“Where Were You?” The Who, Live at Rupp Arena [Lexington, Kentucky – July 11, 1980]

Well, it is about time to jump back to some earlier concerts, where I began to “hone” my skills…..

When the major rock acts would perform in Kentucky, in the 60’s through most of the 70’s, they would often play only Louisville. But that would change once Rupp Arena, in Lexington, opened.

The earliest concerts I would photograph, would occur in these two cities, with the occasional trips to see smaller shows, in Cincinnati [more on those shows, another time].  As I mentioned in my “About” section, I started to photograph concerts in April, 1977, and by this Who show, in July, of 1980, I had worked out how to get my camera and telephoto lens into the large shows – more often than not.  This was by necessity, as few acts on this scale would give permission to free-lancers, and being in the Mid-South, there weren’t too many possibilities for a young photographer to get assignments.

I made every attempt to contact band management and the promoters, hoping to get clearance, and the coveted Stage Pass, but being an “unknown and unproven”, meant I had to use my own means to achieve my ends.

Okay, now back to the show:

No luck on getting a floor seat for the 18,000-seater this time, I had to be content with a right-side-of-the-stage concourse spot…..to begin with.  But, I had worked out a way to get closer, most of the time, and get better shots, from previous shows.

I begin with shots from where my seat was originally located; then I worked around the concourse walkway, behind the stage, to the other side, for a few more “distance” photos; after which, I made my way from the very back of the reserved seats on the floor – to eventually wind up in the fourth row from the front of the stage.  To their credit, not a single person was agitated with me slowly snaking my way, row after row, seat after seat….. I suppose my camera gear did most of the talking for me, and the show was making most people very, very happy.

It was a very good show, considering the condition Pete Townshend was in, as you may notice from the images that follow.

Some may remember that Mr. Townshend had been photographed for Rolling Stone Magazine, the previous month, with a particularly striking image of his head resting against his recently ripped and bloody hand. For the performances after that date, his hand would be in a temporary cast, to protect the many stitches he’d had, and to reduce further injury……You will notice that cast in a number of these photos.

This time out, I was experimenting with color slide film:

The first attempts at a complete band shot yielded few that were completely clear, but this gives an idea of the seat I had to begin with, using a telephoto zoom lens for most of the photos

Stage lighting was keyed high, and Townshend wasn’t jumping around very much, for the most part. Early on, while still in his leather jacket

One of few times during this performance, that Townshend would “windmill”. John Entwhistle simply went about his business playing those monster bass lines on the other side of the stage

Stopping briefly on the concourse walkway, as it looped behind the stage, I tried a couple of shots. For some reason, it seems Mr. Jones saw something in my direction

This was the view from the opposite side of where I began, before I started to make my way down to the floor. Notice the hand cast, and John “Rabbit” Bundrick on keyboards

An image which I like, but still needs some work, of Entwhistle in harmony with Roger Daltry

Framed well, I think, but unfortunately, Daltry moved behind Townshend as I snapped this one


From an earlier moment, when Roger Daltry was more out front, and Entwhistle was also out in the spotlights

One of several satisfying images I managed to get of John Entwhistle, once I was near the front of the stage, late in the show

Again, from late in the show, Roger Daltry during a “lull” in a song, with those blue eyes gazing out over the heads of the audience

Pete Townshend and his hand cast in clear view. Amazingly, it did not create a single bum note that I can recall, but then, I was enjoying the whole experience and may not have noticed


Roger Daltry from the front rows, toward the end of the show

From an earlier moment in the show


The lighting from the front, especially in the case of John Entwhistle’s area, was great to capture, as it varied so much

Just wish I could have captured the rest of the guitar in this frame

With the stage lights keyed up high, you can perhaps see that Mr. Townshend had his work cut out for him, on this evening

As you can see from Mr. Dalty’s shirt, this really is at the end of the show

Not especially a great shot, but interesting for the lighting effect

Love this one, simply because it captures a rare moment of facial expression and extra movement from Mr. Entwhistle as he’s playing a cascade of notes – and the lighting cooperated just enough


My absolute fave image from the show, in full-frame. Lucky to have caught the exhale of ciggie smoke when I did, and to have had Mr. Townshend stay still long enough for me to capture the moment – no flash was used on any of these images

Some links to The Who and friends:



John “Rabbit” Bundrick’s official site:


Simon Townshend’s official site:


And thanks to The Hypertext Who for the link info:



While many of you who arrive here, to look at these photographs may get turned off to my use of watermarks [thinking they ruin the image], let me explain why I choose to do this.

No one paid for my camera equipment but me. No one paid for the film I used to take these photographs.  On occasion, when I free-lanced for a free monthly newsletter, and they published a photo of mine, the payment for each photograph barely paid for the fuel to get my vehicle to the show [when I *did* have a vehicle], and the film I used on that night. 

Not too many of my photos were published, at the time, because the artists I chose to capture images of, were not hugely popular then.  Hence, the old dictum, “Supply and Demand”; I had the supply, but the demand [pre-Internet], was not there. You can argue the relative merits of the quality of my work, and that is precisely what a blog offers:  a venue for discussion.

Back to the watermarks: no one is subsidizing my time to scan and then clean up the images I am presenting here. Start to finish, each negative will take approximately an hour-and-a-half to reach “proof” quality – which is what you will see here.  This is my labor of love, and until there is some measurable return on my efforts, what you see is what you get.


2 responses to ““Where Were You?” The Who, Live at Rupp Arena [Lexington, Kentucky – July 11, 1980]

    • Hello Steve,

      Thanks for dropping by, and for the nice comment on the photos.

      Hmmm. Measurable return could mean publication, a gallery show, or the means to achieve those goals, as I have had no sponsor[s] for these endeavors, in the past. High goals perhaps, considering today’s economic climate, and how that has impacted the publishing and selling of books?

      In any event, at least people, like yourself, can view the work on this forum, until that changes.

      Take care, and thanks again for asking!


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