Best Buffett Shows

In case you aren't wired into the world of Jimmy Buffett as I am, he announced this week that he's going to slow down next year. Of course, for Jimmy, that might just mean fewer concerts but more books, CDs (I believe they just announced a new Christmas one coming), plane trips and surfing. I don't think the guy will ever "rest".

A few people waxed nostalgic about their love for Jimmy and I was reminded of three Buffett shows I've been to that were awesome in different ways.

Wasted Away Again In Margaritaville

The earliest show was when Jimmy and Mac came to open the Glendale Margaritaville (RIP) in April of 2008. It was an all day event. Mville gave the Arizona Parrot Head Club 500 free passes and invited a group of us for morning cocktails and some TV time on the local news. A parking lot tailgate followed and then they roped off the courtyard area across from the restaurant and put Jimmy and Mac on a stage in front of the Arena.

Can you tell I was a happy camper?

My favorite Muppet and Jimmy
It was a fantastic show. Just the two of them playing and talking and the crowd was so cool. You could mosey up to get close shots of the stage then mosey back. We hung out towards the back but the back was less than 100 feet away.

What was also fantastic is that we had friends from all over join us. Peeps came from Washington, Utah and California and from other cities outside of the Valley. We got to have a fun family reunion plus a show! And, we picked up some great new club members.

The highlight was when the sound system failed and the crowd just picked it up and sang all of the words. Jimmy just looked at Mac and shrugged like, "They don't even need us".

After the show, Jimmy hightailed it out but Mac stuck around. They whisked him through Margaritaville and it was all I could do not to follow. Somehow, I refrained. Who knew I had it in me?

On The Street

It's a perpetual question, "Is Jimmy going to play at Meeting of The Minds this year?" For those that don't know, that's our annual convention in Key West. Jimmy has been there on and off and, in 2011, he surprised us by playing at the Street Festival on Friday. It is what it sounds like. They close off the intersection Duval near Margaritaville, build a huge stage and play music all afternoon. 

It was a poorly held secret that Jimmy was going to play with the Coral Reefers (his band) so the street was PACKED! We had decent spot staked out early and had a good view of the stage.

Mr. Utley was in fine form.

Jimmy and Utley joking around, Mac having a great time.

The Man in the middle
What made this show so special, though, was that Jimmy came on stage and said, "We're not going to play anything recorded after 1975!" The crowd went nuts! What a great payoff for the "real" fans who know more than the tunes on Songs You Know By Heart. He stuck to it, too, for the whole set. For their encore, they did It's Five O'Clock Somewhere and I don't think anyone could complain about that deviation.

Holy cow, that was quite the crowd!
As the show wound down, the beers hit me and I knew I was going to be in need of the washroom. I worked my way back through the very tight crowd. So tight that the buttons off my lanyard were pulled off of me. Yikes. I used the facilities at Jack Flats and watched the end of the show from the back. There was no way I was going back in. It was still awesome.

Beach House Concert

Not at all a secret but a last minute reveal was the Jimmy was going to play at Meeting of The Minds again in 2015 but this time at our host hotel. That meant people had to be registered for convention to see him. Man, did we get a lot of last minute folks!

My friend Susan is a long time territory stakerouter (yeah, I made a new word) and she was lined up in front of the stage early Saturday morning even though the show wasn't scheduled until that night. My bestie, Jim, and I were not so dedicated. We still managed to get a good spot to see the stage by only heading out an hour or so before the show.

Well, somewhat good spot. It was actually awesome until two giants got in front of us. I felt worse for the two short ladies right next to us, though. At least I had a great view of Mac and that's what mattered.

Once again, Jimmy said the right thing to start the show. He talked about how difficult it was to do something worthy of his serious fans and announced that they came up with the idea of playing every song from an early album. When he said it was White Sport Coat and Pink Crustacean, I could not have been more thrilled. It's one of my all time favorites

I had it on cassette tape and I think I bought it from a gas station.
What made it extra special was that Jimmy talked about each song before they played it. He went in to the inspiration, who worked on the recording with him and usually threw in an anecdote or two. It was literally like being at a house concert.

At one point, most of the band went off the stage while Jimmy played. A song or two later, he was clearly expecting them to be back and called them out after looking around. It was hilarious watching Doyle Grisham scamper across the stage. 

Just Mac and Jimmy again. It was perfection.
(uncredited photo that I found online somewhere because I took no pictures - blame the giants)
It was a wonderful experience and I really appreciated that Jimmy did an exclusive show for the convention attendees. And, afterwards, I got to fist bump Doyle so that made it a perfect evening.

Well, there you have it. My top three. If I had to pick a top one, it would be the last one thanks to the storytelling. 

For the record, I still didn't follow Mac around after the show.

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