who stage orlandi

From the Miami Herald archives.

DAVID MARCUS Herald Writer


After a day of high school and work, Robert Whalen, 15, arrived at Peaches Records and Tapes in West Palm Beach at 1 a.m., his wallet bulging with more than $140.


He lay down on the concrete terrace next to his friends Mark and Jessie and tried to sleep.

Others — mostly teenagers — began streaming onto the terrace half an hour later. One lugged a keg of beer. Cups went for $2 each, but Whalen refused to pay that much.At 4:30 a.m., someone leaned on the store window, triggering a burglar alarm at the home of manager Gail Reed. She sped over to supervise the growing crowd.By 10 a.m., when the store doors opened, the line of 170 snaked into the parking lot. Like the bleary-eyed fans at 31 other ticket-by-computer outlets in South Florida, they had come to buy $16.75 tickets for a rock ‘n’ roll concert.

Not just any concert, however. The tickets are for the Nov. 27 triple-bill featuring The Who at Orlando’s Tangerine Bowl.

The Who — musical cousins of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones — are one of the longest-running rock bands around. The 18-year-old group has announced that its current tour of America and Europe will be the last, except for sporadic performances.

The British band is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records under “Loudest Pop Group.” At a May, 1976 concert in London, engineers 150 feet from the band measured 120 decibels of sound — a level that Guinness says can “cause permanent hearing shift or partial deafness.” In 1979, 11 fans were killed as a crowd surged into a Cincinnati auditorium for a Who concert. The show went on.

Health hazards aside, masses of rock fans still want to see the Peter Townsend (guitar), Roger Daltry (vocals), John Entwistle (base guitar and horns), Kenny Jones (drums).

“The Who is just a great band,” Whalen explained after buying eight tickets.

“It’s hard rock and roll but it’s not offensive,” said Reed.

The band last played Florida at an August 1976 concert in Miami. Saturday Reed wore her faded pink Who T-shirt from that concert.

As she plugged information in a computer tied to the BASS (Best Available Seating Service) network, Reed constantly reminded customers of the 10-ticket limit. One woman requested 30 tickets. She had to stand in line three times.

On a rack next to the cash register sat a copy of the group’s newest album — It’s Hard, which features the songs I’ve Known No War, It’s Your Turn, Why Did I Fall for This and Cry if You Want. No one spent the extra $7.98.

Whalen — who has seen the The Kids are Alright and the other two Who movies and owns 23 of their albums — had waited through months of rumors and misinformation about the Florida appearance. Like scores of other eager ticket-buyers, he hadn’t stopped to find out what day Nov. 27 will fall on. (It’s a Saturday). The concert also offers two popular new groups: the B-52s and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

BASS counters throughout Palm Beach, Dade, and Broward were the sites of orderly confusion Saturday morning. Customers at Specs Records and Tapes in the Palm Beach Mall had to take a number. A line circled around Peaches in Fort Lauderdale most of the morning and employes let in 10 customers at a time. In Miami, Laurie Roberts opened the Gusman Cultural Center box office, normally closed on weekends, because she anticipated the crowd of 50.

A BASS spokesman predicted the 60,000 seats would run out sometime today. Concerts in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and other cities have already sold out.

“It’s crazy,” Roberts said between serving Miami fans. “Everybody and his brother is out buying tickets,”

That was true in Whalen’s case. After a night outside Peaches, he was so sleepy he forgot to buy a ticket for his brother Chris, 19. They returned at 11:30 a.m., after the line had thinned, with another $16.75. Then they went to the beach to celebrate and begin the five-week countdown.


  1. Mr. Marcus. Nice article. This is a tiny thing but I have looked and looked for a photo of the show where the band played under the “H” in WHO. I remember sitting with Bill Curbishley their manager one morning and him drawing this idea on a napkin to show me Thanks for the memory Regis Boff

    • Regis,great story about you being with Bill when he came up with that idea. I archived the article by Mr.David Marcus. It was my first Who concert. Also, when you say “I have looked and looked for a photo of the show where the band played under the “H” in WHO.”– are you referring to a specific show you attended on that tour?

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