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View Full Version : My review of Jake Shimabukuro's St. Paul show



AcousticTones
10-12-2015, 02:59 AM
Here are a few words or thoughts on last night's show in the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, MN (same theater that the Prairie Home Companion is recorded in - I believe Garrison Keillor has owned the theater since the 90's).

-Great sound
-Jake tone and dynamics are really at another level
-I was really taken by Jake's touch and feel on the instrument and how consistent his tone and volume were whether he was in first position or working the upper frets - He truly is a master of his instrument
-Jake truly seems to be grateful that he get's to do this for a living
-The duo setup (just Jake and a bass player) is truly ideal
-Wonderful energy and vibe was present through-out the entire audience
-Although we all know Jake is capable of keeping us at the end of our seats with his amazing technique he seemed very SONG and FEELING focused for the majority of the show - which was really enjoyable - It really was about the music and the passion behind the music rather than just a "shred-fest" (although he through in just enough of that to satisfy as well)
-The show was about 90 minutes with no lead off act... I think most of us could of handled at least another 30 minutes - I know it's a lot of work and energy, but I think a two hour show would have been ideal
-He spoke just enough! - For some reason I was expecting or assuming that he would talk more between songs, but many times he just goes from one tune to another, and I loved that, and then just spoke after every couple of tunes - It was just about perfectly paced based on that rather than just being song, long ramble, song, more rambling, etc. as I seen some artist do - It was really well done on that side of things
-Jake's bass player truly deserves some credit for doing a great job at complimenting both Jake and the music as a whole - You get to see a few times that he certainly has a lot more chops than this gig is allowing him to show, but be really plays what is right for each song rather than just playing to play - And he comes across as very humble and he continues to clap for Jake between each song - Was a very good pairing for Jake
-It was really nice to see Jake doing something different with While My Guitar Gently Weeps - No matter how great his take on this song is I was REALLY ready to see him expand on the versions or arrangements that we've all seen and/or heard thus far - And they did a great job taking that song into new directions and really making a nice jam out of it which was a really joy for me

All in all it was pretty darn close to a perfect show for me.

fretie
10-12-2015, 05:09 AM
I appreciate your detailed review!

You've certainly stoked my fire about seeing Jake in Bellingham on Oct 24th!

lizziep
10-12-2015, 06:03 AM
Very thorough review, thanks!

I saw Jake this past Saturday night performing with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. This was a really interesting concert from my perspective because I've never seen Jake perform with an orchestra. I loved getting to hear the combination of orchestra instruments with the ukulele, in particular I liked the xylophone with the uke and also the oboe with the uke. The orchestral arrangement for Jake's version of Bohemian Rhapsody was fantastic.

Ukejenny
10-12-2015, 06:12 AM
Do you happen to remember the name of the bass player? We saw Jake over a year ago and the bass was amped so high that it was distorting and totally covering the ukulele up. I'm wondering if it is the same bass player. In any event, I'm glad that the mix was done well.

Ukejenny
10-12-2015, 06:13 AM
Very thorough review, thanks!

I saw Jake this past Saturday night performing with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. This was a really interesting concert from my perspective because I've never seen Jake perform with an orchestra. I loved getting to hear the combination of orchestra instruments with the ukulele, in particular I liked the xylophone with the uke and also the oboe with the uke. The orchestral arrangement for Jake's version of Bohemian Rhapsody was fantastic.

That sounds amazing. I would have loved to see that.

TheBathBird
10-12-2015, 07:07 AM
Thanks for your review.

I saw Jake when he was in the UK recently, it was brilliant, I really hope he comes back! I agree that the bass player was excellent, I felt he added perfectly to Jake's performance.

kohanmike
10-12-2015, 07:20 AM
Do you happen to remember the name of the bass player? We saw Jake over a year ago and the bass was amped so high that it was distorting and totally covering the ukulele up. I'm wondering if it is the same bass player. In any event, I'm glad that the mix was done well.

I saw Jake in Ventura about 18 months ago and I felt the same, the bass player was too loud, but Jake was terrific.

sukie
10-12-2015, 08:14 AM
Do you happen to remember the name of the bass player? We saw Jake over a year ago and the bass was amped so high that it was distorting and totally covering the ukulele up. I'm wondering if it is the same bass player. In any event, I'm glad that the mix was done well.
I saw the St Paul show also. The bass player's name is Nolan.

Osprey
10-12-2015, 10:22 AM
Thanks for the review, I am going to see Jake in Nov in Panama City. Really looking forward to it

Brian1
10-12-2015, 11:15 AM
Aprox how many were in attendance ?

AcousticTones
10-12-2015, 11:24 AM
Aprox how many were in attendance ?

Not exactly sure what the theater holds. There were a few empty seat, but still very well attended and a nice vocal and appreciative audience for Jake to play to. He also then followed that up the next morning with a good half hour interview on the biggest ROCK radio station in the Twin Cities (KQRS Morning Show - they showed him tons of respect and ample amounts of awwww), and another interview later in the day with PBS. So Jake received some good attention here in MN.

Rocky M
10-12-2015, 02:53 PM
I was also at the concert in St Paul.

I enjoyed the performance a lot. He is an incredibly strong player, very musical, a showman, but also quite humble (at least from his stage banter, and every documentary and interview I have seen from him).

The bass player played on everything except the middle two pieces — Time After Time and Blue Roses, the later based on a dream a friend’s mother was having at the end of her life (did I get that right?) of blue rose petals falling from the sky. That song almost had me in tears.

He did some of his big hits and (I think) a lot of pieces from his new CD “Travels”.

