March 06, 2011

Elton John show at the MACC

Like most technicians in the entertainment industry, the local Maui techs are a nefarious group of unique individuals. Somewhere between cowboys and pirates, they're thick-skinned, bruised and scarred, loud, gruff, and known to go wild on occasion. Here's my ol' buddy Mike who came to help load in the band gear. He enjoys annoying you all day long until you finally snap.

Summer was on the lighting crew and ran a follow spot for the show. Ever see a follow spot operator climb a spot tower in a dress?

Elton's Yamaha piano was uncovered and positioned downstage while the rest of the band gear was placed behind and plugged in.
Drummer Nigel Olssen has a beautiful flame coated DW drum kit with sub-kick extensions attached to the kick drums.
I also noticed that he had a mixing console on his riser that he personally uses to mix his own in-ear monitors. Propped up on the console he had an Oscar Mayer wiener mobile toy and a cute Ashley Force doll.

When the show began I wandered out to see how it looked from the two Grandma lighting consoles at the front-of-house. The Yokouchi Pavilion was bursting with color from the moving lights and led strips. As a smaller outdoor venue, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center offers a good close-up seat for nearly everyone in comparison to most concert stadiums on the mainland which are sometimes 10 times the size. And the weather is perfect.

I made my way through the crowd to see the pavilion at a 45 degree angle. The view was great and the IMAG video screens on each side showed the musicians up close. The glass roof glowed in various colors. The opening numbers energized the crowd with Funeral for a Friend leading into Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting.

Heading backstage I spent most of the show over on stage right and could watch Elton from behind as he played, which he did for nearly 3 hours straight. The audience blinders would wash over the people at the end of each song. All the conditions were right... weather, sound, lights, the place, the energy, and of course, the music.

Every once in a while he would stand, bow, walk around the stage or stand up on his piano bench, which just made the audience go nuts.

At the end of the show he hopped up and sat on the piano. As he slid himself off with open arms I snapped this picture of him with the adoring crowd cheering for a Hana Hou encore. What an amazing night that made the exhausting week all worth it...

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