Show Review: First Hawaiian Gig for Jason Isbell w/ Amanda Shires at Blaisdell Hall, Honolulu Amazed

Show Reviews

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The Blaisdell Concert Hall in Honolulu, Hawaii is a long way from Jason Isbell’s hometown upbringing in Alabama. Isbell, along with his wife Amanda Shires, arrived via Japan to perform their first ever concert in Hawaii.

Isbell may perhaps be one of the best songwriters of our time. His songs tell stories, paint pictures, and capture emotions. His best songs are relatable to anyone in the audience no matter their identity. Isbell’s songs about the disenfranchised populations of the South also ring true in Hawaii. The divide between the haves and have nots on these Islands is evident as soon as you walk out of your hotel.

The duo entertained the attentive audience for a bit over ninety minutes. Jason played a mixture of solo material and songs written for his band The 400 Unit. Highlights included “24 Frames,” “Hope The High Road,” “Alabama Pines,” “Stockholm,” and “Traveling Alone.” Audience members hung on to every word of “Elephant” and “If We Were Vampires.” At one point the duo also demonstrated their soloing skills during an impromptu bluegrass jam. Amanda Shires’ solo work was not forgotten. Her amazing voice was also showcased when she performed “Parking Lot Pirouette.”

The night was also not void of light hearted moments. The duo jokingly displayed their lack of familiarity with tropical fruit. After some time it was determined that the “orange colored fruit that looks kinda like a squash” was indeed a papaya. Jason also teased his wife’s fondness for The Grateful Dead, comparing his guitar tuning with the band’s music.
The marital and musical bond was most evident during the performance of “Cover Me Up,” which was saved for the last portion of their performance. The autobiographical love song for his wife was a perfect conclusion to the night. A night in which stories were shared by two masters of their craft.

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