Very wide range of techniques — great strumming, single line runs/solos, finger style playing, body percussion, string percussion, natural and artificial harmonics, even a little tapping.

He never got out chopsticks like James Hill does, but he did use a looper in small sections on a couple of pieces — single loops, and one time with a two- or three-part loop. He used a foot pedal in a couple of places — plucking and bringing up the volume, so you missed the initial attack, and another time for a vibrato effect. One of his rock-like solos used a distortion effect briefly.

But mostly it was straight uke (plugged in) plus bass player.

He stands, moves a bit, and does some slightly joking posturing — entertaining.

Before the encore he thanked everyone (some by name) of the Fitz staff, lighting, sound, even down to ushers and bar people, and the audience for coming and support with CD sales. He did a little message to the young people in the audience to follow their passion.

In mid September he was on tour in England and taped a 7 minute interview with the BBC. In addition to video snippet from "Travels", he does some short (compressed) versions of two of the numbers he played last night in this interview — While My Guitar Gently Weeps and at the end a 1:00 sample of his Bohemian Rhapsody

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQ5ZlOXpCb8&feature=youtu.be

ukuleleden
10-12-2015, 03:02 PM
Thanks for the review! I have tickets for an upcoming show on his schedule... Looking forward to seeing him in-person.

kohanmike
10-12-2015, 08:41 PM
Aprox how many were in attendance ?

The Ventura Theatre show I saw in Feb. 2014 holds 1200 and it was almost full.

VegasGeorge
10-13-2015, 12:19 AM
Comments here about Jake's bass player surprise me! I heard Jake and his bass player here in Vegas back in March. I thought the bass was very well controlled, and I never thought it interfered with Jake's sound. In fact, I remember straining to hear what the bass player was doing during several parts of the performance, which is as it should be.

flailingfingers
10-13-2015, 01:33 AM
Do you happen to remember the name of the bass player? We saw Jake over a year ago and the bass was amped so high that it was distorting and totally covering the ukulele up. I'm wondering if it is the same bass player. In any event, I'm glad that the mix was done well.

Same experience a couple of years ago in San Luis Obispo. Good to hear that the combo is working well now. Same bass player?

Ukejenny
10-13-2015, 09:12 AM
Comments here about Jake's bass player surprise me! I heard Jake and his bass player here in Vegas back in March. I thought the bass was very well controlled, and I never thought it interfered with Jake's sound. In fact, I remember straining to hear what the bass player was doing during several parts of the performance, which is as it should be.

I wish that had been the case, but it was the opposite. Maybe it was the venue, a very intimate little auditorium, or maybe it was where we sat, near the back and in the middle. But, it was so loud that we couldn't hear Jake at all during certain song sections, and even couldn't hear the bass well, because there was so much distortion. D

Just looked at Jake's Facebook page, and Nolan is not the bassist who performed with him in February of 2014, when we saw him, in the Knoxville area of Tennessee. https://www.facebook.com/jakeshimabukuromusic/photos/a.10151980153573430.1073741830.85172448429/10153664554988430/?type=3&theater

The man who performed in 2014 was a tall, light haired guy who seemed older.

Ukejenny
10-13-2015, 09:24 AM
I think this may be a photo of the guy who played bass at my concert. https://scontent-atl3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/t31.0-8/10700721_10152754102758430_8978531785162477210_o.j pg

sukie
10-13-2015, 10:37 AM
I think this may be a photo of the guy who played bass at my concert. https://scontent-atl3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/t31.0-8/10700721_10152754102758430_8978531785162477210_o.j pg
That's not Nolan, no.

I thought the addition of the bass was terrific. Last time I didn't think so. Might have been too loud. I actually saw Nolan twiddle with knobs and signal to guys off stage a couple times.

Steedy
10-13-2015, 06:50 PM
Okay, here's my impression of Jake's show in Franklin, TN on Thursday 13-Oct-2105: Wow, his playing is incredible! It's overwhelming the things he does on ukulele! This was the third time we've seen Jake perform at the Franklin Theatre and it's like he keeps getting better every time! His chops are amazing and it's clear he's continuing to push the ukulele to its limits and beyond! He played a mix of familiar stuff as well as several songs from his new album "Travels". But even his older pieces sounded fresh because he played them a bit differently, experimenting with different harmonies and chord voicings, and with more improvisation.

As for the bass player, his name is Nolan Verner and he's a Nashville musician. He and Jake play beautifully together, and it seems like they enjoy playing together a lot. Nolan's playing was very smooth and never overpowered Jake's ukulele. I thought the bass was a little too loud in a couple of places, but I don't like a lot of bass anyway, so I always think the bass is too loud. Overall, it blended very nicely with Jake's playing. I think adding the bass is good because it gives Jake a foundation to play on, and frees him up to experiment and improvise more. I also think adding the bass is bad, because I don't like bass, but that's just me. :p

After the show, Jake signed autographs and posed for pictures with a long line of folks, which was very nice of him. Here's a few pics:

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ukuleleden
11-04-2015, 11:10 AM
Jake's show is tomorrow night here in NY. For those UU members attending, enjoy!

fretie
11-04-2015, 01:45 PM
Just announced today...on FB...Jake's coming to Vancouver in Feb 2016! And guess who already has her ticket for that show?!

ukuleleden
11-04-2015, 02:14 PM
Excellent! Very smart to get your tickets as early as you can. I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's performance.

Ukulele Eddie
11-04-2015, 03:25 PM
Saw him in Malibu, CA last week and agree with your comments. My only additional comment is that I really enjoyed him doing a few songs on the baritone when I last saw him. I would love if he'd do that every show and even do a few on a soprano, too, to show the different voicings.