To those who are Jimmy Buffett fans or Parrotheads, and even to those who are not, a Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band concert is a once in a lifetime thing not to be missed. They are not just concerts. It is an event.
Most concerts begin at about 8 pm. Not a Buffett event. It starts as soon as the officials open the gates, usually about 11am on the day of the concert. The Parrotheads flood in with their cars sporting fins on the roofs and “Buffett or Bust” and “Follow us to Margaritaville” signs smeared on windows. You can spot them coming with their Hawaiian shirts, leis, coconuts and every array of parrot hued outfits and hats that could be imagined in a tropical bird and cheeseburger filled caribbean dream. The pop-up tents, grills, blenders, and inflatable palm trees and other inflatable items decorate each tailgate space with individual ideas of island paradise in a parking lot. Buffett music wafts through the lots and a sea of Parrotheads and Pirates float around the crowd, or island to island, enjoying the company and cheeseburgers of neighbors washed down with an assortment of inventive and tropical drinks.
When the venue opened at about 7 in the evening the party was in full swing. This no small party by any means. The Xfinity center holds about 19,900 people so you get the idea of how many grass skirt wearing wahines were mingling with the land sharks, some who were also wearing coconuts, throughout the day. If you are going to take in a Jimmy Buffett concert make sure to arrive early and enjoy the pre show in the parking lot. It’s a friendly crowd just wanting to unwind and live for an afternoon on island time.
The Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA or as it is still fondly know as “Great Woods” is a New England Parrothead staple festival. It draws fans who have come there for so long they have brought their children and now their children’s children, called “Parakeets” for their introductions to the Parrothead life.
Now on to the concert itself. The Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band part of it. Buffett and eleven top notch musicians and singers who make up the Coral Reefer Band took the stage and the crowd went wild. The conch shell horn sounded the beginning. Buffet led in with “SummerZcool”. The audience was on their feet singing along as he went right into “We Are The People Our Parents Warned Us About”. Beach balls flew across the crowd with a few landing on the stage and kicked about by the barefooted Buffett. I don’t think many ever sat down for the rest of the concert.
Buffett played “Grapefruit – Juicy Fruit” followed by “Son of a Sailor” with beautifully sung solo by Nadirah Shakoor. These songs are played so often the whole band could probably do them in their sleep and still pull it off perfectly. Buffett then changed the tone to a more bluegrass style and they brought out the mandolin and accordion for “Gypsies in the Palace” which then led into the “Take It Easy” cover in tribute to the late Glenn Frey of the Eagles.
Mac McAnally took over Alan Jackson’s part in the duet of the cover of Jackson’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”. They then slowed things down a bit for “Come Monday” and “Meet Me in Memphis”. Bass player Jim Mayer took the lead on “I Don’t Know and I Don’t Care” with the chorus of “Spicoli’s Theme” added in from the song Buffett wrote for the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
At the opening note of “Fins” played by Michael Utley on the keyboard the audience immediately threw their arms over their heads to create fins. Buffett led the audience pointing their fins to the left and fins to the right. He laughed with the crowd and did his own land shark bites from the stage. You would never tell he is turning 70 years old this year. He seemed to draw from some fountain of youth he has found as he bounced barefoot across the stage.
They did an a acoustic version of the song “Delaney Talks to Statues”, the Margaritaville Door Number Three pick of the week. The Door Number Three pick is an opportunity for the fans on the Margaritaville website to choose a song they would like performed live from list of songs that aren’t performed on a regular basis. He does it to change things up because with 27 albums there are always songs many want to see performed. This gives Buffet a chance to showcase the most popular requests.
Of course no Buffett concert is not complete without the standards “Margaritaville”, “Changes in Latitudes” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, all on the must play list or the evening would not feel complete.
The crowd roared as Buffett and the Coral Reefers returned to the stage for the encore with Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” and then “One Particular Harbor” The evening ended with a solo acoustic version of “Last Mango In Paris”.
The entire day was fantastic. They put on a great show with contagious enthusiasm. It was a perfect evening for a summertime island getaway. I would definitely go again.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About
Son of a Son of a Sailor
It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (Alan Jackson cover)
Meet Me in Memphis
Love and Luck
I Don’t Know and I Don’t Care
I Don’t Know (Spicoli’s Theme)
(Only the chorus lyrics are sung)
Quietly Making Noise
Delaney Talks to Statues
Gypsies in the Palace
Take It Easy (Eagles cover)
Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
Jolly Mon Sing
Cheeseburger in Paradise
A Pirate Looks at Forty
Southern Cross (Crosby, Stills & Nash cover)
Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison cover)
One Particular Harbour
Last Mango in Paris