HiLIFE: BAYFEST 2008
STAR-BULLETIN FILE / 2006
Live makes a new statement
The alternative rockers warm up for an international tour with a concert here
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Last year, about 35,000 people picked BayFest 2007 as part of their holiday celebration, but the multiday event might bring in an even larger crowd this year. Officials estimate that attendance might top 40,000.
"In general, we think this one is going to be a really great one," said Michelle Asato of Marine Corps Community Services. "The national music acts are some of the best we've ever brought."
Undoubtedly, the concerts are a main attractions at BayFest, and each night they bring the event to a close along with a spectacular display of fireworks. This is in addition to the carnival rides, contests and displays available during the day.
This year, five national acts will play the JN Automotive Stage at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe: Little Big Town, Rodney Atkins, 3 Doors Down, Everclear and LIVE. Five local talents -- Keahiwai, Kawao, John Cruz, Buckz Boys and Willie K -- will also play at BayFest.
"This year we've sold the biggest number of tickets in advance ever," Asato said.
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COURTESY BAYFEST 2008
Singer and actor Billy Ray Cyrus, father of "Hannah Montana" star Miley Cyrus in real life, and in the show, performs Friday at Schofield.
Live hasn't granted many print interviews in its 22-year history as a band. A handful of interviews floating about in cyberspace date mostly back to the early '90s, when the band was a fresh-faced group of kids anticipating the release of a little ol' album called "Throwing Copper," a record that went on to become one of the megahits of the decade.
» Place: Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay
» Time: Noon to 1 a.m. Friday, noon to 1 a.m. Saturday and noon to midnight Sunday
» Tickets: Call (877) 750-4400. Advanced tickets through Ticketmaster: $24 for Friday concert; $29 for Saturday or Sunday; $48 for any two days; and $58 for three days. Advanced tickets through the military: $20 for one day and $50 for three days. At the gate: $35 for the Friday concert; $40 for Saturday or Sunday. $5 general admission, which does not include concerts.
All concerts are on the JN Automotive Stage, unless otherwise noted
» Friday: 3 p.m. Buckz Boys; 4 p.m. John Cruz; 5:30 p.m. Marine Forces Pacific Band; 7 p.m. Little Big Town; and 8:30 p.m. Rodney Atkins
» Saturday: 4:30 p.m. Keahiwai, Fest Tent; 6 p.m. Kawao; 7:30 p.m. Willie K; and 9 p.m. 3 Doors Down
» Sunday: 5:30 p.m. Marine Forces Pacific Band; 7 p.m. Everclear; and 8:30 p.m. Live
Billy Ray Cyrus on stage
On the other end of the island, Billy Ray Cyrus takes the stage at Schofield Barracks' 37th annual Fourth of July Celebration, running 10 a.m. to 10:50 p.m. Cyrus performs at 5 p.m. at Schofield's Sills Field. Free.
But in advance of their first appearance in Hawaii, frontman Ed Kowalczyk gave an e-mail interview a week and a half before their scheduled appearance.
Answering questions during some downtime at the Boston airport, the cerebral lead singer showed a lighter side, casually peppering his responses with smiley-face icons and text shortcuts. Outside his music -- which has produced eight albums and some 20 million records sold worldwide -- Kowalczyk isn't as serious on every level as his lyrics might indicate. But then perhaps he isn't as comfortable sharing concrete personal information outside of song.
More than anything, Kowalczyk looked forward to a little bit of relaxation in Hawaii, in between shows. "I have been to your beautiful state many times on vacation, but this will be our first performance there," he wrote.
The band performs on the last night of the three-day BayFest. Kowalczyk spent the previous weekend in Holland, performing at two sold-out shows in Amsterdam alongside his original bandmates: lead guitarist Chad Taylor, bassist Patrick Dahlheimer and drummer Chad Gracey.
The alternative rock group also recorded their first live DVD while in Holland, a nation that continues to be a strong supporter of the group. "Holland has always been an amazing place for Live," remarked Kowalczyk. "They are superloyal and energized about everything we do."
The dates in Holland and Hawaii are good practice for the band's upcoming tour. Live is scheduled to play six weeks of shows with Collective Soul and Blues Traveler through August and will continue to tour into the fall throughout the United States and Europe.
Now scattered about the country -- "lots of wedding rings and babies in this outfit" -- the foursome originated out of the small town of York, Penn. The bandmates met in middle school, but it wasn't until a few years later, under the name Public Affection, that the group released the album "Death of a Dictionary" on their own label, Action Front Records, the same year Kowalczyk graduated from high school.
The group eventually settled on the name of Live after evolving from Public Affection to Club Fungus and Body Odor Boys.
As Live, the boys' first release was 1991's "Mental Jewelry," which saw a bit of success on modern rock charts. But it was their second album, 1994's "Throwing Copper," that proved to be the band's breakthrough work, garnering Live much attention with singles such as "I Alone," "Selling the Drama" and "Lightning Crashes."
The average age of band members then? Twenty-two.
The album went on to sell more than 12 million copies, and "Throwing Copper" reached the No. 1 position on Billboard's Top 200 chart.
Stepping away from the anthem rock associated with "Throwing Copper," the group's follow-up albums include the No. 1 "Secret Samadhi" (1997), "The Distance to Here" (1999), "V" (2001), "Birds of Pray" (2003), "Awake: The best of Live" (2004) and "Songs from Black Mountain" (2006).
"Live has a changed a great deal since those early records," said Kowalczyk, who now lives in New York. "Namely, I think we've gotten a lot better as performers. ... My songs come from immersing myself in the present moment, the now. So there have been great ones that I wrote at 18 that are better than some of the stuff I've done in my 30s, and vice versa. I guess what I mean is that it's a timeless thing."
Among Kowalczyk's more recent endeavors for Live is its latest album, 2007's "Radiant Sea: A Collection of Bootleg Rarities and Two New Songs," on Action Front Records, the label the group started as teenagers.
Of his songwriting process, Kowalczyk said "the initial inspiration is mysterious and not something I can really express in words. ... I find that my best work happens when I'm not there to get in the way. And the really fun part is to watch those very moments be received by other people in a positive way."