Following a performance by The Who at the Angels Stadium in Anaheim on March 21st, 1976, in support of their The Who By Numbers tour, marijuana would magically begin to sprout in the ground just a few days later.
The Who were firmly in their pomp by 1976 and had become stadium stalwarts on both sides of the Atlantic years before this show, with their reputation for a live performance being one of the highest proportions. Their rebellious attitude had always aligned with fans tending to enjoy themselves with the aid of narcotics and their show in the then-conservative Californian city of Anaheim was no different.
This would be the band’s last full tour with Keith Moon before the wheels began to fall off and The Who would struggle to recapture the brilliance that they did before the drummer’s death in 1978. Their shows had a notorious reputation during this time and for good reason—this show was no exception.
It’s reported that the band were on wonderous form, as were the fans. However, hosting a show in a sports stadium in the ’70s was not common and the logistics that came with this made it difficult for the band to manage. Around 55,000 paying fans were in attendance on this evening but only a fifth were allowed to stand on the field, which led to fights within the crowd.
There were also thousands who didn’t have tickets but that didn’t stop them attending. The result, of course, meant attendees spent most of the evening with fans pushing ardently against a centre-field wall until they were able to push it down and break into the show.
The crushing meant that a vast number of fans who were enjoying a smoke at the show would drop cannabis seeds from their supplies onto the field and hey presto, in just a few short days the Angels Stadium had become an industrial-sized marijuana farm.
As workers repaired the fence that was knocked down by the mob of adoring fans, they completely ignored the cannabis growing among the grass. The baseball season was only a few days away and then it dawned on the groundkeepers what had occurred on the pitch following the gig.
The groundskeepers discovered about 500 marijuana plants growing throughout the field, and while nobody knows how long it took them to solve the issue or if any players noticed while getting in some fielding practice, eventually the management was made aware of the situation and the word soon spread among locals.
Stadium manager Tom Liegler reportedly told head groundskeeper Joe Verdi to turn down any Anaheim citizens assistance who showed up offering their services to get rid of the plant. Mayor William J. Thom saw the funny side of the situation however: “The economic situation at the stadium has not reached such a perilous point that we have to resort to growing marijuana. But they’ll never be able to play ‘Tea for Two’ at Anaheim Stadium again.”
The Who have never returned to Anaheim ever again over the last 44 years but that night in 1976 they made sure to leave their mark on the Californian City and provided the stadium as being a landmark in rock ‘n’ roll history.