The great Rev. Al Green did one of my favorite shows -- if not my favorite show -- ever in my Hawaii years not long after I moved here in 2002.
In 2010, he returned. It was hard not to think of that first time, a free Friday night show in Waikiki, at the corner of Saratoga and Kalakaua, in the rain... a surprise gig as part of the opening of a new block of high-end stores, anchored by a Chanel location. It was epic, as light rain came down and the few lucky people to be there caught his magical show.
Returning in 2010, a promoter had him inside the Blaisdell Arena, and as folks are apt to do these days, the gig was only the lower level, so it looked sort of odd. But it was ok; they knew what they were doing, and only expected that size crowd, but to spectators, it had that half-full feel. I remember that well.
After interviewing him on the phone, I got to briefly meet him just before he went on. We were back there with writer from the Star Bulletin Gary Chun and Donnalyn Dela Cruz, my fellow HPR airstaff member and former TV personality.
A long wait was going on as we stood not far from the stage, backstage, in this little holding pen, near where the Rev was due to be when he arrived. The opening band had long come and gone... the intermission had come and gone... the house lights were now out, and the place was dark and yelling for a while. We were still in the little holding pen, with Gary and Donnalyn, and no Al. It was strange and continued until there was much commotion by the roll-up grey metal doors nearby. An entourage approached, the crowd parted, and the elegantly dressed Man Of The Hour arrived. Ladies and Gentleman, Elvis Has Entered The Building. Seriously.
We were ushered over to him by the promoters people from Bamp Project, who did an outstanding job orchestrating the whole thing and bringing him to town. Nice work. Again, they didn't plan on a full house, but picked a brilliant, historic venue for the show (speaking of Elvis LOL).
Gary and Donnalyn grabbed a pic, or posed for one -- Donnalyn said they didn't actually get a pic -- ohh! -- and then Famous and I got a shot at the Rev.
We stepped up in the chaos, and maybe said aloha, nice to meet you, I'm Dave Lawrence, blah blah blah. He smiled that huge grin, my new Sony Ericcson c905a barely made it, as Al stood in the dark, with a lit up area behind us. Totally chaotic. Totally awkward. The Cybershoot was like... hello... what kind of f-ing condition is this?.... Luckily, it coughed up the pic you see here.
The Rev strolled away, and finally, the screaming, patient, mellow crowd got their soul.
I'm a media personality and radio broadcaster in Honolulu, Hawaii,
and news anchor with Hawaii Public Radio, the voice of NPR statewide in the islands. You can hear me most weekdays on the KHPR/statewide feed at http://hawaiipublicradio.org
on NPR's award-winning show All Things Considered.
I anchor local news and features, including many fun interviews with
major music acts.
Follow the HPR News link at http://hawaiipublicradio.org
for my Dave Lawrence Reports page, where you can hear extended interview segments with artists I've interviewed this year for HPR, including Ziggy Marley, Tower Of Power, filmmaker David Lynch, 311, Grateful
Dead's Bill Kreutzmann, comedian David Spade, Jack Johnson, Julio Iglesias, Boz Scaggs and many other acts.