Readers remember their favorite concerts at Omaha Civic Auditorium - Omaha.com
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Elvis in June 1977 at City Auditorium taping.


Readers remember their favorite concerts at Omaha Civic Auditorium
By Kevin Coffey / World-Herald staff writer


Over the years, the Omaha Civic Auditorium hosted countless concerts.

With the site of the arena and its attached Omaha Music Hall up for sale, the venue's next concerts may likely be its last.

Among the many performers to walk the halls of the 60-year-old arena were the Rolling Stones, R.E.M., Jimmy Page, John Mellencamp, Van Halen, B.B. King and Elvis Presley in one of his last concerts, which was broadcast after his death.

We spoke to readers about their favorite musical memories from the arena, and they had some tales to tell.

Have a memory you'd like to share? Send it to kevin.coffey@owh.com.

Foo Fighters and RHCP

When the Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers came to the Civic in 2000, it was a packed show.

Some will remember seeing two hugely popular bands in such a small space. Others will remember frontman Dave Grohl marching out into the audience without a security detail while playing his guitar.

Kevin Bartley remembers that, but he also recalls crowd surfing.

“(I was) dropped on my ass,” he said. “Totally worth it.”

Beck and The Roots

Pop artist Beck once played the arena with The Roots as an opener, and it's Chris Klemmensen's best memory of the Civic. It was quite a show, according to Klemmensen. Beck, of course, is still a quirky pop icon and The Roots are now famous for being Jimmy Fallon's house band on “The Tonight Show.”

From The World-Herald's review of the 1997 concert: “Electronic. Enduring. Epic… The often subdued audience came out of its shell, crowd surfed and danced about as frantically as one can dance in place for two particular songs: 'Loser,' Beck's breakthrough hit from 1994's 'Mellow Gold' album, and 'Where It's At,' a recent hit from 'Odelay.' ”

KISS in 1979

Joey Ziskey saw his first-ever concert at the Civic. “1979 when I was in seventh grade,” Ziskey said. “The KISS 'Dynasty' tour.”

Iron Maiden and a Guns N' Roses no-show

“Iron Maiden's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son tour where Guns N' Roses was supposed to open up,” said Omahan Marq Manner. “When they canceled, we got Hericane Alice. Iron Maiden was amazing, though.”

Manner has lots of memories of the old building, including seeing a member of Marilyn Manson's band sarcastically protesting his own show and the time Dave Grohl was waiting for Manner to open up the old Homer's Music on Saddle Creek Road.

“(He) was waiting to buy about $300 worth of black metal CDs. I asked him 'Why black metal?' He said 'They have the best drummers!' What a nice guy.”

Rancid's 1996 show

Back in 1996, a lot of people got arrested at Civic rock shows.

During Rancid's 1996 show, 31 people were arrested when fans caused $10,000 worth of damage to the venue by ripping out seats and throwing them on the stage.

That punk band's show stuck out for Patrick Miner and several other readers.

Miner also enjoyed a show from 311 with The Urge and No Doubt as openers. There were 76 people arrested at that show in an Omaha Police Department drug and under-age drinking crackdown.

“It was a fun atmosphere,” said Miner, who wasn't one of those arrested.

Def Leppard

April Jones remembers seeing Def Leppard at the Civic on Nov. 10, 1987, because it was their first tour after drummer Rick Allen lost his arm. Allen still plays with the band after losing his arm in a car accident in 1986.

Aerosmith and Dokken

One of Mark Weber's favorite Civic shows was seeing Aerosmith and Dokken play together in the winter of 1987. Unfortunately, he didn't catch all of the music.

“I was making out with some unfortunate gal and pretty much missed it all,” Weber said.

Weber's later favorites at the arena included seeing Van Halen's 5150 tour, ZZ Top's “Afterburner” tour and the Black Crowes.

The Cars

R.E.M. and The Cars aren't usually related, but Al Kallhoff noticed a correlation: “Stipe and Ocasek weren't real showmen, but they sounded great.”

Even The World-Herald mentioned that.

“The Cars have never been known for dynamic stage shows,” read the review from 1984. “But the band, whose studio work is flawless, proved that it can faithfully reproduce that sound and mood in a live setting. The band members are craftsmen, not showmen. And their effort was well accepted by the audience, which frequently sang along.”

Tool

Derek Fellner will never forget the time he saw Tool with 7,000 other fans. It was his first concert.

Well, Derek, do you remember this? According to our archives, the encore began with a hum taking over the amps like a spaceship hovering and ready to take off before Tool pounded through “Parabola,” “Ticks & Leeches” and “Lateralus” to close out the show.

Contact the writer: Kevin Coffey

kevin.coffey@owh.com    |   402-444-1557    |  

Kevin covers music, whether it's pop, indie or punk, through artist interviews, reviews and trend stories. He also occasionally covers other entertainment, including video games and comic books.

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