Jon McLaughlin Captivates an Omaha, Nebraska Crowd

Jon McLaughlin at the historic Benson downtown's The Waiting Room Lounge in Omaha, Nebraska on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo credit: Joe DeSanti)

JOE DeSANTI | Go Venue Magazine

On Wednesday night March 11, 2020, Jon McLaughlin brought his “Me & My Piano Tour” to the Waiting Room in Omaha, Nebraska.  It was an intimate concert with a small, but mighty crowd that kicked off with an awesome performance by Nashville natives, Striking Matches.

Striking Matches consists of Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis, who met at a guitar seminar at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee in 2007.  After practicing together and honing their craft, the duo quit school to pursue a music career full time.  I hadn’t had the privilege of hearing any of their music before, but from their opening song, I knew I was in for a treat.  Both artists are tremendous guitar players, and their chemistry on stage was dynamic.  The crowd at the Waiting Room was impressed, and gave the duo a standing ovation at the end of their set. 

After a brief intermission, Jon McLaughlin made his way to the stage, which was outfitted with just a single microphone, keyboard, and soft lighting.  Without saying a word, he began his set with a beautiful piano arrangement which captured the audience’s attention.  From there, Jon welcomed everyone to the show, and thanked Striking Matches for their performance.  He joked that he made a big mistake by bringing them on the tour with him because they were so good, it was going to be tough to follow.

McLaughlin has a certain innocence about him, and it was easy to see the crowd enjoyed his stories and jokes between songs.  It’s hard for me to pick out a favorite moment from this show because every song Jon performed was amazing.  My top three favorites were, “You Don’t Talk About Me”, “Changing”, and an absolutely breathtaking performance of “I Don’t Want to Live Without You.”  McLaughlin has a knack for drawing his audiences in and captivating everyone with his emotional performances.  There were some points throughout a few of the songs where you could literally hear a pin drop because the audience was so mesmerized by this man’s talents.  The majority of songs he played were from his 2018 and 2019 albums, “Angst & Grace”, and “Mood”, but he did throw in a few of his older songs too.  I was patiently waiting and hoping to hear, “Beautiful Disaster”, my favorite song of his, from his 2007 album, “Indiana”, and it was my lucky night, because Jon performed an acoustic version of the song that made me fall in love with it all over again.

I can’t say enough great things about this guy.  He’s genuine on stage and creates music that I can best describe as magically beautiful.  Unfortunately for other fans around the globe, the remaining dates of his “Me & My Piano Tour” have been postponed due to the Coronavirus, but luckily for me and the other fans in attendance at the Waiting Room on March 11th, we got to experience his greatness.  

Jon McLaughlin

Striking Matches

All images © Joe DeSanti
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