Seeing stars in 2010
by Kawehi Haug
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
New Year's resolution No. 1: Hit every big show in 2010.
It's only the first day of the new year, and we already know where we'll be the night of Feb. 12. And at 8 p.m. on March 6? Sorry, we're booked.
A number of big-name out-of-town acts are coming the next few months to our little spot in paradise, and the string of can't-miss concerts starts with one of the biggest names of all: Rocket Man Elton John.
The Bespectacled One will perform two shows next week at the Blaisdell Arena. After that, it's just one big show — concerts, comedians and dance troupes, oh my! — after another. Bust out your calendar and pencil this stuff in.
ELTON JOHN WITH PERCUSSIONIST RAY COOPER
Of all of the shows happening this year, next week's pair of Elton John concerts easily are the biggest.
Yes, we can't wait for Bon Jovi either. And Al Green? We love him. But in terms of pure-mega-pop-star status, Sir Elton stands at the very top of the record-making food chain.
There's nothing we can say about John that hasn't been said already, but allow us to provide you with this handy primer on all things Elton — a kind of refresher course on the biggest thing to come to the Islands this year. Brush up on your Eltonology, then rush out to see him.
Name that rock star: Elton John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight. He changed his name to Elton Hercules John in 1967. His stage name is an homage to Bluesology saxophonist Elton Dean and blues singer Long John Baldry.
Knight in white satin (and other shiny fabrics): Elton John was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1995. He was also knighted, which is why he's now known as Sir Elton Hercules John.
Halls of fame: John and longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992. The duo also was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
Hit parade: In his 40-year career, John has sold more than 250 million albums.
His single "Candle in the Wind" in 1997 (a reissue of the original song released after the death of Princess Diana) sold more than 37 million copies, making it the best-selling single of all time.
He also has had more than 50 Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 U.S. albums, 56 Top 40 singles, 16 Top 10 singles and nine No. 1 hits. He's won five Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Tony Award.
Love and marriage and civil union: Elton John married Renate Blauel on Valentine's Day 1983, in Sydney, Australia. The marriage lasted four years before John renounced his heterosexuality and told the world what was suspected all along: He's gay.
On Dec. 21, 2005, John and his current partner, David Furnish, entered into a civil partnership.
Addictive behavior: John has battled addictions to alcohol and cocaine. He admitted struggling with bulimia in a 2002 interview with Larry King, and he's acknowledged that he has a spending problem, admitting in court that he once spent 30 million pounds (about $48 million) in less than two years.
AIDS aid: John is an outspoken supporter of many AIDS charities, and in 1992 founded his own charity, the Elton John AIDS Foundation. He was a close friend of American teen and HIV/AIDS poster child Ryan White and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, both of whom had AIDS and died from the disease.
Godfather knows best: John does not have any children of his own, but he has 10 godchildren, including John Lennon's and Yoko Ono's son Sean Ono Lennon and David and Victoria Beckham's two oldest sons.
All the world's a stage: John wrote the music for "Billy Elliot the Musical," a stage adaptation of the 2000 British film "Billy Elliot." The musical opened on Broadway in 2008, and has since won 10 Tony Awards.
Disney? Who said anything about Disney?: We're choosing to remember Elton John as the guy who gave us "Daniel," "Rocket Man," "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" and "Yellow Brick Road." "The Circle of Life"? Never heard of it.
Hana hou, Elton John: John has performed in the Islands a number of times over the years. The last time he was here was in 2001, and in 2000.
8 p.m. Jan. 6 and 9, Blaisdell Arena
$67-$157; www.ticketmaster.com; 800-745-3000
Mr. Huxtable himself will be appearing as Bill Cosby in a two-show engagement that will take fans back to the days when everyone knew exactly what "obie kaybee" meant.
Cosby, who is now 72 years old, will do two back-to-back shows in one action-packed night. Go ahead, Cos superfans; no one will notice if you show up for both.
6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Jan. 15, Blaisdell Concert Hall
$35-$65; www.ticketmaster.com; 800-745-3000
If there's one thing we know for sure, it's that Al Green's got SOUL. The man can melt a body with three notes from his magical mouth — and that's putting it mildly.
We're getting our groove back when he comes to town.
8 p.m. Jan. 23, Blaisdell Arena
$49.50-$99.50; www.ticketmaster.com; 800-745-3000
Our lives would have been so different (read: way worse) if we'd never been introduced to Tommy and Gina. Admit it. You can't hear "Livin' on a Prayer" without stopping to sing along, either. Why? Because it's awesome.
