Elton John to christen new MACC pavilion
His ‘Greatest Hits Live’ concert set for Feb. 25
January 7, 2011 – By RICK CHATENEVER, Entertainment Editor
“Elton John is an icon in the music industry, and his music has stayed classic throughout the decades,” said center Chief Executive Officer and President Art Vento on Thursday.
Over his five-decade career, which includes a British knighthood, the piano-playing singer/ songwriter’s classic hits include “Your Song,” “Daniel,” “Rocket Man,” “Bennie and the Jets” and the proverbial many more. His “Candle in the Wind ’97” was the biggest-selling single of all time, with 37 million copies. With 35 gold and 25 platinum albums, he has sold more than 250 million records worldwide.
Presented by Concerts West, Tom Moffatt Productions and the MACC, the event will be the only Hawaii appearance for Sir Elton and his band, including Davey Johnstone on guitar, Bob Birch on bass, John Mahon on percussion, Nigel Olsson on drums and Kim Bullard on keyboards. It also will be John’s first performance on Maui, according to Vento.
John’s shows with the band are known for having audiences standing, dancing and singing along. The song list also includes selections from “The UNION,” his Grammy-nominated collaboration with Leon Russell.
“The Maui Arts & Cultural Center is ecstatic to have Elton John perform in the new Yokouchi Pavilion. It is an honor to add the MACC to the list of venues in which Elton John has performed during his incredible career,” Vento said.
Ticket prices are $77, $97, $152 and $252, with applicable fees added to each ticket. Tickets go on sale to MACC members at 10 a.m. Tuesday, continuing through noon Jan. 14. They go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Jan. 15.
“We highly encourage becoming a MACC member before tickets go on sale Tuesday,” said Box Office Manager Jason Carbajal.
The maximum number of tickets that can be purchased by an individual will be determined by the level of membership, from two to six. There also will be a six-ticket limit per customer when tickets go on sale to the general public.
Tickets and more information will be available from the MACC box office, online at mauiarts.org/tickets or by phone at 242-7469.
John’s appearance will be the first public event in the glass-roofed, $12.8 million pavilion that has transformed the outdoor space previously known as Yokouchi Founders Court. Occupying the same footprint as the previous stage, the capacity of the A&B Amphitheater remains the same, at around 5,000. Vento said fundraising for the pavilion project is ongoing and about $750,000 short of the amount needed.
Vento attributed booking an artist of John’s stature to fortuitous timing.
“We were just lucky,” he said. “We had been talking over a series of months. There was the possibility that Elton would come to Hawaii at the beginning of the year, and Maui had made the investment in upgrading the facility that would possibly be completed during that time frame. So we very aggressively pursued the idea. We kept in dialogue as we were building, and the timing became a realistic possibility. The fact that the pavilion is built and able to handle a show of this magnitude allowed for the discussions to continue.”
The center’s staff is inviting audiences to “celebrate a new beginning with the opening of the Yokouchi Pavilion,” which will bring state-of-the-art capabilities to producing outdoor shows.
Work on the pavilion has been going on over the last 20 months, generating about 155 jobs. Vento had called the project “a leap of faith” on the part of the MACC’s board of directors, embarking on major construction during a recession.
While he observed last summer that it had helped “put Maui back to work,” he also noted it was the worst of times to try to fundraise.
Now that the pavilion is complete, he pointed out, “The stage doesn’t stick out any further than it did before, and the rock wall at the back didn’t move. It’s just that there’s a real concert pavilion there now, able to accept shows with larger production capabilities.”
He saw the project as continuing the legacy of its namesake, Pundy Yokouchi, the visionary cultural trailblazer who shaped every aspect of the unique facility, generated support for it and oversaw its construction to fruition.
Likening it a “Field of Dreams” approach – if you build it, they will come – Vento described Yokouchi’s approach as “build it right, build it once.” It was a bold approach that resulted in putting Maui on the map of world culture.
“Why build the Castle Theater in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in the first place? And why invest $13 million in a 16-year-old facility?” Vento asked rhetorically.
“The complete package allows us to move forward for the next 16 years. We have to keep reinventing ourselves.”
* Rick Chatenever can be reached at scene@maui news.com.