A memorable year of live music wraps-up the decade
For a small island, Maui has a big music scene.
Aerosmith, Sheryl Crow and Eddie Vedder played the Valley Isle last year; Willie Nelson and Mick Fleetwood traded Mainland arenas for island clubs; and Jimmy Buffett, Journey and Ziggy Marley filled in a few dates on the 2009 concert calender.
Those shows could be ranked for a traditional “best of” year-end list; but Maui No Ka ‘Oi Magazine’s Rhythm and Views scraped that idea. Instead, we’ve decided to blog about a few stand-out gigs that helped make Maui’s 2009 concert season one to remember.
The most high-profile event of the year—Aerosmith, Oct. 20th at the War Memorial Stadium–also drew one of the biggest island audiences ever.
Poster courtesy of Ryan Immegart
The size of the concert may have made it one of the most memorable of the year, but that doesn’t always equate to the most entertaining. Eddie Vedder‘s June 29 concert at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center’s Castle Theater arguable deserves that recognition.
The sold-out house was captivated by Vedder who performed a twenty nine -song set that included a number of Pearl Jam tunes and several songs from the solo album he recorded for the movie Into The Wild.
The Pearl Jam frontman also indulged fans with a selection of covers including fan favorites “Last Kiss” from the “No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees” compilation, and “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” from the I Am Sam soundtrack.
A solo concert by a compelling entertainer like Vedder can’t be beat. However, on Aug.
Poster courtesy of MySpace Secret Shows
25, Maui resident Willie Nelson—with a variety of support acts–came very close with his “MySpace Secret Show” at Charley’s Restaurant and Saloon in Paia.
Early in the day, fans lined-up around the building, battling intense summer sun for a chance to see Willie at his neighborhood bar. By the time local favorites Gail Swanson and Tom Conway opened the show, the 220-capacity venue was packed to the rafters.
Up next was crossover blues band Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real, followed by Seattle-based Band of Horses. Both acts delivered tight sets that were worthy of headlining status. Special guests Woody Harrelson and Marty Dread were icing on the cake.
The moment Willie walked on stage, the memory of the long, sweltering wait in line was vaporized. Standing close enough to touch, the country music icon lead his hand-picked band of Maui musicians through a collection of standards and hits. Once again, the 76-year-old road warrior proved he is worthy to be called a legend.
When a musician like Willie Nelson takes a step back from stadiums, arenas and amphitheaters to perform for a couple of hundred people up-close and personal, magic happens. Fortunately for locals and visitors alike, magic happens quite often on the island.
Outdoor gigs add a bright light to the 2009 concert season
The night of Sheryl Crow‘s April 28 show at the MACC’s temporary amphitheater, it was a stereotypical picturesque island evening.
Crow performed what seemed like all of her hits under a starry Maui sky, prompting huge smiles to spread across the audience like a stadium wave.
The rocker’s catchy songs and enthusiastic stage presence—experienced on a beautiful Maui evening—perfectly exemplified why going to a concert in Maui is no ka ‘oi (Hawaiian for “the best”). It also reminded cynical music fans why Crow shot to the head of the game in 1993 with her debut album, “Tuesday Night Music Club,” and stayed there.
The outdoor amphitheater at the MACC also was the site of the Steve Miller Band‘s Feb. 28 concert.
Miller’s gigs–with hits including “The Joker” and “Fly Like An Eagle”–are always a lot of fun for his fans. That specific show, however, always will be remembered because it was the last time Miller’s long time band-mate, harmonica legend Norton Buffalo, performed on the island.
Buffalo, who died from lung cancer on Oct. 30, was an astonishing harmonica player as well as a highly respected member of the musical community. Several Maui residents, including Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers and Gail Swanson, have had the pleasure of knowing and performing with the virtuoso.
Swanson told Rhythm and Views she could not take her eyes off Buffalo when he played the MACC nearly a year ago. She said he was a special musical soul who had “magic in his step” with “an almost surreal” talent and stage presence.
Maui’s live music fans were treated to some great shows last year. None, however, were more talked about—or more anticipated—than Aerosmith‘s October gig at the War Memorial.
The classic rock band had been scheduled to perform on the island in 2007 but canceled. Angry ticket-holders claimed the band unfairly cut the Maui show to play a more lucrative engagement. The fans filed a lawsuit and were victorious; Aerosmith was ordered to return to the island for a make-up date.
The night of the long-awaited gig, flamboyant frontman Steven Tyler and dynamic guitarist Joe Perry drove the band through an extended set that featured a mix of covers, album cuts and classic hits, including “Dream On,” “Walk This Way” and “Love In An Elevator.”
Despite the long-distance stadium viewing, Tyler’s occasional strained vocals–and the fact that it was a court-ordered show–the band’s ’09 concert in Maui always will be remembered for one singular, simple reason: it was Aerosmith, the epitome of a rock band.
With 2009’s concert fare ranging from classic rockers to country music legends, Maui capped the decade with something special for everyone. Thanks to all the fans, artists, promoters and venues that helped make ’09 an unforgettable year for concert-goers. Let’s do it again in 2010.