Tag Archives: Paul McCartney

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.

2017 July/August Concerts

Free Concert series

Enjoy an eclectic array of live music, including rock, R&B, blues, jazz, and county from local and national musicians. Located in some of Omaha’s most vibrant metro areas, these summer concert series are sure to get the whole family grooving.

• Bridge Beats (The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Plaza, 705 Riverfront Dr.): 6-9:30 p.m. Fridays, July 14 and 28.

• Jazz on the Green (Turner Park in Midtown Crossing, 3110 Farnam St.): starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays through July and Aug. 3, 10.

• Music in the Park (Bayliss Park, 100 Pearl St. Council Bluffs, IA): 6-8:30 p.m. Thursdays through July and Aug. 3.

• Playing with Fire Festival (Turner Park in Midtown Crossing, 3110 Farnam St.): 5:30 p.m. July 14 and 4:30 p.m. July 15.

• Rockbrook Village (2800 S. 110th Court): 7-8 p.m. Fridays, except July 7.

• Sounds of Summer (Nebraska Medicine Amphitheater, Shadow Lake Town Center, 72nd St. and Highway 370): 6:30-8:30 p.m. Fridays through Aug. 18.

• Stinson Concert Series (Aksarben Village, 2285 S. 67th St.): 7-10 p.m. Saturdays July 8, 22, 29; and Aug. 5, 12.

• Vibes (Village Pointe, 17305 Davenport St.): 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturdays through Aug. 19.

Awolnation: July 7 at Stir Cove, 1 Harrah’s Blvd., Council Bluffs. Alt-rock band Awolnation comes to Council Bluffs as part of Stir Cove’s summer concert series. 8 p.m. Tickets: $35-$98. 712-329-6000.

Queen + Adam Lambert: July 8 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. Queen and Lambert’s collaboration began in 2009 on American Idol followed by many joint performances. Next up is this highly-anticipated 25-city summer arena tour. 8 p.m. Tickets: $27.50-$137.50. 402-341-1500.

Conor Oberst (CANCELLED)July 13 at The Waiting Room Outdoors, 6212 Maple St. The Waiting Room Lounge will move outdoors for a unique concert experience in the heart of Benson. Conor Oberst has partnered with Plus1 and will donate $1 to Planned Parenthood for every ticket sold. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $30. 402-884-5353.

AJR: July 16 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Three brothers, born and raised in New York City, make up AJR–the independent band who writes, records, and produces all content in their living room. Their electro-pop single “I’m Ready,” has over 1 million YouTube views. 8 p.m. Tickets: $15 in advance, $18 at the door. 402-345-7569.

Blondie and Garbage: July 19 at Stir Cove, 1 Harrah’s Blvd, Council Bluffs. New-wave/punk band Blondie and alt-rock band Garbage come together for their “Rage and Rapture Tour.” 7 p.m. Tickets: $50-$178. 712-329-6000.

Cody Johnson: July 20 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. A country singer from Texas, Cody Johnson has self-released six albums–the sixth, Gotta Be Me, debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s country album chart. 8 p.m. Tickets: $18 in advance, $20 at the door. 402-345-7569.

Goo Goo Dolls: July 21 at Stir Cove, 1 Harrah’s Blvd, Council Bluffs. The grunge-rock icons behind “Iris” and “Give a Little Bit” are coming in promotion of the band’s latest album, Long Way Home. 8 p.m. Tickets: $45-$178. 712-329-6000.

Nickelback: July 21 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. Join the Canadian multi-platinum rock band at their “Feed the Machine” tour with special guests Daughtry and Shaman’s Harvest. 7 p.m. Tickets: $27.50-$220. 402-341-1500.

Dashboard Confessional & The All American Rejects: July 22 at Stir Cove, 1 Harrah’s Blvd, Council Bluffs. Want to know a “Dirty Little Secret”?  The All-American Rejects will let you in on one as they tour with Dashboard Confessional this summer. 8 p.m. Tickets: $39-$118. 712-329-6000.

