Tag Archives: Jimi Hendrix

Paul McCartney Live in Omaha

July 24, 2017 by
Photography by Sarah Lemke

Beatlemania is alive and well in Omaha. Former Beatle Paul McCartney proved as much on Sunday night. His iconic songs brought the CenturyLink Center’s sold-out crowd to their feet.

Longtime fans (myself included) came to experience musical history. We were not disappointed during a three-hour concert featuring 39 songs.

The stage featured two rotating cylinders showing black-and-white images of Paul and the Beatles in the 1960s, which transitioned to blue-red with pictures from the British Invasion, which changed to modern-looking graphics, which turned to an image of McCartney’s left-handed violin-shaped bass guitar.

And there was the guitar in real life, with McCartney in front of it, performing “A Hard’s Day’s Night.” The Beatles first visited the Midwest in 1964. They played the song at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City during their first U.S. tour; however, neither the Beatles nor McCartney would play in Omaha until the new millennium.

The first (and last) time McCartney played in Omaha itself was on Oct. 30, 2005, following fellow Beatle Ringo Starr’s performance by less than a month. Previous to 2005, fans traveled to major cities and college towns to see this member of the world’s top-grossing band. His 1990 “The Paul McCartney World Tour” made stops in Chicago and Ames, Iowa. His 1993 “The New World Tour” made stops in Kansas City and Boulder, Colorado.

Omaha received the “flyover country” treatment…until recently. Many residents now fondly recall local news coverage of McCartney and friend Warren Buffet stopping for ice cream at eCreamery on July 13, 2014 (the day before he played at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln).

On his latest Omaha performance, McCartney brought it all—songs from the Quarrymen (his band before the Beatles), songs from the Beatles, songs from Wings (his band after the Beatles), and his solo work. The show itself was something of a lesson in rock ’n’ roll history that spanned the days preceding Beatlemania to last year’s hit “FourFiveSeconds,” which McCartney co-wrote with Kanye West and Rhianna.

McCartney’s band (which has been with him since 2002) appeared to have fun onstage. Particularly animated was Abe Laboriel Jr. on vocals and percussion, who plays with intensity while bopping along to the music. Another standout was Paul “Wix” Wickens on keyboards, synthesizers, and other electronic instruments. Wickens produced a compellingly corny late-1970s sound for “Temporary Secretary” along with a mock orchestra for a version of “Eleanor Rigby” that nearly brought me to tears.

The show’s visual effects included a rising stage, projected images, and fireworks. An expert showman and musician, the 75-year-old McCartney played the bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, a Yamaha grand piano, a psychedellic-looking upright piano, and a Gibson ukulele that he told the audience George Harrison had given him.

McCartney knows he didn’t make it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on his own, and he gave props to—and told stories of—his bandmates throughout the night. The aforementioned story about the ukulele was followed by “Let’s hear it for Georgie!” along with applause for former bandmate John Lennon and the song “Here Today.”

He also played the guitar rift from “Foxy Lady,” in a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. McCartney told the audience that Hendrix opened a show of his own with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band two days after the song’s release 50 years ago.

And, of course, he gave fans plenty of chances to sing along. Part of the way through “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” the band stopped singing the chorus for audience participation. Approximately 15,000 voices created music that resonated throughout the arena.

After going through everything from “Back in the USSR” to his James Bond theme “Live and Let Die,” he ended with the longest song released as a single in 1968, the seven-plus-minute long “Hey, Jude.”

McCartney wasn’t done. Following lengthy applause, the band came back on waving large flags that included those of the United States, the United Kingdom, and gay pride for an encore that acted more as a mini-set with seven career-spanning songs that ranged from “Yesterday” to “The End.”

Suddenly, the man and legend was gone. McCartney disappeared in a magical poof that brought down a shower of red, white, and blue confetti and streamers.

This article is a web exclusive for Omaha Publications.

Drastic Plastic

February 12, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Originally opened at 24th and N streets back in 1982, Drastic Plastic was one of the first retailers to push major boundaries within the Omaha social sphere. The punk-rock shop sold skateboards, Dr. Martens, and punk records when mainstream culture consisted of top 40 hits and leg warmers.

Now located in The Old Market District on 12th and Howard streets, Drastic Plastic has been making waves for over three decades under the direction of owner Mike Howard and, more recently, store manager Neil Azevedo.

Azevedo was originally just a regular customer before joining Drastic in 2007. A record store that promoted alternative culture was somewhat of a godsend for Midwest high-school students like Azevedo who were seeking something else.

“Whenever I started coming to the store, I did it because at that time, punk rock and post-punk music was underground music. As a teenager, it was a way for me to understand who I was and push the bounds of what I could be,” Azevedo says.

Since becoming store manager, Azevedo has helped keep Drastic Plastic current, shifting some of the store’s focus to subsidiary ventures like Drastic Plastic Collectibles. The line specializes in toy manufacturing—more specifically rock- and horror-based bobble heads.

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Starting with the classics (e.g., characters from Night of the Living Dead, Fulci’s Zombie, and the one and only Iggy Pop), Drastic Plastic Collectibles is in full swing. Soon to grace shelves are Debbie Harry, Jimi Hendrix, and Marc Bolan of T. Rex.

Although dabbling in toy manufacturing, Drastic is still all about the music. Christine Fink is the coordinator for Drastic Plastic Records, a vinyl reissue label in the Impact Merchandising offices on 24th and St. Mary’s. With her hands in everything from marketing and production to graphic design and filling orders, Fink strives to keep some of the more obscure and overlooked bands and artists alive.

“A lot of these albums are so important to so many people, and a lot of them sort of just fell by the wayside, or they haven’t been reissued in a long time,” Fink says. “Because this music and this culture transformed so many people, we felt it was important to not only reissue these albums but do it in such a way that they are collector’s items.”

Focusing heavily on packaging and presentation, Fink hopes that these reissued records can also serve as art pieces for those who collect them.

“We try to make things as high of quality as possible. We are willing to spend a little bit of money in order to make things as perfect as they can be,” Azevedo says. “Our goal is not even to make money. Our goal for the store itself is just to break even, pay our rent, and buy as much vinyl as we possibly can.”