What’s not to like about Omaha? If it’s just cold weather you’re not fond of well then that’s a small list to hold up against this fine town in the heartland of America. Let’s see, we all remember as kids watching ‘Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom’ with Marlon Perkins on Sunday afternoons. Marlon, an actual zoologist, with his mild voice and disarming avuncular looks brought many animals in their natural settings into our homes every week. We can’t forget about Marlon’s co-host and sidekick Jim Fowler. When it was time to wrestle an alligator or wrangle with an anaconda it was Jim Fowler who drew the short straw. Also, Omaha is the home of the Union Pacific Railroad, one of the original train lines out of the two that constructed the famed Intercontinental railroad by meeting the Pacific Central line upon Promontory Summit in Utah with the ‘driving of the Golden Spike’ that connected railroad transportation for the first time from coast to coast. There’s also the College World Series and the Doorly Zoo, etc. I’ve been playing Omaha since the early 90’s before Tx. Sugar came out down at the Howard St. Tavern. We’ve been playing there ever since. There are many attributes and memories here in Omaha.
Another languid easy drive up US 75 out of Topeka, we set out on our way. The 21st Saloon has been in Omaha for quite some time now. It was Murphy’s when I first started playing there and then it changed to the 21st Amendment, the one that repealed the 18th on the Constitution, (a bit of ‘rye’ humor no doubt), and it’s here that in conjunction with the Omaha Blues Society we play a kind of ‘Happy Hour’ show with our start time being 6pm. A surprisingly spacious club on the inside with the stage being in the middle of a rectangle layout on one of the long sides so you can have people on three sides on the stage. We’ve held on to a core fan base here and even now some fans that still attend shows all the way back from the Howard St. days. After we loaded in and I went out to move the van, the engine refused to crank and all that you heard was the tell-tale sound of a bad starter; ‘Click’ after turning the ignition and nothing more. Ugh!, well at least there’s a bit of time before the gig so I’ve got time to throw a new starter on the van. I get a ride from a longtime fan who as it turns out was one of the original bartenders/Mgr. from the Howard St., Dave. He graciously and happily gave me a ride down to the auto parts store. After buying just a couple of tools because all my tools are at home and I don’t have the extension necessary to reach one of the bolts on the starter, I return and promptly get under the van. It’s a bit brisk outside but I plunge ahead and after a few choice words shouted out in frustration while changing the starter, I endure the cold with my bare hands and successfully get the new starter on and the van fires up like a champ. It is a gratifying sound. With that done it’s time to for me to change strings and clean up and be brilliant on stage.
The show was a lot of fun and our sound guy had the stage sounding good so all I had to do was throw myself into the music and let it flow. The crowd was great and once again I am reminded of how fond I am of Omaha and the history I’ve made here the past 20 plus years; thank you Omaha.
Onto Kansas City we go….c