In the late 70s, the Capitol in Passaic was widely acknowledged as one of the premier small theater music venues in the nation. The converted movie house in downtown Passaic was a place that everyone wanted to play—including artists whose stature supported a much larger capacity venue. In 1978, the Capitol was on a roll and landed three special Springsteen shows near the end of his Darkness tour and a one-night appearance by The Rolling Stones promoting their Some Girls record.
The following year brought another major act to the small stage on Monroe Street—The Who. The band played two shows in Passaic as a warm-up for five shows that followed at New York City’s much larger Madison Square Garden.
Like the Springsteen and Stones shows, the ticket process was a mail-order lottery. I was fortunate that a friend in Passaic scored a pair of great opening night seats for us. The Capitol marked this special night by printing some fancy tickets just for the occasion.
It was a year after both the release of Who Are You and the death of drummer Keith Moon. The Passaic shows marked the first US appearance of Moon’s replacement, Kenney Jones from The Faces. The Who played four songs from Who Are You including late bassist John Entwistle’s “Trick of the Light.” He sang it as well as doing his usual take on “Boris the Spider.” While it was the first time I saw Jones, it would be the last time I saw The Ox manning the bass for The Who.
Here’s the complete set list.