The Taku benefit show last Sunday, the 23rd, was a real work of art. First, the Spreckels Theater is a really wonderful venue for music — a really fine sounding room — comfortable seating for 500 or so — very intimate feeling and no bad seats.
The sound crew, Mike Bendonelli, Mooka from Prairie Sun and Don Lind from Golden State sound put on a great sounding show — these guys are the top pros in the North Bay, and they made it present without being harsh, and loud without being LOUD! They had a whole crew of volunteers helping — many thanks!
The bands were excellent, Black Market Blues Band a pleasant surprise — they kicked the show off with an encore set — then Eric Gales came on — he’s a hot new guitarist who plays the radical inverted guitar with drop tunings — rude sounds but a sweet guy. Volker is a true gentleman and ferocious blues guitarist — and what a songwriter too — really great.
Tuck and Patti blew the place apart, with totally soulful and connected performances that were absolutely riveting. Check out “Time After Time” on You Tube to get a hit of their style — who’d think that a guitar and a voice could be so compelling.
Robben Ford loves to play guitar, and shows it — his set was making us all smile — and to top it off, Boz Skaggs, salty, seasoned, never sounding better — a consummate pro.
The music was magic — and the real core organizers of the event, Ross Shafer and Mac Skinner were so organized and had planned so well that the evening flowed without a hitch. The silent auction was a well-orchestrated three-ring circus — and a lot of fun. Food from Ken of Hanna’s in Rohnert Park was beyond excellent — he is a sushi master.
Finally, for me, as the event M.C. — it was hard plugging the silent auction with Taku’s mom and wife in the front row – and more than once the sense of loss of such a deeply creative and personable man was felt full force.
I led a short ceremony of remembrance, in both English and Japanese, with Toru Nittono, (a friend and fellow guitar builder) and it was sweet, and emotional. Robert Sherman, a young luthier, wrote a letter to Taku, in shock upon hearing of his death — and with a little modification we used it as the spoken word part of our ceremony, before we went into silence — here it is:
Taku, we are heartbroken.
The time you spent here is a joy and a blessing to all of us.
Your guitars will sing for generations in the hands of those lucky enough to play them.
We are sad that your days are cut short. And, we are heartbroken for your wife and family.
Our words, and our music, are all we have to express our sorrow, and to express our appreciation for the level of craft and imagination, of perseverance and beauty that you attained.
We’re sad that your late nights no longer drift through the perfume of cut rosewood and ebony, maple and bone.
Those meditations are for we dreamers who live for the guitar.
Go in peace our brother, and know that there are many who miss you.
All of us, ripples in a pool
The night was magic, tears, and a rockin’ good time!