The Who fans trade in 1979 tickets 33 years later
Emery Lucier, 50, of Milford, Mass., holds a ticket for a canceled 1979 concert by The Who outside the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., Tuesday, July 31, 2012. Lucier was among fans who redeemed tickets from a canceled 1979 show, for The Who's Quadrophenia show set to play there in February 2013. Their 1979 concert was cancelled due to safety concerns after 11 people died in a stampede before a show in Ohio. (AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith)
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — It was December 1979 when Emery Lucier learned the concert he was eagerly awaiting in Rhode Island by British rock band The Who had been canceled over safety concerns. The 17-year-old was so angry he knocked over a chair in his high school classroom.
"I just remember being so upset about the whole thing," he said.
Lucier, now 50, of Milford, Mass., held onto the ticket, for which he paid $25 ($12.50 for the ticket and $12.50 more for the scalper). On Tuesday, he and nine other people traded in tickets from that canceled show and got new ones for The Who's final appearance on its Quadrophenia tour in February at the Dunkin Donuts Center, the same venue it was supposed to play 33 years ago.
The venue's general manager, Lawrence Lepore, said earlier this month he would honor tickets for the 1979 show, which then-Mayor Buddy Cianci canceled after a stampede before a Who concert in Ohio killed 11 people. Any 1979 tickets the venue receives will be donated to the Special Olympics of Rhode Island, which plans an August eBay auction of the 14 tickets turned in on Tuesday.
Ed McConnell, now 50, was a high school student in Pawtucket and planned to attend the concert with about 15 friends. He said he remembers the disappointment when he heard the concert was canceled, and even now can list reasons why it was a bad decision, among them that the concert had assigned seats and not festival seating — which is what was blamed for the stampede in Cincinnati.
Cheryl Cohen handles tickets from a canceled 1979 concert by The Who, which were exchanged by fans for their upcoming Quadrophenia tour concert in February 2013, at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., Tuesday, July 31, 2012. The 1979 concert was cancelled due to safety concerns after 11 people died in a stampede before a show in Ohio. The arena honored the tickets for that canceled show, which will be auctioned off to help the Special Olympics. (AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith)
"I still don't agree with it," McConnell said after trading in his and his brother's tickets for the show.
McConnell said he met Cianci once and took the opportunity to complain.
Sandy Ball exchanged two tickets that her brother, Stephen, now of Colonial Heights, Va., had waited in line for overnight when he was a college freshman. The tickets have moved 16 times since then with Stephen, who was in the military. Ball said her family remembers the day when he learned the show was canceled.
"We had to talk him off the cliff," she said.
Barry Belotti, now 53, of Fitchburg, Mass., estimates he's seen The Who 100 times but still remembers the canceled show in Providence. He had second-row tickets and had bought several other tickets for friends to come along.