Half a century ago, The Who rocked SM South’s gymnasium

A spread from the SM South yearbook documenting The Who's 1967 performance.
A spread from the SM South yearbook documenting The Who’s 1967 performance.

It was 1967, and things were looking bright at Shawnee Mission South.

The school had just opened the previous year, and students were busy establishing the building’s culture — a culture that owed a debt to rock and roll from the very beginning. Students selected the Raiders as their mascot in homage to the band “Paul Revere & the Raiders,” which had a chart-topping hit with “Kick” on its 1966 album “Midnight Ride.”

So it wasn’t too surprising that the school’s new student council set about trying to organize some blockbuster events to boost the burgeoning school’s spirit. Fifty years later, it’s almost impossible to imagine just how impressive their booking prowess was.

On Nov. 17, 1967, SM South welcomed a pair of rock bands for the opening performance of their U.S. tour: Headlining were “The Buckinghams,” a Chicago-based “sunshine pop” act. And the opening act? The Who. That’s right: Peter Townsend, Keith Moon, Roger Daltrey and John Entwhistle played a nine-song set in the SM South gymnasium that still stands today. Here’s the setlist:

  • I Can’t Explain
  • Substitute
  • A Quick One (While He’s Away)
  • Run Run Run
  • Mary Ann With the Shaky Hands
  • I Can See for Miles
  • Summertime Blues
  • My Generation

The Who commemorated the performance on their Facebook page on Friday.