Another Journey - October 7

Omaha, Nebraska
Ranch Bowl


For the second day in a row, I forget to reset my alarm to Central time and end up in the lobby wondering where everyone is only to realize I'm an hour early. And it's not like I don't need the sleep. Really tired these days, need to take better care of myself. All of us trying not to eat so much fried road food. This is not easy in the Heart(attack)land of America.
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Pleasant drive today through Kansas and Iowa, broken up by a stop in Hamburg, Iowa at Stoners Drugs. Jim and Bob noticed the sign on the highway and couldn't resist. We pull off and discover an absolute gem of a small American town. Not even a stoplight to define the town center--which amounts to an intersection. Stoners has, besides the perfect name, an honest-to-god soda fountain in the back.

SODA FOUNTAIN.jpg (31052 bytes)We have rootbeer floats, malts and real cherry cokes from the fountain and chat with the really sweet older ladies who run the place and are about as friendly as people can be. The rest of the counter is filled with locals taking a break from their days. It's a kind of community I'd only really seen in Europe before; something pretty much extinct in metropolitan America. Simple as it is, this short stop is a highlight of the tour.

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We check in at the Omaha Super 8 and pull up to the venue. This is going to be weird. Combination rock club, sportsbar, bowling alley and volleyball sand pit.

We thought Fargo was odd.

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We watch the Yankees dragging out their playoff game, finally having to soundcheck when they hit the 11th inning.

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The place is small, dark and hot with a moveable wooden barrier that reminds you of a stockade or some cruel cattle slaughter house. The dressing room is actually in the bowling alley next to the ladies' room.

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Everyone splits after sound check, some to sample Nebraska steaks. I stay and catch up on phone calls and watch the Yanks blow it with a dubious ump call.

The gig is dark figuratively and literally. We play well for the most part, but I have a crappy night. Shoved almost behind the PA in the corner, it's nearly pitch black on my side of the stage. I can't even see my guitar neck and capo the wrong fret for New#1. Tuning problems are doubled and I'm frustrated much of the set which sucks since the sound is pretty good tonight and when I can get around to playing, it's all good.

The crowd are an odd mix, hard to get a handle on. Not collegiate, largely older fans, but kids, too. Noisy, though, during the quiet parts, which pisses Bob off during Eternally Fried. We go for option B and just play loud and fast since that's all they have interest in, apparently.
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The Midwest wants to ROCK, we conclude.

Afterwards, a little bowling where Chris and Jim get into a real Texas shooting match finale (Chris squeaks out ahead), Anders swears at high volume, I just kind of suck, and Bob demonstrates a unique but highly effective style that puts us all to shame.
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