The Who are expected to continue their American tour despite the band members' shock at the death of 11 fans at their concert in Cincinnati Monday night.
Reaction yesterday from concert promoters and city officials about The Who's remaining nine concert dates ranged from an abrupt cancelation in Providence, R.I. to a review of security provisions in Boston.
Last night's show at Buffalo's Memorial Auditorium occurred without mishap. All 17,000 seats at the sold-out concert were reserved, and the doors to the auditorium were opened an hour ahead of schedule amid tight security.
"This is a reserved seat concert," said John Riva, 17. "It's not general admission. If it were general admission, anyone could go through. This way, it doesn't matter if you're the first guy or the last guy, you still get your seat, right?"
In Washington, there seemed to be few worries about The Who's sold-out concert scheduled at the Capitol Center Dec. 13. Dave Williams of Cellar Door Productions pointed out that his company has never mixed reserved and general admission tickets, which is what happened in Cincinnati. "We have 140 people trained in crowd control, plus the county police, the Capital Park Police and American Control (a security outfit specializing in concerts)."
Gary Handleman, director of special operations for the Capital Centre, said he was planning to use his maxium security force of 95 and has originally planned to open the doors 15 minutes earlier than usual. There have been few violence problems at the Capital Centre in recent years, despite occasional drug arrests. The Nov. 25 Fleetwood Mac concert there attracted more than 20,000 general admission fans without any problems.
Captain Richard Shaner of the Prince George's County Police Department said, "We will probably beef up our normal detail to try to be on the safe side." He also pointed out that his mounted officers can make liberal use of their horses, which "are a great advantage in crowd control," and "can really keep them from mashing each other."
Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, citing himself as the city's "chief protector of the public safety," announced at a press conference yesterday that he would cancel the Dec. 17 show, which was to have been The Who's final concert.
Citing previous violence at the Civic Center, including the shooting of a deejay in a restroom robbery and several dozen assaults following a recent concert, Cianci claimed "The Who offers the occasion for tragedy. We're ready to take a lawsuit. We'd rather have people angry and mad than have them dead."
Promoter Larry Vaughn promptly threatened legal action, pointing out that he had promoted The Who for the last three years in the same facility without incident.
In Pontiac, Mich., The Who are scheduled to play Friday night at the Silverdome, where the maximum 40,000 general admission tickets have been sold. Charles McSwingan, executive director of the Silverdome, said, "We've had concerts with 77,000 people and no problems. Ninety-five percent of the problems at concerts occur outside. With a controlled outside circulation, you also have control inside."
The stadium is set up on a chute system of entrances, with crowds funneled so that they are unable to effectively rush the gates.
In Boston, Richard Sinnott, chief of the city's licensing division, was scheduled to hold a public hearing this morning on the application for The Who's Dec. 16 concert at the Boston Garden. Representatives from the Boston police, transit police and fire and water departments are to meet with representatives from the Garden and promoter Don Law to review security precautions.