There are tons of stories about fans getting to party with their favorite rock stars, but most of them are more myth than reality. The story of Scott Halpin is not only true, but it might just be one of the greatest moments any rock fan has ever had.
It all went down on Nov. 20, 1973. The Who was playing a concert and the drummer, Kieth Moon, had gone off the rails. Despite being known as one of the most talented drummers in the history of rock, he had a penchant for partying too hard. The result of that partying was that he was too sick to play for a concert.
Scott Halpin was a 19-year-old who had scored some tickets to The Who’s performance at the Cow Palace in San Francisco from a scalper. It was a special night for fans of the band. It was the very first night of the band’s Quadrophenia tour. The concert’s opening band was no slouch either, it was Lynyrd Skynyrd.
As the Who finished up one of their sets, Keith Moon collapsed mid “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Despite the roadies reviving him, he was just too drunk and stoned to make it through even one more song, “Magic Bus”. That’s when the band’s frontman, Pete Townshend fatefully asked if there were any drummers in the audience. Halpin’s friend volunteered him.
Within minutes, the teenager who had only made it into the show by getting scalped tickets, was now on stage, and playing drums for The Who! They gave him a shot of brandy to settle his nerves and Townshend led the way. For the rest of the show, Halpin sat in for the world’s greatest drummer, with one of the world’s greatest bands. When all was said and done, they gave him a Who Tour Jacket, and promised him a check for $1,000 that never came. Though, with a memory like that to hold on to, who needs the money?
Scott Halpin passed away in 2008 at the age of 54. In a world that is filled with made up stories about fans brushing up against rock and roll gods, his was actually captured on film.
Here’s the video of The Who performing Magic Bus, complete with roadies carrying Moon off stage towards the end of the song:
Here’s Halpin, in Moon’s place, just moments later: