40 years ago tonight, on Friday, December 10, 1982, legendary rockers The Who brought their first farewell tour to Syracuse’s Carrier Dome, performing to a crowd of 47,319.
With the tour ending a week later in Toronto, this was the final chance for many in the Northeast to see The Who – even though they would later reform in 1989 for a reunion tour and continue to tour today.
The tour was sponsored by Schlitz beer, part of the Schlitz Rocks America marketing campaign.
Performing in 1982 at the Carrier Dome – which had only opened two years prior in September 1980, The Who inspired local radio station 95X to dub the Salt City ‘SyracWHOse’ as a lead up to the then-record attendance show.
CNY Vintage reported that the stage was illuminated with 400 aircraft lights, 12 computerized lights that swivel in unison, and eight huge spotlights.
This show was also a few short years after 11 fans died at a Who concert in Cincinnati in 1979 in the process of racing for general admission seats. Thus, the Carrier Dome concert – the final stadium show on The Who Farewell Tour – had reserved seating with tickets costing $15 which could only be purchased by mail (that’s $106.94 in 2022 dollars).
As for the show itself, fans were treated to a setlist that balanced fan-favorites with rarities including “Dangerous,” “Cry if you Want” and “It’s Hard.” Fans who attended the show and recall the performance 40 years ago shared their memories with NYS Music:
I was there up in nose bleeds. First time seeing The Who live. Been to 20 shows since, including front row in front of Pete at MSG IN ‘04, one of the highlights of my life. I don’t remember many details from the Syracuse show, other than I was so happy to see them live!! Loved it!!!
Best memory was I was in Boston and my car wouldn’t start and I was devastated. My friend and his frat brother said no problem, we’ll come get you guys!! They were near Albany NY and drove 3 hrs each way before going another 2 hours to Syracuse!! We were wasted by the time they got to Boston!! I almost had a recording of it but my compact cassette recorder got discovered in my pants by security.Kevin Logozzo
That was my second time seeing The Who, which was my favorite band. I remember being a little disappointed that they opened with “My Generation,” which I think needs to be deeper in the set and built up to. It was a little strange hearing the Quadrophenia selections scattered a bit throughout, since I always think of them in sequence.
I always considered “Love Ain’t for Keeping” the weakest track on Who’s Next so it was a revelation hearing it done live. I loved “Naked Eye” in the encore, but ending with “Squeeze Box” and the “Twist and Shout” cover made it a bit meh for me. I also love “Eminence Front” and I’m glad that they continue to keep it in their concert set to this day.Dave Maley
The Who – Carrier Dome, Syracuse – December 10, 1982
Setlist: My Generation, I Can’t Explain, Dangerous, Sister Disco, The Quiet One, It’s Hard, Eminence Front, Behind Blue Eyes, Baba O’Riley, Doctor Jimmy, Boris the Spider, Drowned, Cry If You Want, Who Are You, Pinball Wizard, See Me, Feel Me, Love Ain’t for Keepin’, 5:15, Love, Reign O’er Me, Long Live Rock, Won’t Get Fooled Again
Encore: Naked Eye, Squeeze Box, Twist and Shout (The Top Notes cover)
Watch videos from the 1982 performance by The Who at The Carrier Dome below, including the full concert bootleg.