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Thread: You only live once: A Jake Shimabukuro in Colorado Springs recap

  1. #1

    Default You only live once: A Jake Shimabukuro in Colorado Springs recap

    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 I’m not getting any younger, so I jumped at the opportunity.

    The Stargazers theatre 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, “I need to get tickets to that concert,” and she ends up opening for him. Can’t 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 didn’t 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 Hi’ilawe, and included Over the Rainbow and What a Wonderful World. That’s 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 didn’t 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 I’m glad I didn’t bring the Kamaka, because I’m not sure I’m 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 Jake’s playing style was intimidating. Strangely enough, I don’t feel that way. I’m a relative beginner (and with zero musical background), and we’re at such different skill levels that I don’t even try to compare myself to him. His playing is definitely inspirational but not intimidating.

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

    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012


    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.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Irvine and San Jose, CA


    Cool story, Mike. Thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    PHX, AZ


    Great photo - and great almost-matching shirts!
    "If a lot of people play the ukulele, the world would be a better place to live."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012


    Very cool story, Mike! Thanks for sharing it and the pics!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Pickering, ON, Canada


    I enjoyed the story and the photo. I saw Jake in concert a couple years ago and it was a fantastic show.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Toronto , Canada


    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.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Honolulu, HI


    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.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2016


    Cool story and photos. Thanks for sharing with us.

    I have not seen Jake live yet, but it is on my bucket list.
    -Joe......Have uke, will travel...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2012


    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...
    Just Play

    Sopranos: 1st uke, Lanikai soprano LU-11 - Aquilas | 30's Martin style 0 - Martins
    Concerts: Kanile'a K-2 CP - Living Water | Islander AC-4 - Living Water | Waverly Street banjolele - Worth Browns
    Tenor: Martin Iz - Living Water low G
    UBass: Kala FS2 (fretless) - Pahoehoe | Kala Acacia - Pahoehoe

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