The show was sold-out with the majority of the 18, 348 tickets being general admission. That means 14,770 were first come first serve, unassigned seats. All of the doors to the venue were supposed to open simultaneously allowing ease of entry, however only two were opened when a late soundcheck from the band prompted a literal human stampede resulting in the crushing deaths of eleven people. Including two 15 year-olds. Twenty-six other people were also injured that night. Shockingly the concert went on as planned as members of the band were not even told of the tragedy until after their performance.
The front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer the following morning says it all. December 3, 1979, a fateful day that will go down in local history. It was on this day 40 years ago when 11 people were killed trying to see The Who in concert at Riverfront Coliseum.
The eleven people who lost their lives were:
Walter Adams, Jr., aged 22, Trotwood
Connie Sue Burns, aged 21, Miamisburg
Jacqueline Eckerle, aged 15, Finneytown
David Heck, aged 19, Highland Heights, Kentucky
Teva Rae Ladd, aged 27, Newtown
Karen Morrison, aged 15, Finneytown
Stephan Preston, aged 19, Finneytown
Philip Snyder, aged 20, Franklin
Bryan Wagner, aged 17, Fort Thomas, Kentucky
James Warmoth, aged 21, Franklin
Peter Bowes, aged 18, Wyoming
On December 27, 1979, the city of Cincinnati imposed a ban on unassigned festival style seating that would remain in effect for the next 25 years.