gig — the first concert to take place at the newly opened TQL Stadium, home of the Major League Soccer squad FC Cincinnati — honored the victims of that tragedy in multiple ways.

During the show, the faces of all 11 victims were displayed on video screens during the lengthy solo-piano introduction of “Love, Reign O’er Me.” Furthermore, the Who planned to donate all profits from the show to local charities, including a scholarship fund at nearby Finneytown High School, where three of the 11 victims went to school. The P.E.M. Memorial Scholarship Fund — named for the surname initials of those three victims of the stampede, Stephan Preston, Jackie Eckerle, and Karen Morrison — awards college scholarships to Finneytown graduates interested in music and the arts.

Fred Wittenbaum, the organizer of the fund, told Local 12 he’s been working for nearly a decade to bring the Who back to Cincinnati, a process that took longer than expected when a 2020 date was canceled due to COVID-19. Ahead of the show, Wittenbaum compared the event’s completion to the scaling of Mount Everest.

Finneytown High School was further involved in the show in multiple other capacities. A band of alumni called Safe Passage opened the show, and current Finneytown students accompanied the Who as part of the orchestra and chorus. Check out footage of the Who’s tribute below, along with their setlist via setlist.fm.

SETLIST:

With orchestra:
“Overture”
“1921”
“Amazing Journey”
“Sparks”
“Pinball Wizard”
“We’re Not Gonna Take It”
“Who Are You”
“Eminence Front”
“Ball And Chain”
“Join Together”

Band only:
“The Seeker”
“You Better You Bet”
“Relay”
“Won’t Get Fooled Again”

With orchestra:
“Behind Blue Eyes”
“The Real Me”
“I’m One”
“5:15”
“The Rock”
“Love, Reign O’er Me” (with montage of those that died on 12/3/1979)
“Baba O’Riley”

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