Freaking Pearl Jam! And I missed out!

When I was a Junior in high school my older brother was coming to town from college to check out a "new band" at the ranch bowl. He had an extra tickets and asked me to go but I said, "what, to watch some crybaby Emo band like The Cure or something?! Now way!" He said, "I'm telling you, this band and this type of music will be huge! You're loss nerd!"

Just a few months later that summer I heard a a song by that band and, let's just say, it changed the course of my life at that time. The song was "Alive" and that band was Pearl Jam.

Freaking Pearl Jam! And I missed out!

Let's just say I tend to follow my brother's taste in music since. Except for Wilco. I think they suck.


Poison & Warrant Pop Into Jam

In early 1991, I was at the Ranch Bowl with my boyfriend (now husband) and a drunk dude behind me yells, "Hey, it's Poison!" I thought he was full of crap, but I looked up and, sure enough, up on stage with the band (it might have been Finest Hour) was C.C. DeVille of Poison on guitar and actually Jani Lane, lead singer of Warrant, down on one knee singing into the microphone. They played an hour or more. The whole room was just electric. Quite a thrill. Poison was playing a concert in Omaha at the Civic Auditorium and Warrant was opening for them. Amazing memories of the Ranch Bowl.


Friends With The Bands

My friends and I hung out at the Ranch Bowl all the time mostly to see 2 Skinnee J's and The Urge in the late 90's. We were sitting outside of the Ranch Bowl leaning up against the building minutes before the opening band was going to start. We weren't planning on watching them. Just then this guy walks by us and says "You guys should go in to watch the opening band I hear they are pretty good!" So we went in to see that the guy who said that was the drummer Jose from Incubus. I think there was like 8 people in there. We were like "Jose you got us!" After the show they had a merch table set up and they signed a bumper sticker and a signed CD, for me and we went with them to Denny's to eat! After that we ended up putting Incubus on our "must go to shows" we became pretty good friends. We also ate with them after a show in Lincoln at the Old Chicago and we would follow them to Lawerence KS and see them 3 nights in a row (Ranch Bowl, Lincoln, Lawerence). I had some jewels glued to my eyelids and Brandon wanted to wear them. We also met up with them at Ozfest and Brandon spotted me and came up to talk to me. I saw them one last show in Lawrence KS. I was newly pregnant at the time. Brandon invited us backstage to eat from the band buffet and said I could go get a massage.... He told me if it was a girl to name her Genevieve, Then they just blew up and went mainstream. We drove to KS to see them once and we got there and the door said "Incubus Cancelled" We were really upset. That was what was so awesome about the Ranch Bowl. You always had to make sure that you watched the opening band because the next time they came around they were HUGE. I always wrote down all the names of the bands I saw and if I met them or not! There was no other place like it! If you never went there you just don't get it. I also have a scrapbook. I have tons of pictures mostly of 2 skinny j's and the urge. I also have posters, ticket stubs and autographs. The bands that I became friends with were 2 skinnee J's, the urge, funk junkees and incubus. We also saw Keanu Reeves band Dogstar. I remember him just kind of hanging out on the stage trying not to be seen. I caught a pink pick. My friend loved him and wanted to meet him. We waited outside the Ranch Bowl forever for him to come out. Security kept telling us to leave that he had already left and snuck out. So we left. We drove by later and saw a bunch of people still standing outside, so we went back. Security said "Ok he is coming out... please be quiet, respectful and he has agreed to take a few pictures but don't talk to him" We waited in line and we didn't have a camera so we made friends with someone that said she would take a picture and send it to us. We were getting closer to meet him in the line and this drunk chick started to scream "Keanu I love you!" He like freaked out and started to run. My friend and I got into my car and started to follow him to the double tree. Security stopped us and said we had to leave the premises.


Where My Parents First Met

 Ranch Bowl 1990. This date and place made it possible for my family to exist. It is where my parents first met. My dad, Tim Kaplan, played guitar in the band The Finest Hour. The singer at the time, Becky, who was also in High Heel and the Sneekers, introduced her sister, Tammy, to my dad. Becky is now my favorite aunt who never lets us forget that we are forever indebted to her and the Ranch Bowl for bringing my parents together. It is 26 years of marriage and 5 kids later, and my parents still have a very special place in their hearts for the Ranch Bowl. I truly wish it was still around so that my siblings and I could experience the place where our parents first met.


The Summer Of 1998

Back in the early summer of 1998 I was super excited to see the Afrodisiacs at the Ranch Bowl on a Friday night. I was all about the disco and was primed to get my boogie on. Unfortunately....

I was less than a month shy of my 21st birthday, and that night’s Afrodisiacs gig was being held in the bar in the back because some rockabilly band I had never heard of was playing the main stage. This meant the Afro’s gig was 21 and up. DENIED. 

Pissed but not totally dejected, we decided we drove all that way and figured we might as well check the rockabilly band out. Why not, right?

I proceeded to get my face melted by The Reverend Horton Heat, who I’ve been a fan of ever since. That was the beauty of The Ranch Bowl


Buzzcocks Show 1991

Some of the shows at the Ranch Bowl were 18 and over, including (I think) the Buzzcocks show in 91.

My friend and I were 17. So we found out the name of the guy who managed the ranch bowl, and fabricated a phony internship program. We wrote a (fake) letter from our journalism teacher thanking him for his participation and letting her students into shows for free so that we could write about them and saying please enjoy this home-baked cookies, and picked up a dozen cookies from Bakers. The bouncers were all about the cookies, and let us in! We got to interview the Buzzcocks for over an hour, and put the interview in our Papillion High school paper.

Which is all to say, “Nebraska Nice” is a real thing.