The Rolling Stones , Omaha 2006

 

Omaha, Nebraska-Qwest Center Jan. 29, 2006.

 

  Despite the fact that the vast majority of their set-list dates back over a quarter of a century, The Rolling Stones generally sidestep nostalgia in favor of spectacle and sheer bravura. Though any fan versed in Stones lore knows the significance of their presence in Omaha, forty-two years from their first North American tour. Like an amiable old uncle with an arsenal of stories, Keith Richards is always ready to recount the incident backstage at the Music Hall back in June 1964 when a policeman ordered Keith to pour down the drain what he thought was whiskey and pulled out his revolver to urge compliance. Opening acts on that tour were The Chiffons and Bobbys Goldsboro and Vee, the latter of which had a sax player from Texas named Bobby Keys.

                  

  No longer a backwater cow town situated somewhere between Denver and Chicago, Omaha has a new 20,000 seat arena and is now hosting its share of A-list groups. The dubious choice of opening band, country populists Brooks & Dunn added a somewhat unreal touch to the evening, along with City fathers in attendance and overpriced alcohol sold at stalls all over the place.

 

  With their lineup of sidemen who've served for the last dozen-or-so years, The Stones' juggernaut was midway through the tour when they arrived in Omaha. The band tight and the songs well honed, containing the usual hits and a few surprises, like a poignant As Tears Go By, which found Mick in fine voice, accompanied by Keith on acoustic. Another pleasant feature was how good the new stuff from A Bigger Bang sounds; so Rough Justice and Oh No, Not You Again sounded unforced and rocked like the band in their early '70s prime. And for once Keith's number, This Place Is Empty achieved musical lift-off to match the lyrical depth and the world-weary delivery. Still decadent, not yet decrepit.

 

  Keith basked in the rapturous applause before his two-song mini-set, responding with a grin and a shrug,” C’mon, I haven't done anything yet". He remains the rock star for the common man, seemingly undaunted by the group's massive impact.

 

  Before the evening's closing number, Mick told the crowd the Stones would be doing the halftime show at upcoming Super Bowl LX in Detroit and that Satisfaction could have been played at Super Bowl I (1967). Coincidentally, when they wrapped up that Music Hall gig back in ’64 they were also headed for a show in Detroit. Doubtful anyone could've imagined the long journey that lay before them.