On July 1st-3rd, 1983, Randy returned to Nebraska for a series of hometown concerts at the Oregon Trail Lounge in Gering. It was the first time he had performed in the area since 1970, before his success with the Eagles.1
Ads for the Oregon Trail Lounge shows. Opening for Randy were his former band, The Dynamics, and another local band, Cody Road.
Randy brought along a new band for the Gering concerts, except for keyboardist Sterling Smith (not pictured), who had been with him since 1980.
The Randy Meisner Band
L-R: Ovid Stevens (bass), Randy Meisner, Stan Kipper (drums), and Jim Johnson (guitar).
Below is a preview for the show from the Scottsbluff Star-Herald. It includes portions of an interview with Randy by David Ostdiek, in which he discussed his desire to perform in his hometown again, as well as plans for a fourth solo album (which never materialized).
For each of the Oregon Trails shows, Nineteen-year-old, Dana Meisner, Randy’s eldest son with his first wife, Jennifer, filled in on drums for three songs. At the time, Dana was playing drums in a local band called 8-Ball. In this ad for the band from 1980, Dana is at bottom left. See a photo of Randy wearing an 8-Ball shirt here. The band often practiced in the basement of Randy’s home in Mitchell, Nebraska, which had a state-of-the-art studio.
Below: Dana on drums at the “OT,” July 1983. According to his mom, he can also “sing just like his father.”
More photos of Dana performing with his dad’s band. Photos by Jennifer Meisner.
David Ostdiek of the Scottsbluff Star-Herald interviewed Randy once again during a sound check before Friday night’s show. He told Ostdiek he’d always wanted to play in his hometown. After twenty years of being in the music business, he was still enthusiastic about live performances: “I feel 37 in the mornings (his age at the time), but 17 when I’m on the stage.” He also shared his thoughts on songwriting: “You experience a lot of pain to write a lot of songs. It’s sad, but that’s the way a musician’s life is.”
Jennifer Meisner shared the following photos of one of the Gering shows, taken by the late Tom Nuesca, a local photographer and family friend:
Randy’s daughter, Heather Leigh, recalled that her Grandma and Grandpa Meisner entertained the band at a backyard picnic at their home:
“We had a picnic in Grandma and Grandpa Meisner’s backyard with all Dad’s band members. They were taken aback by it. Just were overwhelmed by how warm everyone was. I distinctly remember them gushing about the home-cooked German food and BBQ. And going on about what a wonderful time they all had.”
In a statement in the Scottsbluff Star-Herald (July 24, 1983), Randy thanked his hometown community, plus friends and family, for making his homecoming a success:
This three-night stint at the Oregon Trail Lounge was one of two concert appearances in the area that summer. Following the Gering shows, Randy played one gig at the Turn Of The Century in Denver on July 6th. This would be his last concert of 1983. Except for a couple of small, local appearances in Nebraska, including entertaining at his high school reunion in Scottsbluff in August 1984, Randy seemingly disappeared from the stage for the next two years, reemerging with the group, Black Tie, in September 1985.
1The last time Randy performed in Scottsbluff was in 1970 with his band, Goldrush. Gering and Scottsbluff are both part of Scotts Bluff County. Gering is the county seat.