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Jake, Pt. 2

August 25, 2008

After witnessing a less than satisfactory Jake Shimabukuro performance in early July, we headed out to Hawaii Kai Town Center to catch another, hopefully better, free show. Jake’s play is never in question. He is a consummate professional with a heart of gold who gives 100% at every show. What was in question were the things beyond his control: namely, venue and organization.

This time, there was to be no disappointment. The folk of Hawaii Kai are a more discerning demographic, and their shopping centers know they have to step up their game to cater to local taste.

If the seating arrangements at the Hawaii Kai Town Center left a little to be desired, the setting was picture perfect. The pavilion where Jake played is right on an inlet from the ocean, and a few high rollers even hitched their boats to the dock to catch the sounds.

The early evening start time was a nice touch: two sets of music stretching over a couple of hours as the sun dipped toward the horizon. A Hawaiian dusk extra mellow.

And there was the ohana factor: this was truly a family affair. Not in the sense of being a G-rated gathering, but because Jake’s local friends and family were out in force. Jake played to the crowd, reminiscing about the way things were, talking about shared memories and forgotten places.

But the music was all his own. Infused with Hawaiian spirit, characterized by an astonishing diversity of styles and repertoire. There was the obligatory “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” but there was also just about every styling under the sun  – something for your granny and your alcoholic uncle.

Jake, true island original, in the homecoming performance he deserves.

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