RiverJam 17: July 21-23 at Riverwest Park, 23301 W. Maple Road. The fifth installment of the summertime classic will bring bands and DJ performances, with  local headliners to include Linear Symmetry, Funk Trek, and Peach Truck (an Allman Brothers tribute). Friday: 2 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. Admission (includes camping): $25 weekend pass, $15 day pass. 402-953-4731.

Paul McCartney: July 23 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. The “One on One” tour features dozens of classics from one of the most beloved catalogs in popular music, spanning McCartney’s entire career as a solo artist, member of Wings, and of course, as a Beatle. 8 p.m. Tickets: $97.50-$250. 402-341-1500.

Come Together: A Musical Celebration of the Beatles: July 29 at Village Pointe, 17305 Davenport St. Bring your lawn chair and arrive early to get a good seat. Come Together: A Musical Celebration of the Beatles plays non-stop to give the concertgoers as many of their favorite tunes from The Beatles as possible. Free. 6:30-8:30 p.m. 402-505-9773.

Tempo of Twilight Concert Series: Through Aug. 1 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. This outdoor concert series brings a spectacular lineup of local entertainment to the garden for a harmonious blend of music and nature. 6-8 p.m. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for under 6 and members. 402-346-4002.

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo: Aug 4. at Stir Cove, 1 Harrah’s Blvd, Council Bluffs. The “Love is a Battlefield” singer teams up with longtime collaborator Neil Giraldo for a summer tour. 8 p.m. Tickets: $40-$128. 712-329-6000.

Lady Antebellum: Aug. 4 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. The country music group is on the road again for their “You Look Good Tour 2017,” featuring special guests Kelsea Ballerini and Brett Young. 7:30 p.m. $28.50-$119. 402-341-1500.

Shawn Mendes: Aug. 5 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. On his third concert tour, join the 18-year-old Canadian singer and songwriter in support of his second studio album, Illuminate, on his “Illuminate World Tour” with special guest Charlie Puth. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $18-$65.50. 402-341-1500.

Delta Rae: Aug. 8 at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. From Durham, North Carolina, the six-piece American folk rock band has headlined more than 100 shows each year and are regulars on the festival circuit since forming in 2009. 8 p.m. Tickets: $16-$20. 402-884-5353.

Sylvan Esso: Aug. 8 at Sokol Auditorium, 2234 S. 13th St. Sylvan Esso formed in 2013. From Durham, North Carolina, the duo is made up of singer Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn. Their sophomore album, What Now, was released April 28. 8 p.m. Tickets: $21 in advance, $23 day of show. 402-346-9802.

Young the Giant: Aug. 8 at SumTur Amphitheater, 11691 S. 108th St. After breaking out with their 2010 self-titled debut album, the Los Angeles quintet continues to brave new terrain with their wildly eclectic arrangements. Special guests will include Cold War Kids and Joywave. 7 p.m. Tickets: $33. 402-597-2065.

Green Day: Aug. 12 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Grammy-winning rock band will kick off its summer tour in August, featuring their latest album Revolution Radio—which included the No. 1 single, “Bang Bang.” 7 p.m. Tickets: $27.50-$250. 402-341-1500.

Blues Cruise with Swampboy Blues Band: Aug. 13 at River City Star, 151 Freedom Park Road. Soak up the local scenery along the Missouri River at a fun, lively pace with a drink in hand and live blues music as a soundtrack. 3-5 p.m. Tickets: $20. 402-342-7827.

Coldplay: Aug. 14 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. Join the seven-time Grammy-winning, British alternative rock band on their seventh concert tour, the “A Head Full of Dreams Tour.” 7 p.m. Tickets: $67.50-$223. 402-341-1500.

City and Colour: Aug. 16 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. City and Colour, aka world-renowned singer, songwriter, and performer Dallas Green, has traveled the globe on tour and has released numerous successful albums. Most recently, he released his acclaimed fifth studio record, If I Should Go Before You, which debuted at No. 16 on the Billboard 200 Chart. Tickets: $35 in advance, $40 at the door. 8 p.m. 345-7569.

Lady Gaga: Aug. 19 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. Following her Super Bowl performance, the international superstar brings her world tour, “Joanne,” to Omaha. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $86-$250. 402-341-1500.

Maha Music Festival: Aug. 19 at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village, 2285 S. 67th St. Omaha’s one-of-a-kind, annual nonprofit indie music festival is back with headliners Run The Jewels and 10 other acts, including Belle and Sebastian, The Faint, Sleigh Bells, and more. Noon-midnight. Tickets: $55 general admission. 402-554-3689.

This calendar is published as shown in the print edition.

We welcome you to submit events to our print calendar. Please email event details and a 300 ppi photograph three months in advance to: editintern@omahamagazine.com

*Times and details for any event may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

Thunder-bird’s Eye View

July 17, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

This article appears in July/August 2015 Omaha Magazine.

It’s lunchtime in the Omaha Press Club’s spectacular Spiro Agnew Oak Room and Steve Villamonte is humbly puzzled as to why anyone wants to interview him.

“Christine’s the backbone of the Press Club,” he says of Christine Jones, his wife and OPC planning & event coordinator. “She does all the work. She’s a big part of our success here the past 15 years.”

“Well, we’re all important here,” says Jones, with a warm, conspiratorial wink before exiting.

She comes up often in conversation with Villamonte, consistently attached to the adjective “beautiful”—just as in the May 2015 OPC newsletter, where he writes that “the best part [of working] at the Press Club is that I get to see my beautiful Christine every day.”

Villamonte’s succeeded in seamlessly combining his three chief interests—family, food, and work—through roles including husband, father, coach, mentor, certified executive chef, Omaha Press Club Executive Director, and entrepreneur behind Villamonte’s Cuisine and his trademarked Thunderbird Salad Dressing.

But the family-food-work connection is nothing new to Villamonte. At age 53, he’s been in the kitchen 48 years.

“One of my first memories was making Thunderbird salads for my dad,” says Villamonte, recollecting his “job” dressing the iconic salad at Omaha’s Happy Hollow Club. He recalls the plastic deli gloves dwarfing his scant 5-year-old hands, the stepstool he stood on, the kitchen’s layout.

Villamonte’s father, Peruvian-born chef Luis Villamonte, established the Thunderbird as house salad at various country clubs in which he worked throughout the Midwest. While it still remains as such at many, the famous Thunderbird dressing, which the Villamontes now sell commercially and retail, truly reaches its peak as served on the First National Bank building’s 22nd floor, with mixed greens, bacon, bleu cheese, shredded mozzarella, chives, tomatoes, and homemade croutons.

“I still have the old Thunderbird recipe card he gave me,” says Villamonte. “Going to culinary school was one thing, but you couldn’t learn more than I did working with my father.”

Now the teacher his late father was, Villamonte enjoys working with his team, including OPC Executive Chef Barry Brewer, who handles day-to-day kitchen operations while Villamonte continues to steer creative direction, mentor staff, write banquet menus and menu items, and collaborate with clients who’ve commissioned his expertise in achieving the right note for special dinners and events. Villamonte relishes mentoring other chefs, teaching them tricks of the trade, but also to have “a lot of pride and dignity” in their craft.

“I realized I can work through other people and get things done with a lot of culinary flair,” he says.

Villamonte urges chefs to seek ample education.

“It’s one thing to be a good chef, but you must also be a good manager,” he says. “My first manager reminded me [often] that there’s an abundance of skilled chefs, but you also have to be able to work with people. I’ve never forgotten that. So, the more education you get in both business and culinary skills, the better. You also need hard knocks; that’s the best teacher sometimes.”

Villamonte says he enjoys being in the kitchen with his culinary crew.

“You know, Paul McCartney always stays relevant. Here he is, in his mid-70s, with a number one song. I think that’s amazing. And my business is the same; you have to constantly look at what’s out, what’s new, what haven’t I tried yet, what do I want to try … ”

Villamonte’s keen on exploring the culinary world’s cutting edge. He researches extensively for menus and likes to put an updated spin on classics, teaching his staff to fabricate meat and create grand food arts like chaud froid.

