The Who is returning to perform in Cincinnati for the first time since 11 fans were crushed to death during a concert in 1979. "We need to go back to Cincinnati … as soon as we can," Pete Townshend announced in a WCPO documentary aired Tuesday, the 40th anniversary of the stampede outside Riverfront Coliseum. "It would be such a joyous occasion for us and such a healing thing." Since that interview was filmed in October, the band has reserved BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University for April 23. WCPO reports 11,000 tickets will go on sale beginning at 10am Friday. Some proceeds will benefit a memorial scholarship fund created in honor of three Finneytown High School students who died when fans broke an arena gate and rushed forward, per the Cincinnati Enquirer.
A cousin of one of those students believes the concert will be "very cathartic for the band" and "allow them to move past the memories and create new memories," per WCPO. While he acknowledged some people might be upset, Townshend says the concert was arranged after "a real push from the community in Cincinnati to make it clear they wanted us back for reasons of reconciliation rather than accusation." Lead singer Roger Daltrey describes a warm reception while meeting with families at a memorial at Finneytown High School last year. "After seeing the good work the scholarships provided by the foundation achieve, we have decided that a concert to raise funds for them will allow these to continue and create something positive in their memory way into the future," he says. (Just don't light a joint.)