Waimea loves them some Tiffany. Some were dressed in bright neon fishnet fingerless gloves with matching glow-in-the-dark bracelets, miniskirts, while others did their hair to match trends from the late 1980s. These hardcore loyal fans came out last Monday to the Kahilu Theatre for the former 80s teen-pop sensation’s concert.
Tiffany was only nine when she started singing country but got her big break at fifteen when MTV and radio added her dance-pop cover of Tommy James & the Shondells’ “I Think We’re Alone Now” to their playlists. In heavy rotation, their effort pushed the album to the number one spot on Billboard’s album charts, making Tiffany the youngest female artist to top the chart with a debut album. That album went quadruple platinum in less than a year, and, to date, she has sold over 15 million albums.
Setting the way-back machine to present day, Tiffany now has a new album called Pieces of Me, and is on the road with a heavy tour schedule to promote it. Pieces of Me is the singer’s tenth album and it has a moody Stevie Nicks-feel. Her current forty-date fall tour covers Canada, the U.S. Mainland, and, thankfully, Waimea.
Tiffany’s 85-minute concert featured a hard-rockin’ four-piece band: Mark Alberici (lead guitar), Oliver Alberici (rhythm guitar), Patrick McIsaac (bass) and Cody Waggett (drums). Mark Alberci also acts as her tour manager and co-produced the current album. The Kahilu crowd cheered when he stepped into the spotlight for solos – all brilliant! He even tossed out the occasional guitar pick to a lucky few.
Tiffany wore an all-black outfit – leather miniskirt, a top with lace sleeves. Her red hair had streaks of blond and bright red highlights. She sang barefoot throughout the set, which featured eight songs from the new album, and the two gems that launched her career. Tiffany’s vocals, as you’d expect, have matured – more of a Melissa Ethridge quality. If you’d heard some of the new material on the radio without knowing it was Tiffany, you’d be pleasantly surprised. However, the singer’s former bubblegum popstar image might be hard to shed for new fans.
Taking a sip of water after two back-to-back hard rockers, Tiffany told the crowd, “It’s not what you expected, right?” The singer invited those in the back rows to come closer and fill in the gaps. “This is more of the rock concert experience we’re going for,” she added. The appreciative audience responded with loud cheers, and the pre-show announcements to “be in the moment” and “turn off your cellphones” was quickly abandoned. Several folks danced freely at the stage edge with their easy to spot bright neon attire. (See the cellphone videos at the end of this article.) Tiffany said this was her third visit to Hawaii and she appreciated the culture and new friends she was making here.
At one point during the show, Tiffany went out into the crowd to sing. As a spotlight followed her up the aisle, fans jumped up from their seats to grab a selfie and hug her. Tiffany later got a little more intimate with her following and sat on the edge of the stage while fans of all ages lined up for selfies and a quick peck on her cheek. This fan appreciation segment lasted for two songs. When Tiffany returned to center stage, she asked a stagehand for a towel, but before one could be delivered, a male fan took off his t-shirt and offered it up as a substitute.
The rowdiness continued right up to the end of the show. During the last number, a bold female fan decided to climb the staircase to the stage and hug Tiffany while the final guitar notes diminished. Repeated cries for a Hana Hou echoed throughout the auditorium, but Tiffany and band had left the stage and weren’t coming back. Done. Pau. As the house lights came up, and the Hana Hou’s continued, two female fans decided they’d try to find her backstage. Stage Manager Sam politely escorted them back to where they started.
I may not be Tiffany’s target demographic, but I’ll admit, after seeing this show, I’ve been converted.
Beautiful | Waste of Time | Pieces of Me | Worlds Away | Heaven | Heartbeat Away | Can’t Stop Falling | Storm | Could’ve Been | Starting Over | Open My Eyes | Butterfly | King of Lies | The Fall | I Saw Her Standing There (The Beatles cover) | I Think We’re Alone Now (Tommy James & the Shondells cover) | Lost Inside |
You can keep up with Tiffany’s tour and music via her website.
Steve Roby is a music journalist, an L.A. Times bestselling author, and originally from San Francisco. He’s been featured in the NY Times, Rolling Stone, and Billboard Magazine. Roby is also the Managing Editor of Big Island Music Magazine.
Photos/video: Steve Roby