My Generation, a two-hour presentation of sights and sounds from the 1960s, made its stage debut last night at the Kahilu Theatre in Waimea. Filled with elaborate costumes, a trippy light show, and even an aerialist, the performance was conceptualized by local rock bassist Blaine Ward.
Ward, originally from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, started playing guitar in high school and later passed on his passion to his sons Blade (guitar) and Dylan (drums). Yes, Dylan’s name was inspired by folk icon Bob Dylan. The trio began playing British Invasion era tunes, and the traveling family band was born.
In My Generation, Blaine Ward acts as a narrator and expresses his hope to establish a new connection of the past with today’s audiences. He talked about meeting Michelle Phillips, an original member of the Mamas & The Papas and learning the meaning behind “California Dreaming.” Ward explained the song was inspired about a dream of a world with no wars and where no one was hungry. “That encounter was an epiphany,” Ward revealed to the audience,“ and the inspiration for this show.”
Ward also spoke about meeting Sir Paul McCartney. Ward’s son Blade was battling lymphoma and got to meet the legend in 2010, thanks to a letter he wrote to the Make A Wish Foundation. McCartney told the Wards to practice every day, and as a result, they went to England and performed 23 shows on their “Tour of Gratitude.”
Today, Ward’s rock band Lucky Tongue plays Big Island venues like Huggos on the Rocks. In fact, that’s where he met and added two female singers/dancers to My Generation show – Marlena and Sabrina Jeffery. The rest of the ensemble is augmented with other Ward family members, like a version of the Partridge Family. Ireland and Gillian Ward sing and dance, and Chaitan Ward is the Production Manager.
Guitarist Robin Le Mesurier is from London, England, and adds a Keith Richards vibe to the band. He’s worked with many rock legends over the years including singer Johnny Hallyday, who was known as the “French Elvis.” The string section featured Linnea Minbiole (cello) and Ray Broggini (violin) who gave the show a Beatlesque sound. Waimea’s own Scotty Nelson also delivered that Sixties keyboard style to many tunes.
Early in the show, Ward made a brilliant connection between the Sixties philosophy of love, peace, and ecology and the Hawaiian heritage. “The Hawaiian people had long figured that out way before us,” Ward told the crowd. My Generation further emphasized the ecology movement through songs like Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” The Beatles’ “Mother Nature’s Son,” and The Guess Who’s “Share the Land.”
Ward’s setlist kept a good balance of familiar pop tunes, and hard rockers like “My Generation,” “Jumpin Jack Flash,” and the power-chord fav “You Really Got Me.” Professional aerialist Chantel Durelli complemented the show, much like Cirque du Soleil‘s The Beatles LOVE show in Las Vegas. Durelli had several jaw-dropping moments as she mastered the silks and trapeze high above the crowd in the second half of the show.
Lucky Tongue is off to England for a few pub dates and hopes to present My Generation at several mainland venues.
Time of the Season | Here Comes the Sun | Jumpin’ Jack Flash | Have You Ever Seen the Rain? | The Times They Are a-Changin’ | No Time | Happy Together | California Dreaming | Live for Today | My Generation | Turn! Turn! Turn! | Born on the Bayou |Mother Nature’s Son
All You Need Is Love | Lily | Woodstock | Share the Land | Imagine
You Really Got Me
Visit Lucky Tongue’s official website for the latest show info: https://www.luckytongue.com
All photos by Steve Roby.