The New Jersey boys will make a stop in Honolulu as part of their current "The Circle" tour, just in time for Valentine's Day. A gift of an evening with Jon Bon Jovi will go a long, long way, gentlemen. We're just saying ...
7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 and 12, Blaisdell Arena
$55-$125; www.ticketmaster.com; 800-745-3000
When a guy tells you he's down to his last cry, we'd normally suggest turning, running and screaming. But if he sings it in a silky, buttery voice that makes your breath catch in your throat, we all know we're not going anywhere.
Brian McKnight is the kind of singer who makes some of us blush and the rest of us wish we could be him. He's coming for one night only: on Valentine's Day, of course.
7:30 p.m. Feb. 14, Blaisdell Arena
$45-$125; www.ticketmaster.com; 800-745-3000
The Used, on the heels of its new album "Artwork," will play Pipeline next Friday, and if the rumors can be believed, the Utah band will bring the house down.
8 p.m. Jan. 8, Pipeline Café
$30 ($60 VIP); www.groovetickets.com; 877-714-7668
Hikaru Utada, known by her stage name Utada, is huge in Japan. Beyoncé huge. Mariah Carey huge. Rihanna huge.
Three of her five Japanese studio albums are in Japan's top 10 best-selling albums of all time, so it's no wonder her Web site touts her as "one of the biggest pop stars in the universe." The UNIVERSE. That's huge.
The Japanese-American pop singer has a big and loyal following in Hawai'i. As a matter of fact, her one-night-only show is already sold out.
8 p.m. Jan. 15, Pipeline Café
THE ALL-NEW 2010 SHANGHAI CIRCUS
What would the year in entertainment be without a visit from the Shanghai Circus? We love this troupe of performing acrobats so much, we think they should just be kama'āina, already.
And no matter how often we see the Shanghai Circus, we never get used to the incredible talent.
7:30 p.m. Jan. 15, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 16-17, Hawaii Theatre
$22.50-$37.50; www.hawaiitheatre.com; 528-0506
Hip-hop artist Brother Ali will make a stop in Honolulu in support of his recent album, "Us."
Ali hit the big time with his critically acclaimed 2007 album "The Undisputed Truth," which launched him to the forefront of the hip-hop scene and had Rolling Stone magazine calling him one of the new artists to watch of 2007.
8 p.m. Jan. 22, Pipeline Café
$25 ($50 VIP); www.groovetickets.com; 877-714-7668
Sometimes an ensemble artist and sometimes a solo artist, Andrew Bird is one of those musicians who other indie-folk musicians love to play with.
In addition to having released five solo albums, Bird has played with the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Bowl of Fire (his own ensemble) and Kevin O'Donnell's Quality Six.
Bird is a wildly talented composer and musician (he plays the violin, guitar, mandolin and the glockenspiel), and often reworks and reinvents his own songs during concerts, which means seeing him live is a can't-miss.
8 p.m. Feb. 6, Pipeline Café
$25 ($50 VIP); www.groovetickets.com; 877-714-7668
New Zealand dance troupe Black Grace combines modern dance with traditional Maori cultural dance to create a singular spectacle of dance that, if we do say so ourselves, is absolutely unforgettable. The dance company has performed on the island a number of times, and we go every time.
8 p.m. Feb. 6, Leeward Community College Theatre
$20-$30 (tickets must be purchased in advance); www.etickethawaii.com; 944-2697
It's been awhile since we've sung along with the American Hasidic Jewish reggae sensation known as Matisyahu, but we're ready and waiting to join in with "King Without a Crown."
Matisyahu's 2006 sophomore album, "Youth," was certified gold and made him a legitimate reggae star. In 2006, Billboard magazine named him the top reggae artists of the year.
8 p.m. Feb. 25, Pipeline Café
$29 ($65 VIP); www.groovetickets.com; 877-714-7668
REEL BIG FISH
The ska punk band from Huntington Beach, Calif., is a favorite with local audiences, and the guys of Reel Big Fish will no doubt be received warmly (as they always are) when they return to Pipeline in March.
With seven studio albums under their belts — the most recent release is 2009's "Fame, Fortune and Fornication" — RBF are stage veterans who know how to rock a crowd. Trust us.
7 p.m. March 5, Pipeline Café
$30.83 ($57.08 VIP); www.groovetickets.com, 877-714-7668
Florida rockers Shinedown bring the melodic hard rock (think Trapt or Crossfade) madness to Pipeline Café to the delight of all the people who won't show their faces at the hipster-indie shows (see the Andrew Bird paragraph).
8 p.m. March 6, Pipeline Café
$30 ($60 VIP); www.groovetickets.com, 877-714-7668