View Full Version : You only live once: A Jake Shimabukuro in Colorado Springs recap

Jerome collector
06-24-2017, 11:10 AM
Despairing that Jake Shimabukuro would ever tour in the center of the US, my wife and I drove 8.5 hours one-way to see him in Colorado Springs at the Stargazers Theatre last weekend. I have attended many concerts (rock primarily) over the years, but I have never driven anywhere near that distance (almost 600 miles) to see anyone in concert. But Iím not getting any younger, so I jumped at the opportunity.

The Stargazers theatre (http://www.stargazerstheatre.com/) is a wonderfully intimate venue in a very unusual dome-shaped building that was converted for live events from a 1969 movie theater. The sound system was surprisingly good. Jake was preceded by Audrey Bussanich, a very talented, young (19 years old!), local Colorado Springs girl, who played original compositions on keyboard. She told a funny story about meeting Jake at the NAMM convention earlier this year and learning that he was going to be in Colorado Springs. She said, ďI need to get tickets to that concert,Ē and she ends up opening for him. Canít get better tickets than that.

Jake was accompanied for most of the evening by Nolan Verner, who was playing on a borrowed electric bass. His bass ended up on the wrong vehicle the night before, after a show at Red Rocks. I didnít attempt to write down the set list, but from memory they played the following (not in order): While My Guitar Gently Weeps; Bohemian Rhapsody; Dragon; Piano Forte; 143; Celtic Tune, 6/8 (I think), and Tritone (all from Nashville Sessions, his latest); Ukulele 5-0; and Kawika. Jake was solo on a beautiful medley that started with Akaka Falls and Hiíilawe, and included Over the Rainbow and What a Wonderful World. Thatís not a complete list. He played for roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes, and it was a non-stop blast.

We learned through an email from the Stargazers theatre that Jake would be signing things after the show, so we decided to stick around. I had my first ukulele, a Kala KA-S, in the car to play while my wife was driving. My favorite ukulele is a Gold label Kamaka that I didnít want to subject to the drive. Anyway, I pulled the Kala out of the car after the concert and stood in line waiting for Jake. In the brief moments after he thanked us for coming to the concert, he signed my Kala and a copy of his Nashville Sessions CD, and then allowed my wife to take a picture of the two of us. And after waiting in line, I forgot to tell him he needs to do a show in Omaha! In retrospect, I think Iím glad I didnít bring the Kamaka, because Iím not sure Iím comfortable with the idea of a Sharpie signature on a vintage uke.

We had a nice time talking with other fans in line (both before and after the concert). I remember one person saying that Jakeís playing style was intimidating. Strangely enough, I donít feel that way. Iím a relative beginner (and with zero musical background), and weíre at such different skill levels that I donít even try to compare myself to him. His playing is definitely inspirational but not intimidating.

I don't know whether Iíd ever drive almost 9 hours to see another concert, but I donít for a minute regret doing it last weekend. You only live once.


06-24-2017, 03:08 PM
Jake comes my way at least once a year and I never miss the chance to hear him. I've seen him 8-10 times and each show is better than the one before.I got the chance to see him in concert last year with the Hartford Symphony. A very interesting show.
I got to hear and meet Ohta San last summer at the Honolulu Zoo. Along with that James Hill and Anne Janelle were in my neck of the woods this past February.
Jake, Ohta San and James all in one year! The Holy Trinity of Ukulele!
Glad that you got the chance to meet Jake. They don't come much nicer.

06-25-2017, 09:44 AM
Cool story, Mike. Thanks for sharing.

06-25-2017, 09:54 AM
Great photo - and great almost-matching shirts!

Chopped Liver
06-25-2017, 12:58 PM
Very cool story, Mike! Thanks for sharing it and the pics!

06-25-2017, 01:31 PM
I enjoyed the story and the photo. I saw Jake in concert a couple years ago and it was a fantastic show.

06-25-2017, 03:45 PM
I had twenty tickets to Jake's concert two years ago where I met downupdave ( Dave didn't know me then or I would have given him some tickets).
Friends who are not ukulele players were shock and have great respect of the instrument ever since. Unfortunately, Jake has not returned to our city since the last concert . I wish I had waited in line to have his autograph but the lady who works for me , her son was determined . After an hour wait, he got a selfie with him and autographed his book.
It was just as Dave said a fantastic show. Wish he would come back again in the near future.

06-25-2017, 07:43 PM
Quite a few years ago, two of my guitar-playing friends asked if I wanted to take ukulele lessons - they wanted to find others to split the cost of group lessons. Told them no cuz I didn't even have a uke. Turns out that their teacher was Jake! They enjoyed the lessons until he got too busy to teach. Now Jake is a worldwide star.

Joe King
06-25-2017, 09:42 PM
Cool story and photos. Thanks for sharing with us. :)

I have not seen Jake live yet, but it is on my bucket list. :music:

06-26-2017, 04:18 AM
I'm sure the trip was worthwhile, besides seeing Jake, you got to go to Colorado! He plays in the Phoenix area every couple years, but I have yet to make the trek across town, he usually plays in Mesa, which is at least 50 miles all the way through Phoenix! Aw, poor me...:shaka:

Jerome collector
06-29-2017, 02:29 PM
Thanks everyone for weighing in. I just got back from a five-day business trip to Huntsville, during which I went out to dinner with a coworker and his wife. The coworker had hinted that his wife was intrigued by ukuleles, but we never got around to talking about them during dinner, because we were with a larger group. She remembered to bring it up as they were dropping me off at my hotel, and we sat in the parking lot while I told them about my experience with Jake in Colorado Springs, as well as the joys of owning and playing an ukulele. I'll be going back to Huntsville in a couple of weeks, and she insisted I bring one of my ukuleles. Spreading the joy! I should also mention that the second thing I did after getting home (first was unpacking) was to get out the vintage Kamaka and play while watching the local news. I never get tired of the sound, even in my clumsy hands.