Sunday, April 23, 2006


Yesterday was a day of brutal extremes. I suffered the biggest loss ever for a single day in my poker career. Twelve thousand dollars. Much of it was due to poor decision making and not following my own advice. I should have stopped very early in the session, I did not. I paid the price. Hopefully I learn from my mistake.

I got over it by attending one of the best concerts I have every been to. The Kokua Festival in Waikiki. I went to the first night of the festival a few nights ago in Maui and it was also a great show, but it didn't compare to this.

First off I got a seat in the 5th row dead center off of eBay. Best $250 I ever spent. I went alone (my Mom's flight got in after the show started) but sat with the people I bought the ticket from and after several rounds of drinks we were all best friends.

Show started with a band I am starting to like a lot, ALO. They've opened for Jack each time I've seen him and they are a great Santa Barbara surf band. Put on a good show. Jack always comes out to do a song with them to get the crowd going, so that makes it fun.

Next Paula Fuga put on a great show. I'd never heard of her before Maui but I am very impressed with her. She is a huge Hawaiin chic with an amazing deep voice. She's got great stage presence also. If you like R&B or Reggae (or a very cool mix of the two), checkout Paula Fuga.

Next Henry Kapono came on and I wasn't too impressed with him. Seemed like he should be doing cover tunes of Metallica songs or something. Old Hawaiin dude that loved making his electric guitar as loud as possible.

Then magic.I'd seen Ben Harper a few nights before in Maui, but his whole set was really subdued, I really think he was stoned out of his head. He didn't talk much to the crowd and sat in the chair the whole time and played songs on his signature small guitar he lays flat on his lap. All the songs were like wierd trippy slow acid tunes, like that song The End from the Doors. This set was much, much different. He was talking a lot to the crowd from the beginning, had a big acoustic guitar with him and had tons of energy. He rocked the house. He didn't play some of his more famous songs (I especially missed Diamonds on the Inside), but he didn't need to. He was on fire.

Next Willie Nelson came out with a massive band. Descent show. The crowd loved it and the 5,000 people in attendance must have smoked a pound of weed during his set, but I just don't like Willie Nelson all that much. I guess he's from Hawaii or something. They loved the guy.

Then Jack came out and it was raining a bit, crowd didn't care, he played Banana Pancakes and jumped right to 'Can't you see that it's just raining' the second it started raining. Jack played an amazing set, as always. This is the fourth time I've seen him, and each performance has been fantastic and totally different from the others. Oahu is his home turf and this is also the last date on his huge tour, and he says he's taking two years off now. You could tell he was happy to be home.

The best part of the show though, by far, was at the end when he did his encore. He brought Ben Harper onto the stage and they played Flake together. That is one of Jack's biggest hits and on the album Ben Harper is on the song, but how many times is one ever going to get to see them play it live? Simply amazing. The crowd went nuts with them together on stage and they played a few of Ben's songs. I am going to try very hard to find a live recording of that set. Phenomenal music, we were all very lucky to be there.

By the end of the night I'd forgotten all about the stiff loss I'd suffered and had a huge grin on my face. I'm a very lucky guy, despite one bad day of poker. I'll have it all back and more soon enough.

Thanks for reading, now get back to the tables!

Wild Bill