Remembering the tragedy at "The Who" concert 30 years later, Part 2

By Stefano DiPietrantonio - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Thursday,  Dec. 3 marks 30 years since a tragic incident in Cincinnati.

Eleven people died trying to get into "The Who" concert at Riverfront Coliseum.

There is a move underway to permanently memorialize those who got caught in the crush that fateful night.

FOX19 spoke with two men who recounted their view of the tragedy that night and are looking ahead at ways to keep the memory of those eleven young people alive.

"They were just young kids going to a concert and died senselessly," Michael Babb of Dayton said.

Eleven people were caught in a sea of people, all thinking "The Who" concert had already started, when it was really just the band warming up late.

"We lived through it for years people ya' know came by accused us of everything so it was pretty devastating," said 89-year-old Lila Craig, who has worked at the ticket office at what is now the US Bank Arena, since the day the old Coliseum opened.

It will be thirty years ago Thursday, Dec. 3 that "The Who" packed the old Coliseum.

"They had railings out there that were connected to the ground," said Craig Ransom, also of Dayton. "There was people standing on the railings just jumping into the middle of the crowd just trying to get in the doors, it was just chaos really."

And despite the disaster outside, the show went on inside.

"I think what it was they made a decision not to disrupt the crowd more by saying it's canceled and everybody finding out," said Babb. "In the end it was a smart decision I think."

Babb said concerts in the 70's were typically rowdy events.

"I was actually at the door when a guy was banging on there saying there's people back there dying," Babb said.

Babb said he didn't believe it and neither did his buddy Craig Ransom, who heard about it in the restroom.

"Somebody walked up and said, 'Hey, did you hear about all the people died out front?', Ransom said. "And I saw a bunch of shoes and stuff laying in front of the doors when I came in, but I didn't realize anything had happened."

But when Ransom left the show he couldn't believe what he saw.

"They had chalk lines like the old Perry Mason movies, outlines of people laying on the ground," Ransom said.

"We definitely think there should be a memorial placed out there for those 11 young kids," said Babb.

Both men said they hope to add two more flagpoles to the 9 already on the plaza to make 11, in remembrance of the 11 who died. Or, have a plaque placed somewhere near the two doors.

Thursday night, Babb and Ransom, will be on the plaza and are asking fans and any families of the deceased to come and join them.

The memorial service runs from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., outside the two doors where it all took place. Both men said they want to make sure those 11 are never forgotten.

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