It's Only Rock'n Roll
Rolling Stones show : 9:10 p.m. – 11:05 p.m.
The Rolling Stones’ first Omaha show in 40 years took place amid unseasonably warm weather – i.e. no snow, but still pretty chilly -- at the Qwest Center, which overlooks the Missouri River. The crowd was very old, and, uh, Midwestern, but they were thrilled that something big was finally happening in their town.
We got a customized version of “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll” with “I bet you think that you’re the only pussy in Nebraska,” which provoked a few looks of nervous surprise in the crowd. After “Rough Justice,” Mick reminded us that the band was last in Omaha in 1966, and he wondered what had changed in the time, noting that there had been eight presidents (which sounds about right). He also threw in a reference to the Huskers sports team.
“As Tears Go By” was delicately rendered, none of the whininess that marred the version during the first Chicago gig at the United Center.
Keith spent a lot of time at the mike, basking in the applause and chants of KEITH! “It’s been a long time since I said ‘Good evening, Omaha,’” he said. After the well received “This Place is Empty,” amid more loud cheers, he remarked, “It’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but it’s all I got.”
The rendition of “Oh No Not You Again” during the small stage set was a pleasant surprise, again maybe a little provocative for any locals who bothered to think about some of the lyrics.
As for Brooks & Dunn, it was my first time seeing them. I’m not familiar with their oeuvre, but everyone else knew to cheer when they sang the line “I was a rolling stone” from the song “Brand New Man.” With an 11-man backing band, they had more strings on stage than Lynyrd Skynyrd, to paraphrase an industry joke.
The show was tight, professional and energetic all the way through. The set list contained a few surprises with “ONNYA” on the B-stage and “Start Me Up” near the end. Mick and Lisa delivered a classic “Gimme Shelter” that absolutely blew the roof off. Mick’s singing on “As Tears Go By” was very moving but a distorted sound system made Keith’s acoustic guitar playing sound sloppy.
One disappointment is that Keith no longer sings harmonies with Mick, always a signature part of the Stones’ sound. None-the-less, Keith’s solo songs were well received and he managed to come across as very real and sincere, not as an iconic parody of himself.
Our group had a large banner that read “Got Us In Yer “SWAY.” As the ramp pulled back to the main stage during “HTW” our banner caught the band’s attention while they were directly in front of us. Mick gave us smile and Ronnie pointed at us and laughed.
1) JJF: Is there a better song to start with? Mick seemed to connect well with the crowd with his comment about restoring order.
2) IORR: Like Keith said, "It's only Rock and Roll, but it's all I got. Was worried they may skip this one again. Was delighted the rendition, complete with the Nebraska reference.
3) SSC: The under-rated hit from Under Cover! Keith and Ronnie really seem in sink.
4) RJ: A must for the Bigger Bang Tour!
5) BITCH: For me I knew that the show was going to be special. THEY NAILED IT.
6) ATGB: My wife wanted Angie-But the acoustic version of this song was excellant.
7) RFD: More Bigger Bang Micks vocals sound great.
8) TD: A Keith and Ronnie jam vest. Oustanding solo from Daryl Jones.
9) GS: LISA FISHER LISA FISHER LISA FISHER--whoo, whoo. Best song of the night!!
intros: Too bad Charlie didn't want to talk.
10) TPIE: Keith seemed taken back by the crowds standing ovation and chants of Keith. More Bigger Bang!
11) HAPPY: Keith @ his best, wish he sang more, even back up some. Say on Memory Hotel.
12) MU: Wanted Respectable but enjoyed extended version as the stage moved west.
13) ONNYA: Fourth and last song from Bigger Bang. Great fit for the small stage.
14) GOOMC: Let the sing along begin. Mick's got the crowd going.
15) HTW: Back to the main stage, full horn section, this song cooks.
16) SFTD: Mick in matching hat and coat is heating up for the finish.
17) SMU: The arena rocker, still get people up and dancing.
18) BS: Keith's best solo of the night! and it didn't hurt that he was at my side of the stage. He was over on left alot tonight, thank goodness.
19) & 20): Encores YCAGWYW & SATICFACTION- The encores always leave wishing they would play just one more. Like the song I missed most from Sunday's show Midnight Rambler. In all it was the best STONES show since Steel Wheels for me. Opening act -Was it Brooks OR Dunn? Happy and satisified in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The 5000 people who were in the hall at that point, really got into them. Loud applause, hootin, hoolerin, and YEEHAWin. Country music gives me a headache, and these boys were serious country TWANG. We went in for the opening ( a rarity ) act, just to check it out. I was sorry we did not stay longer at the bar.
I suppose if country music is your cup of tea, it was great, but I had to exit the arena to not ruin the pre-concert wave I was riding. I was hoping all of this country BS would add up to "Girl with far away eyes", but unfortunatley, they did not play it. They did not play any "special songs". I am not complaining, I reporting a fact. The Stones did not pull out anything special for St Louis either. To see a great Stones show you better see them in LA, NY, Philly , or Columbus. They do not love this part of the world. It is interesting that they are returning to some cities (and playing multiple shows) , when they did not even come to Kansas City. Chicago, Philly, LA, NY are all getting repeat dates. I am not bitching, I am stating facts. Why do I travel to see them??? because it is so much fun.!!!
The Rolling Stones show in Omaha was a gas. The Stones know they have some great songs, and they really put the effort into it to play them GREAT. Rain fall down was superb. Lisa on Gimme Shelter was spectacular. IORR was awesome ( with Mick doing the "only pussy in Nebraska" lyrics ) BUT, there was NO "SWAY" ( there was a sign in the audience asking for it ) There was NO "Out of control" NO "Love is Strong" NO "memory motel" NO "All down the line". They did not even play Midnight Rambler. I am not complaining, these are facts. They did play a bunch of awesome songs, but no gold nuggets.
The Stones are not "walking through" the shows, just the opposite. They are kicking ass. The boys appear to be having a great time on stage.. The intertwining guitars, supported by Charlie and Darryl ( especially his short bass solo during "Rain fall down" ) and Jagger belting out lyrics is the perfect.
Mick did his thing, where he talked about how they "have not played Omaha since 1966", and how "some in the crowd had not been born yet", and he complimented the Cornhuskers football team. Keef did the same stuff, about how they have not played there in a while. BTW, Keith's "Happy" is a great addition since my previous show.
We sat mid-arena lower-level. From there, watching the small stage move by, is like seeing the Stones in a one float parade, or picture a them playing on a flat bed truck, as it slowing drives by. I was impressed , that when the small stage got back to the big stage, Chuck Level had to run from the moving piano to the stage piano with out missing his part. Chuck did not miss a beat.
Keith strumming the acoustic "Tears go by" as Mick sang next to him, made for a Kodak moment. Twice during "Bitch", I noticed that when Keef when was sizzzzling on the lead, and having fun with it, Mick cut him off ( at least it earlier than Keef expected). Both times Keef looked over at Mick, and looked back at the audience, he laughed, smiled, shrugged and moved on.
I see the Stones taking their live music and live songs to another level. Not practiced perfect verbtim, but more like ragged glory. "Perfect practiced ragged glory jamming Rolling Stones style".
It is amazing to watch this show. I don't mind that they do not play in my city, or that they did not play "special songs". I am just "happy" to have that 2-hour buzz, I know its only rock and roll, and I will GO a long way to see it live.
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Thanks to Axel Schumacher for news links!