Today was the big day at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., as the venue swapped tickets for The Who’s 2013 appearance for 1979 passes.
The “Dunkin’” made headlines last week when general manager Lawrence Lepore offered to exchange new Who tickets for old.
The roots of the exchange go back to 1979 when 11 people were killed during a crowd rush at a general-admission Who concert in Cincinnati. Because Providence was the next stop on the schedule, then-mayor Buddy Cianci ordered the show canceled. The Who hasn’t played Providence since.
But that’s scheduled to change Feb. 26 when Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and company roll into town on the band’s Quadrophenia tour. What’s more, the concert will take place at the very same venue, now called the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, that was scratched from the routing more than a generation ago.
Last week during a phone interview with the John DePetro Show on Newstalk 63 WPRO / 99.7 FM, Lepore made an offer to those still holding tickets for the 1979 show, saying he would give them tickets for the February gig in exchange.
How did that work out? Evidently 10 fans decided to exchange 14 tickets, according to the Providence Journal. The exchanges were made this afternoon at the venue.
Lepore said the 1979 tickets will be donated to the Special Olympics, which will auction them off as rock’ n’ roll souvenirs.
Looking at a photo of one of the tickets for The Who’s aborted Dec. 17, 1979 gig at the then-named Providence Civic Center reminds us of a time when Jimmy Carter was president, Americans were held hostage in Iran and “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” had its world debut at the Smithsonian Institution.
But perhaps the biggest culture shock from looking at the 1979 tickets is the price – $11.90 plus a 60 cent surcharge. Ah … memories.