“You tweak it so that things still fit to today, to today’s standards, today’s nouveau,” he says. “I want to be classic but current—you know, I want to be like Paul McCartney.”

Starting in January 2014 Villamonte faced the “toughest fight I’ve ever had”—a prolonged health scare resulting in an Autoimmune Liver Disease diagnosis, which his doctor believes was caused by statins. By April 2015, the Villamontes were in “celebration mode” with news that the ALD, although incurable, was not progressing.

“We’re a really close-knit family,” says Villamonte, who has two grown sons and two kids under 10, about whom he boasts freely.

His oldest, “Junior,” is a “very skilled, very talented” third-generation chef. “People person” Joe is a police officer. Nine-year-old Gabe is a master athlete, ambidextrous pitcher, and “the nicest kid ever—he’s Christine all over again.” Six-year-old Justine is “a pistol” who enjoys dance and tee-ball. Both
youngsters love school.

“That’s my passion: my family,” says Villamonte.

A visit to the OPC kitchen reveals a smiling Brewer and his team prepping fruit and other provisions against the backdrop of the club’s famously striking windows on a cloudless May afternoon. It’s an exceptional view,  unlike other kitchens.

“To me, it’s the best kitchen in town,” says Villamonte.


Life in the Fast Lane

December 16, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Imagine, for a moment: thousands are screaming, intermittent camera flashes are flickering, and screens as tall as buildings illuminate with animation as cameras zoom in on passionate crowd members or in for close shots of band members onstage. Lights, screens, cameras, sound system—everything is calculated, and anything could go wrong.

For Marcia Kapustin, this is a day in the life, one small aspect in a career that carries her to concert halls around the world.

“You’re in full-out panic mode sometimes,” Kapustin says, referring to one of Bon Jovi’s concerts in which the power went completely out. “It’s live, you know? Everything stops.”

Kapustin, who started her company, KPX Video, in 2000, is an entrepreneur and specialist in technological and media content for bands. As such, she often finds herself hitching along on tours with various musicians to direct the screens, sounds, and lighting in concert venues so that shows run smoothly.

Although born and raised in Philadelphia, her port of landing is chiefly Omaha, where she started KPX. Her company specializes in LED screens, animations, live cameras, and image magnification, along with a wide gamut of other provisions for sound and screen content. Her impressive repertoire of clients includes Metallica, Bon Jovi, Elton John, James Taylor, U2, and Paul McCartney.

The obvious question: How can she not get star-struck rubbing elbows with the likes of Paul McCartney? “After so many years of working with [Paul], I’m used to it,” Kapustin says. “But every once in a while, when Paul will call me up or give a kiss on the cheek, I’ll have this moment of, ‘Oh my God, that’s Paul McCartney!’”

Kapustin is on the road anywhere from four to 10 months a year, a career choice for which she says she has “zero regrets.” However, finding the balance of normalcy between home life and life in some of the fastest of fast lanes poses an interesting challenge.

“I mean, imagine it this way,” Kapustin says. “Most people get off work, they go home at 5 or 6. On my day off, I can’t go home and chill out in my house. I’m living with these people that are my surrogate family, for the most part.”

Included in Kapustin’s resumé are an economic-based programming position for the U.S. Political Commerce in Washington, D.C. when she was 20 years old, and the installation of the world’s first LED big-screen in the NFL Ravens stadium later in her career.

As for some of the zanier experiences in Kapustin’s lively and ever-changing career, she recalls one hilarious and terrifying moment when McCartney forgot his place on stage and took a 6-foot tumble onto the back of a piano—only funny, she adds, because he was entirely unhurt.

And for her more difficult, theatrical clients: “Let’s put it this way,” Kapustin says with a smile. “There are some of my clients that I sign a nondisclosure agreement for.”

As for Kapustin’s near and future engagements, she’s gearing up to travel with McCartney again for his upcoming fall tour. Although she loves being home, Kapustin is already excited to be back on the road again.

“You miss little points in people’s lives,” Kapustin says. “I can’t imagine another way of life, but you do have to choose.”