On November 20, 1973 during The Who’s Quadrophenia tour stop at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California, Keith Moon took a large mixture of animal tranquillizers and chased it with brandy before hitting the stage.
As the band began the song “Won’t Get Fooled Again“, Moon slumped over his drums and passed out…
Roadies carried him backstage where he was placed in a cold shower, given a cortisone shot and revived… After a half-hours delay, the show continued with the song “Magic Bus.” The percussion of the song’s opening verses consisted only of Moon hitting two wooden blocks against one another. However, when the drums were actually required, Moon only played for a few more minutes before passing out again. He was taken backstage and then to the hospital.
The collapse happens at the 3:15 mark…
Meanwhile, Pete Townshend was enraged that the beginning of the tour was so disastrous that he shouted to the crowd,
“Hey, Can anybody out there play drums? I mean good. Any takers come up here onstage.”
Scot Halpin, a nineteen-year-old fan, fought his way over to the security guards and talked his way onstage.
“It all happened really quick,’ Halpin told said. ‘I didn’t have time to think about it and get nervous.”
Townshend introduced him gave Halpin the time signature, and they were off. The Who ran through two songs, “Magic Bus” and “My Generation” before finishing. After the gig Scot was beat.
“I only played three numbers and I was dead. Their energy was staggering.”
Here’s a shot a of Halpin behind the kit filling in for Moon.
Scot Halpin who passed away on February 9, 2008 was awarded Rolling Stone magazine’s “Pick-Up Player of the Year Award” in 1973 for his historic performance during this show.