Paul McCartney struck a chord with Big Red fans at PBA. World-Herald Photos
By Randy York
Now that pop music’s most enduring songwriter has performed back-to-back engagements in Lincoln Monday night and in Kansas City on Wednesday night, I have a very small news flash. Both packed house audiences at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln and at the Sprint Center in Kansas City were totally engaged with Paul McCartney, and the reviews of both concerts left no doubt about how a 72-year-old Beatle can still deliver the most unforgettable rock ‘n’ roll show on planet earth. The only apparent difference between the two venues was how McCartney could connect his creative energy with the hometown teams.
In Lincoln, Sir Paul wasted no time delivering a Go Big Red shout out, two songs into his 39-song, nearly three-hour concert. Shortly thereafter, McCartney led the PBA audience in a Husker Power chant. He started it with a British-sounding version of Husker. The crowd – which included Nebraska Basketball Coaches Tim Miles and Connie Yori – roared back with a resounding Power. Even though reviewers of both concerts put McCartney’s performance among the “best ever” in Lincoln and KC, there was one noticeable difference. My friends who attended the Kansas City concert said McCartney tried two or three times to get a Kansas City Chief chant going, but to no avail. Whenever the NFL franchise was mentioned, there was polite applause, but no enthusiastic follow-through. Both crowds, however, simply couldn’t get enough of McCartney’s incredible energy.
Miles, Yori, Leblanc Join Boehm at PBA
“I couldn’t believe Paul McCartney went almost three hours straight without a break and without so much as a drink of water,” said Nebraska Executive Associate Athletic Director Marc Boehm, who attended the concert and sat with Miles, Yori and Dennis Leblanc, Nebraska’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Academics. “Our little group had a great time listening to a band that’s been around forever and a singer who performs as great as ever. We sang along with certain songs that took us back to another time. I swear I could close my eyes and see different decades in my mind.”
Boehm laughs describing how the spirited Miles watches a legend in concert. “As you can imagine, Tim was as engaged in the concert as anybody,” Boehm said. “He rarely looked anywhere else but where the action was. He was totally locked in. Connie and Dennis loved the show, too. They know how important it is for students to be able to walk across campus and a couple blocks later, be inside a venue like Pinnacle Bank Arena. It’s a huge recruiting advantage not just for our basketball teams, but for Nebraska’s entire student population. There was almost every age group inside the arena Monday night, and everyone was thoroughly entertained.”
No wonder Sir Paul resorted to the ultimate punchline coming out of his first encore. The solo Beatle stepped up to the microphone, surveyed the audience, and delivered a line Husker fans never get tired of hearing. “There is no place like Nebraska,” he said.
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