Sunday, October 23, 2011

Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band, MGM Garden Theater, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 15, 2011

Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band
MGM Garden Theater, Las Vegas, Nevada
October 15, 2011

This was no ordinary concert.  It wasn’t even an event or a “happening”.  It was a total multi-sensory, “you’ve got to see it to believe it” experience!  The evening started early.   We decided to stop by Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville restaurant for dinner before the concert.  Apparently about 20,000 other people had the same idea.  In celebration of the opening of the new “Margaritaville Casino,” the adjacent street was closed and there was a giant block party.  People had been partying there for quite some time.  There was a band, concession stands, bars and an amazing array of Parrot Heads in every imaginable costume.  I felt pretty underdressed in a mere tropical print shirt and shorts, but we tried our best to “blend.”  The centerpiece of this celebration of all things Buffet was “Lucky Rita” an enormous margarita, mixed over the preceding several days.  The purpose (successful) of concocting “Lucky Rita” was to set the Guinness Book of World Records record for the world’s largest margarita.

This “frozen concoction of which I speak” started with 2125 gallons of Margaritaville Gold Tequila and 708 gallons of Triple Sec.  They were selling margaritas for $38 per souvenir blender full.  We opted for a couple of Land Shark beers. 

             We realized that we would never get into the restaurant with enough time to get to the show, so we began our walk up the Strip, stopping in the Paris Hotel and Casino for dinner.  They had a wonderful “Recession Special” with an all-inclusive dinner (including a glass of wine) for $25.95 each.  It was a very good meal and by far the best deal we found in Las Vegas.

            Then it was on the MGM Grand Garden Theater.  We joined a procession of very intoxicated people as we meandered through the casino, most of the crowd regaled in Parrot Head or Cheeseburger hats, flowered leis, shark costumes and tropical attire.  This was a sight to behold.  This procession drew curious looks from the casino patrons, who were, at least momentarily, distracted from pulling levers on slot machines, tossing dice and drawing cards. 

            The crowd was happily drunk.  We didn’t really find anyone obnoxious, belligerent or unruly (well, at least not until the concert was over.)  The crowd was almost as much fun to watch as Jimmy Buffet.  There were all ages present, most in some sort of costume.  By the end of the show, a lot these folks were having a hard time navigating the stairs. 

            It was the second time we had seen Jimmy Buffett, the first time since 1981.  Jimmy looks more like Joe Biden now than the curly-haired troubadour of the 1970s and 80s, but he can still put on a terrific show.  He is the consummate entertainer, peppering the time between songs with banter and quips.  The set list included many of the same songs as the 1981 show and the crowd very happily sang along with all of the lyrics.  Highlights were “Brown Eyed Girl”, “Margaritaville” and “A Pirate Looks at Forty.”  Two recent songs which were recorded as collaborations with country artists also brought the fans to their feet: “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” (recorded with Alan Jackson) and “Knee Deep” (recorded with The Zac Brown Band.)  The show finale began with the theme from “Jaws” and the whole crowd started the “Fins to the Left, Fins to the Right” dance.  The encore began with a rousing rendition of “Viva Las Vegas”, continued with a very good version of Stephen Stills’ “Southern Cross” and an acoustic solo performance by Jimmy of “Tin Cup Chalice.”  A very satisfied crowd shuffled and stumbled out to the strip or, in our case, to the monorail train having been part of something special.


The Wino And I Know
Brown Eyed Girl
It’s Midnight And I’m Not Famous Yet
Pencil Thin Mustache
Off To See The Lizard
It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere
Life Is Just A Tire Swing
Son Of A Son Of A Sailor
Come Monday
Why Don’t We Get Drunk And Screw
Cheeseburger in Paradise
One Particular Harbour
Use Me
Bama Breeze
Jolly Mon Song
Knee Deep
School Boy Heart
A Pirate Looks At Forty
The City
Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes

Viva Las Vegas
Southern Cross
Tin Cup Chalice

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