Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Van & Jerry & Stephen & Bob by Jimmy

OK, I’ll say it: Saturday’s Jimmy Buffett concert was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Like the other 60-plus-year-old rockers still pulling the crowds in, Buffett’s “The Year of Still Here” tour didn’t disappoint.

I saw my first 12 years ago in Atlanta, my second two months later at Walnut Creek outside of Raleigh (although, I did break up with a girlfriend at the show), and even saw a triple bill of Alan Jackson, George Strait and Jimmy four years ago in Dallas. All told, I’ve probably seen 11 or 12 shows and this one is definitely in the top three.

The worst? Merriweather Post in ’98 or ‘99. The audio was out of sync and sounded like refried ass.

But enough of the bad stuff; on to the good. After years of study and experimentation, I think my friends and I have finally figured out the best way to get to the show. Two years ago we rented a camper. Not bad, especially since it came with its own bathroom and places to lie down but, at the end of the night, we had to drive it home ourselves.

Last year was a full-sized bus that, in addition to a bathroom, included a driver to get us to where we were going. The problem was it was like the daddy bear’s bed: a bit too big.

This year we nailed it: a party bus. Just the right size for 17 fans, $300 worth of beer and booze and a bag of chips (and cheeseburgers, of course). As my friend the Doc said, “This is justification for higher education.” I quite agree.

The party in the parking lot before hand was excellent. There was a bit of a preemptive buzz-kill when we pulled into a space next to a “Don’t Drink and Drive” sign, but our tail-gating neighbors had a large banner they were kind enough to throw over the offending message. (Not that we didn’t take it seriously. We just didn’t want to be reminded of it all night long.)

A couple of pictures from the tailgate:

The Doc, trying out his wife’s clip-on earring in a more, ahh…tender area…

Some guy in the parking lot. At least he’s honest…

A regulation Beer Pong table. Who knew they made these?

Even the bathrooms come with a theme…

And, finally, from inside the confines of Nissan Pavilion, Jimmy and friends on stage…

Yes, I know, Buffett falls into the love him or hate him category. Truth be told, by the end of the night sometimes all I want to listen to is some Metallica. But really, how many other concerts can you go to and hear songs by Van Morrison (Brown Eyed Girl); The Grateful Dead (Scarlet Begonias); Crosby, Stills & Nash (Southern Cross); and Bob Dylan (Rainy Day Women #12 and 35)?

For those of you interested, here’s the set list:

INTRO: "Hot Hot Hot"

Homemade Music
Tiki Bar is Open
Pencil Thin Mustache
It's Five O'clock Somewhere
Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes
Gypsies In The Palace
Jolly Mon Sing
Come Monday
Cheeseburger In Paradise
Brown Eyed Girl
One Particular Harbor


Scarlet Begonias
Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw
The Ass And The Hole (featuring Mac)
Son Of A Son Of A Sailor
Last Mango In Paris
Makin' Music For Money (featuring Nadirah)
School Boy Heart
A Pirate Looks At Forty
Far Side Of The World
Southern Cross

First Encore

Band Intros: Tina Gullickson, Nadirah Shakoor, Ralph MacDonald, Peter Mayer, Sonny Landreth, Mac McAnally, Doyle Grisham, Roger Guth, Jim Mayer, Robert Greenidge, John Lovell, Michael Utley

Rainy Day Women #12 and 35

Second Encore (just Jimmy)
Reggabilly Hill

For those of you who enjoy Buffett and missed the show, hopefully there’ll be a next year and many more to follow. For those of you who don’t, well, you’re one more person I don’t have to battle when I’m buying tickets next year.

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