March 27, 2013 by tvo320
Tonight was my first visit to the Brisbane Powerhouse and I couldn’t have chosen a better show to blow me away. Jake Shimabukuro is the ukulele virtuoso of our time and I had the privilege of watching him on the Australian leg of his Grand Ukulele Tour 2013. I came a few minutes early to pick-up my ticket at will call and found the merchandise table. One item that was so tempting was the ukulele USB drive! I decided to get a poster especially since they informed us that he would sign it after the show. SOLD!
I found my way to my sit and noticed that a large group of older men were sitting next to me. The crowd that Jake attracts is incredibly diverse. I saw young and old couples, the Brisbane Ukulele Club, and a baby in the crowd! He did start playing at the age of four so I guess some parents are already trying to inspire their child.
He’s not a singer which is partly what he credits for him becoming so masterful at the uke. He had to make the tunes known through his fingers and not his mouth. He became famous when a passerby in Central Park videotaped him playing George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and posted it on YouTube. I love how organic his stardom has come to be and he’s worked with some BIG names now including Yo Yo Ma and performed a duet with Bette Midler for Queen Elisabeth at the annual Variety Show.
He performed a few original pieces that he had just written. I loved the one he wrote for his son called the Gentle Mandolin which is a play on words as he would like for his son to grow up to be a gentleman. 🙂 He did famous covers of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”, and of his bread and butter “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
Afterwards, I was so fortunate to spend a few moments getting my poster signed, shaking his hand, and telling him about my Tennessee + Brisbane connection. He was so friendly and I loved his spirit. He calls the ukulele the instrument of peace because you just can’t help but be happy when playing or listening to it. I couldn’t agree more and I want to thank Jake for rejuvenating my spirit of playing. Thank you for your humbleness and creative musical genius. I’ll always remember that a song can be written with only three strings on the ukulele entitled “Missing Three.”