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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Waikiki Shell, 2805 Monsarrat Avenue, Honolulu, HI


Capacity 8400

The Honolulu Memorial, (1925)
Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium
Lewis P. Hobart won the design competition for the World War I memorial with a natatorium and band shell. The Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium was constructed ocean-side in Kapiolani Park in the shadow of Diamond Head. It was designed to be a "living memorial" to the 102 servicemen from Hawaii who were killed in WWI. In the center of a long wall is an elaborate 20 foot-tall memorial archway toped by four stone eagles. The huge 40 by 100 meters tide fed saltwater pool is suitable for Olympic swimmers; bleachers for 6,500 face the pool and the ocean beyond. The facility fell into disrepair but underwent a $4.4million partial restoration and was rededicated Memorial Day, 2000. The pool itself was not repaired.(5)
Under construction 1954

Band shell constructed 1952-1956.(4)
Opened September, 1956 with Ernest Chang, a high school student, performing.(6)

With world-famous Diamond Head for a backdrop and Waikiki Beach just across the street, the Waikiki Shell is a unique venue for outdoor concerts and other large gatherings.

The architecture of the Waikiki Shell reflects the Polynesian cultural roots of Oahu. Shaped like an elegant seashell, the site offers excellent outdoor acoustics blended with a laid-back atmosphere.
This magnificent shell-shaped facility - with its acoustically sophisticated stage, is an ideal location for twilight concerts, featuring balmy skies, lush greenery and -- of course - the Entertainment. You'll find no other setting like this in the world!
The large stage, convenient work areas, dressing rooms, professional lighting, sound equipment and the unique setting, makes the "Shell" a most desirable facility in which to present an event.
The storied Kodak Hula Show was long a staple of the facility, beginning in 1937, showcasing a historical look at the islands through the beauty of the hula performed by Hawaiian resident dancers to traditional Hawaiian music.(3)

In July, 1960, Bobby Darin performed here.

Frank Sinatra had a fund-raising gig here on October 2, 1960, in support of the Kennedy-Johnson ticket.(2)


Canned Heat performed here on August 8, 1967.

Jimi Hendrix performed here on May30, 31 and a free show on June 1, 1969. Support act: Fat Mattress.
7,400 people attended and ticket sales grossed US $25,020.
His message was cut short by a faulty sound system, it lasted just 40 minutes.

Personal Recollections
Steve Lysen: "Everybody [I knew] took acid right before the concert. It's packed in there. And all of a sudden this full moon (I've never seen it so big), this hideous looking, full orange, full moon, came right over Diamond Head. And we're all looking at it, 'Woah! Look at that, looks just like an evil moon!' and stuff like that. Like you feel the presence of the devil.
"And all of a sudden he came out on stage and I think his first song was "Fire." [sic] I don't remember if it was the first one, but I remember it was in the first three... It was like an acid vacuum cleaner! Blowing everybody's mind so to speak and people couldn't handle it. I think I left after about the fourth or the fifth song [laughs]; I couldn't handle it. So what I heard from other people the next day, just after I left he left the stage and his promoter came out and said that Jimi would make up with a free concert on Sunday night."
Tom Hulett (concert promoter, Concerts West): "The audience was dead. They seemed stoned and gave no reaction. Jimi spoke to the crowd and excused himself, saying that he had to have this problem fixed. He went and got into his limousine. Tom Moffat[t] got on the microphone. Eric Barrett and Gerry Stickells ran around trying to fix the problem. I was getting nervous: we were sold out and all of a sudden nothing was happening.
"Then Stickells came up to me and said that Jimi didn't want to go back on. I told Stickells to keep people playing with the wires while I went out to the car and spoke with Jimi. Stickells and I must have tried for thirty minutes, but he was not going back on.
"Jimi said to tell everybody to come back [Sunday] night. He would more than make up for it then. I tried to explain that they were all here now and we had already torn their tickets in half, but I knew him too well. He wasn't going back on. Knowing this, we got ahold of the building manager, ran down to the old Honolulu arena used for wrestling matches, and picked up rolls of tickets.
"We made an announcement that the sound system couldn't be repaired and Jimi Hendrix wouldn't want to perform with substandard equipment ­ all of which was bullshit ­ and that if they all left quietly and picked up a ticket stub, they would be admitted to the [Sunday concert]... Everybody was pissed off. These people were all fucked up on drugs and little more than 1,000 picked up their stubs. The rest were yelling 'Fuck you.'".(1)(7)
Unknown date

May 24, 1974

Different posters for the same show on May 6, 1979

Jerry performed here on
5/12/90 Jerry Garcia Band
"Saw Jerry at the Hula Bowl in Honolulu and he wore Red T Shirt and Shorts. Show was pretty epic. We bought tickets at the box office day of show, sat dead center and were served drinks all show long by kind Hula Bowl Waitstaff. Tons of dosed US Navy Personel all over the place since they don't test for LSD."(7)

1.)^Glebbeek, Caesar, JIMI PLAYS HAWAII 1969: "You'll Forever Hear Surf Music...", UniVibes issue #36, August 2000,
2.)^Howard, John, Concentration Camps on the Home Front: Japanese Americans in the House, pg 262,
3.)^Champion, Rel, Waikiki Shell,
4.)^South, Melinda, Reinforced Concrete Thin Shell Sports Facilities, 2008-10-20,
5.)^Hobart, Phelps, Lewis Parsons Hobart Commissions,
6.)^Black, Jason, Ain't Got That Swing?, 2010-11,
7.)^ Kramer, Edward E. and McDermott, John, Hendrix: Setting The Record Straight, pp. 197-198.
8.)^Painted Mandolin,

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