Buoyed by the success of a series of “off-the-cuff” dates in Britain and Europe, the Who have decided to make official their long-rumored return to the American stage with five shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden on September 13th, 14th, 16th, 17th and 18th. The concerts will mark the U.S. debut of the band with its revamped lineup, which includes newcomers Kenney Jones on drums and sideman John “Rabbit” Bundrick on keyboards.
The volume of requests for tickets to the New York shows, which were available by mail order only, set a Madison Square Garden record. The concerts were announced over WNEW-FM on the afternoon of June 6th, and a full-page ad appeared in the Village Voice on June 7th. By ten a.m. that day, the Garden had received 10,081 requests for approximately 40,000 tickets. At press time, there had been requests for as many as 150,000 tickets. The Garden seats about 20,000 people.
In addition to the New York shows, the Who reportedly are considering doing a series of East Coast dates in late November and early December, with more U.S. concerts possible in 1980. A live show May 2nd at London’s Rainbow Theatre was the group’s first since the death of drummer Keith Moon. The band has since played four shows in France and one each in Glasgow and Edinburgh. An open-air concert at Wembley Stadium outside London is scheduled for August 18th. The Who’s last U.S. show was in 1975.
This story is from the July 26th, 1979 issue of Rolling Stone.