Sunday, April 27, 2008

Watching the Master.

Tonight was the night Jake Shimabukuro visited the Twin Cities for the first time. The weather didn't quite cooperate as we greeted him with some light snow and temperature in the low 40's. (It's almost MAY! This is NUTS!) I found out about this concert 4-5 days ago and immediately went and got a couple of tickets for it. Being pretty late to the party, only the "cheap seats" were left. However, I was very excited at the prospects of witnessing the true superstar of ukulele in person.

When I arrived with my wife at the Dakota Restaurant & Jazz Club, I was a little surprised by how far back the seats I got were. I almost couldn't see the small stage. I was also surprised by the number of people who occupied the place. From what I could tell, it was sold out. We were there about 45 minutes early so we settled in and ordered some expensive dinner (I had some "Hawaiian Blue Marlin" for $24).

The show started around 7:10 or so and Jake started off playing an extended version of Let's Dance. Other songs he played included Me & Shirley T, Misty, Spain, Orange World, Dragon, In My Life, Time after Time, and of course, While My Guitar Gently Weeps. He only played a couple of songs that I have not heard or watched on Youtube before, but it was such an experience for me to be watching it live. Some of the sounds coming out of his ukulele are really incredible. I have no idea how he does some of the stuff that he does.

After the show, Jake and one of his assistants (or manager) stood just outside the restaurant meeting with the fans and selling some T-shirts and the In My Life CD. I got in line and when I made it to him, he immediately noticed my Ukulele Underground T-shirt. I was SO star-struck at that point I think I was shaking. I don't remember ever being this star-struck before. Anyway, I chatted briefly with him and told him I hope he comes back sometime. I got a picture taken with him and asked him to sign my cigar box uke. I'm not sure if he's seen a cigar box uke before, but he thought it was interesting. He is such a nice guy too. From talking to him and observing his interaction with other people, I feel that he's genuinely appreciative of the support from his fans.

So that's my first Jake Shimabukuro experience. I really felt very happy to be able to meet with him after the show. I mean, how often do you get to meet with your musical hero after watching the concert? I think Jake is able to do this because he's not a house hold name in the mainland United States. I wish him nothing but success in the future, but I also hope that his fans can continue to have that up close experience with him as long as possible.

A couple more pictures:

With Jake after the concert.

Jake signing my cigar box uke.

Jake's signature on the cigar box uke.


Phredd said...

Great review and awesome pics. Thank you. What a great experience!

Anonymous said...

"From talking to him and observing his interaction with other people, I feel that he's genuinely appreciative of the support from his fans."

Yep. Jake seems to be keeping it real. I was as much impressed with his kind and generous attitude as I was with his over-the-top chops.


rtl said...

No one else has said it, so I will... the signed cigar box... so jealous.

GX9901 said...

RTL: The cigar box was the perfect uke to get signed. It has my name on the soundhole label so it's pretty much going to be mine forever, it has a good spot for a signature, it's rugged, it sounds & plays great, and it wasn't really expensive. I hope the signature will stay on well because I'm still going to be playing it.

You should have a uke ready if he ever visits your neck of the woods. Heck, try to get Jake & James Hill's signature (I believe you're in Canada, right?) on the same uke. That would be awesome!

Paz said...

Great entry! This looks like a lot of fun, and I can't believe how prepared you were with the shirt and the uke.

And I love the idea of having something signed by a superstar that's not just a ceast and desist order.

rtl said...

Yeah, I'm in Ottawa. So James Hill is a possibility.

I think a Fluke would be great signed too... just hang that baby on the wall after that.

Which uke should I bring on my next trip to Oahu???

What's the maximum you'd spend on a ukulele case for your best uke?

If you could steal one of my ukes, which one would it be???

How curly do you like your koa? (preferably on a uke)

What's the maximum number of ukes a perfectly sane person should have???

Poll: How often do you play the ukulele???

Poll: Which guitar company's approach to ukes do you prefer???

Poll: What's your favorite type of headstock???

Poll: The new basic Collings concert uke (UC-1) sells for about $1k, your reaction is: