Night of the Living Parrothead

Night of the Living Parrothead

by JasonBryan / Nov 03, 2015 / 0 comments
Thursday, 22 October 2015

It’s close enough to Halloween, that I can get away with that right? Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers brought their Caribbean vibe to the Hollywood Bowl last week. Buffett and the Coral Reefers are the whitest haired group of old fogies I’ve ever scene take the stage, they make the average age of the Rolling Stones touring band look like young bucks. Buffett was all smiles though, his biggest complaint was that his previous show in Albuquerque was cold enough he had to put on socks and shoes for the first time on stage in decades. The jumbo-tron screen panned down to show him much more comfortable in his bare feet on the Hollywood Bowl stage.

His fans are affectionately referred to as Parrotheads, and the venue was packed with Hawaiian-shirt-Parrot-hat-wearing fans. Not to mention the people with Cheeseburger hats, Shark hats, shark fin headbands, captain hats, and leis tied around their heads. Fans ages 10 – 80 were all ready to join the wacky shirt, crazy hat party. It was obvious the fans dressed for the occasion were not at their first Buffett gig.

This show followed suit with most of the tours I’ve seen this summer and opened with a video presentation. It’s a gimmick that I don’t think all the bands are using right. I like it as a warning that the show is starting, it gives people time to get to their seats. At this, and many of the shows I’ve seen recently, they play a song by the band that you would rather hear be played by the band. In this case it was Workin’ n’ Playin’, which is the tour name and a song he played later in the show. I don’t like it when these videos are playing a song of the band, it says to me I’m either not going to hear that song, or that I’m going to hear it twice. Maybe next summer this new fad in big tours will evolve.

Buffett played his biggest hits sprinkled throughout the show, with fans eager for their participation in songs like Fins and Margaritaville. He actually played a lot of his big hits earlier in the show than one would have expected. He even squeezed in his duet with Alan Jackson 5 O’clock Somewhere.

Buffet did a really good job of personalizing aspects of his show to the local venue. Volcano was preceded by jokes about an eruption in Catalina. He changed the line in Come Monday from “I spent four lonely days in the brown LA haze” to “I spent tropical days in this el nino haze.” He managed to slip Hollywood into the location lyrics a few times.

As I’ve said in nearly every review, I love a good cover song. Jimmy Buffett clearly does too. He covered CSN’s Southern Cross, Grateful Dead’s Scarlet Begonias, Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl in which I really enjoyed with the calypso sound of the steel drums, Back Where I Come From made famous by Kenny Chesney but actually written by the Coral Reefers lead guitar player Mac McAnally, who also did a solo performance of Duane Allman’s Little Martha which showed just how good of a guitarist he was, and how he is an 8 time CMA musician of the year.

When I was younger, for reasons I no longer remember, I kept not seeing Buffett when he came to town, and I repeatedly heard stories of my friends being so drunk they spent the show in the paddy wagon. It wasn’t quite that rowdy at the Hollywood Bowl last night but I did see more than a few old timers using the buddy system to keep each other walking upright.

Buffet’s fun time beach music has stood the test of time and a lot of it has to do with his ever-smiling stage presence. He’s a man who lives the life he preaches, and its evident in the longevity of his career. Like he sings, a change in latitude is all you need to change your attitude.

Rating out of 11: