2009 Year In Review: Part 1 — Concerts, Productions and Sporting Events

Prelude:  2009 was such a great year for me in many ways.  Crap economy not withstanding, 2009 was a year of great development, great triumph and great fun.  I’ll be recapping my year in a few posts.  Here is Part 1 I’ll discuss the awesome concerts, productions and sporting events I had a chance to catch throughout 2K9.

2009 in many ways was somewhat counter intuitive for me.  With the economy in the shitter my resolution and plan was to scale back on spending.  In some ways we were successful in this (no real huge splurges or excesses).  In other ways, namely the awesome entertainers that hit the islands in 2K9, we failed but we had a blast doing it.

For me, 2009 was in some ways a return to the past as major headliners of my childhood did shows here in Hawaii and we came out to see them.  Prior to 2009 I’d never really been to a concert by a major headliner but 2009 was determined to get my concert dollar and I for one wasn’t complaining.  Here’s a recap of some of the shows we saw.

Gloria Estefan Concert
Date:  Saturday January 17, 2009.
Venue:  Blaisdell Arena

Gloria Estefan Concert in Hawaii

January kicked off with Gloria Estefan returning to Hawai’i after well over a decade.  Being big fans The Mrs. and I weren’t about to miss this one and the concert didn’t disappoint as Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine rocked it big time with all their major hits.  Estefan sang a bunch of her lesser known tunes (at least to us anyway) as well (most notably the ones in Spanish) but all in all the concert was a blast and we had a great time!

Boyz II Men Concert
Date:  Saturday, February 24, 2009
Venue:  Blaisdell Arena

Boyz II Men

Valentine’s Day was extra special this year as Boyz II Men (just about EVERYONE’S favorite R&B/soul group of the 90s) hit town for a Valentine’s Day concert.  Boyz II Men was one of my absolute favorite bands as a teen (everyone from the 90s can probably relate to belting out Boyz II Men tunes) and them coming down for Valentine’s Day was a no-brainer.  The concert totally rocked as the Boyz ran through all their standards plus a run through Motown classics.  Celebrating couples lined the rafters at this event and the Boyz ran through two renditions of the classic “I’ll Make Love To You.” It was a GREAT Valentine’s, put it that way 😉

Journey Concert
Date:  Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Venue:  Blaisdell Arena

Journey

80’s rock legends Journey (or at least its current incarnation) hit Honolulu for 3 nights of concerts and we checked this show out with a bunch of friends.  Filipino vocalist Arnel Pineda (who took over lead vocals from Steve Perry a few years back) brought out all of Honolulu’s Filipino population for the three nights.  The concert did not disappoint as the band built steadily through the night up to a crescendo of all their mega hits for a rabid crowd and no one stopped believing 🙂

Ka Himeni ‘Ana
Date:  Saturday, September 5, 2009
Venue:  Hawai’i Theatre

Nate Wins Ka Himeni 'Ana

The annual Ka Himeni ‘Ana Hawaiian music competition took place in September.  The annual contest, which awards a recording contract to the best band to perform traditional Hawaiian music with unamplified instruments, is always a sure bet for the best in Hawaiian music.  I went out to support my good friend Mahealani Stillman and his band Kaiholu as they attempted to win the contest for the second year in a row.  The Akua was smiling that night and Mahealani and the men of Kaiholu did in fact win the contest and the contract.  Look for Kaiholu’s debut release coming soon!

Mega 80s and 90s Festival
Date:  Saturday, October 10, 2009
Venue:  Blaisdell Arena

Life could not get any better as four major acts from the 80s and 90s descended upon Honolulu to bring the past back to life for one night.  The show kicked major angle side side but I was a bit disappointed more folks didn’t come out (there was a UH football game that night competing with the show — we lost).  Nonetheless, everyone at the show had a blast as local favorites the Jets reunited for the first time in almost 20 years to steal the show.  Also on the bill, the Cover Girls, Ready for the World and the headlining En Vogue.

The Cover Girls
The Cover Girls

Ready for the World
Ready for the World

The Jets
The Jets

En Vogue
En Vogue

Aside from the awesome concerts to rock Honolulu, we also had a chance to take in some other great shows and productions.  Topping the list was WWE’s return to Honolulu.

WWE Smackdown/ECW House Show
Date:  Sunday, July 5, 2009
Venue:  Blaisdell Arena

CM Punk

CM Punk getting ready to defend the WWE Championship against Jeff Hardy

WWE put on an awesome card featuring the Smackdown/ECW brand.  I for one was glad to get the Smackdown brand for once as all the shows the WWE has put on in Hawaii the past several years featured the Raw brand.  Headlining the card was an awesome Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio match for the IC TItle.  Other great matches on the card featured CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy for the WWE Title and a triple threat match between Tommy Dreamer, Jack Swagger and Christian for the ECW Title.  The card also featured the Great Khali and Mark Henry in action.  It was my first time seeing both guys live and they are HUGE!!!

Other cool events I saw this year included:

Shaolin Monks at the Blaisdell Concert Hall
Chimagukru at the Hawaii Okinawan Center

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