The tragic passing of Bryan Wagner: The Who ‘79

The Who, a popular rock band known worldwide was formed in 1964 and gained popularity in the 70s. 

They brought their music around the United States for enjoyers to have fun with, however, things soon went south on December 3, 1979. As the band was touring in Cincinnati, Ohio, a tragedy occurred outside of Riverfront Coliseum.

By the end of the night, eleven people were trampled and killed. One of those being a native of Fort Thomas. 

Bryan Wagner was 17 years old, attending Newport Central Catholic at the time of the concert. Wagner was born here in Fort Thomas and raised in town.

Late at night, waiting to see one of his favorite bands, the Who, Wagner fell and was stepped on until the point of death.

Several others died that night, including those named Walter Adams Jr., Peter Bowes, Connie Sue Burns, Jacqueline Eckerle, David Heck, Teva Rae Ladd, Karen Morrison, Stephan Preston, Philip Snyder, and James Warmoth.

The Who performed again at the TQL Stadium in Cincinnati for the first time since this tragedy on May 15, 2022, 43 years prior to the incident. 

Pete Townshend, the Who’s lead guitarist, spoke up about the loss of those at the 1979 concert and the many causes the profit from the concert will be going to. 

“You paid and your money is going to great causes, many of which are related to what happened back here in Cincinnati in 1979, which is probably time for us to both remember and try to forge.,” 

The Who threw in many different memorials for those who passed in 1979. This consisted of things such as a tribute to all of the victims whilst the pianist played music.

Sophomore Nathan Kirst, who attended the concert, believed that the band did well at showing their respect.

“It was very well put together. I think the way they came back and paid respect was very appropriate.”

The cause of this stampede was the soundcheck that The Who put on before the concert. The low amounts of security caused a rush of people, due to them thinking that the concert had begun. In this stampede, many people were injured, causing eleven deaths.

According to Principal’s Office Administrative Assistant Carrie Ziegler, there needs to be better event planning, assigned seats, and more security at venues to help prevent tragedies like this. 

Most deaths in communities as small as Fort Thomas can be shocking. Especially when they are as awful as this one. 

Bryan Wagner was close to the community and was meant to graduate in 1980. Due to his passing, he was never able to complete his graduation from NCC.

His death will forever impact the city of Fort Thomas.

To learn more about the Who concert, click the link here.