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Monday 19 February 2018

The Who threatened by IRA over flag display

The Who in 1968
The Who in 1968

Nick Bramhill

ROCK legends The Who have revealed they received threats from the IRA when they first played in Ireland.

The mod band are guaranteed a rapturous welcome when they play their first Irish gigs in six years this summer.

But guitarist Pete Townshend (pictured left) admitted the English group's first-ever gigs here, in Dublin, Cork and Belfast shortly after they formed in 1964, were "disastrous".

He said their concert in Belfast was ruined when republicans took exception to the distinctive union flag-emblazoned jackets that he and fellow original members Roger Daltrey, John Entwhistle and Keith Moon wore at the time.

He recalled: "Our first shows in Ireland . . . were kind of disastrous.

"One of them in Belfast was marred by a threat from the IRA because we were wearing Union Jack jackets."

But Townshend, whose grandfather hailed from Cork, said the experience didn't put him off Ireland.

He said, "I can't wait to get back (to Ireland). I love the people, love the history, love the music".

The Who play Dublin's O2 Arena on June 8 and Belfast's Odyssey Arena on June 10.

Irish Independent

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