Monday, August 18, 2014

Jimmy Buffett - Bristow, Virginia August 16, 2014

Jimmy Buffett
And the Coral Reefer Band

Bristow, Virginia
August 16, 2014

     You would think that after all of these years crooning about cheeseburgers and margaritas that Jimmy Buffett would be mailing it in by now.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The man still delivers a high energy, top-notch performance.  His band was particularly sharp on this cool and breezy August night in Northern Virginia.  Jimmy was in fine voice as well.

     He opened the show with a rousing version of Jimmy Cochran's "Summertime Blues" and then immediately hit the high note with crowd favorite, Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl".  This featured the band bouncing up and down in unison during the "La-la-la-la-la-la" parts.  If anyone in the crowd wasn't into it by then, there was something very wrong with them.

     The band segued through an entertaining set of old songs, new songs, country songs and even a virtuoso instrumental by Mac McAnally.  One of the highlights for me was the introduction of Brendan Mayer, son of long time Buffett guitarist Peter Mayer.  Brendan displayed his considerable guitar chops on several songs and was featured on his own composition "Something to Say".  Jimmy migrated to the rythym section to play tambourine on that one!

     My favorite tune was the Stephen Stills composition "Southern Cross".   We saw Jimmy
Buffett in Las Vegas several years ago and this was one of the encores.  Jimmy used it this time to get the crowd into a frenzy for the big finale: "A Pirate Looks at Forty" followed by "Fins" and, of course, "Margaritaville".  This show's encore including "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" with "Let's Get Drunk" mixed in was well received and everyone left very happy.

     This show had a different vibe than the Vegas show we attended in 2011.  The crowds were both energetic, but the Virginia crowd seemed to have more families and younger adults.  Jimmy Buffett has managed to transcend generations and genres and attracts a very diverse crowd.  There was a fairly large contingent of the grey haired set, myself included.  The lady next to me was alternating sips of beer with puffs on an Albuterol inhaler.

     My wife made the comment that a Jimmy Buffett show is not really a concert - it's a giant party where Jimmy Buffett shows up.  You have to admire the man for finding his own unique style and sound, sticking with it, perfecting it and turning it into a franchise.  For a guy known more for party anthems though, his ballads and musicianship are quite remarkable.  His ability to work a crowd is unparalleled.  I enjoyed Jimmy's reminiscences of playing The Cellar Door in Georgetown in his early days, being the first show at this venue and also playing at the White House.  

     My days of driving three hours to and from a show, fighting crowded parking lots and standing (and jumping and dancing) for several hours may be winding down.  This is one performer that I would still go through all of that to see.  It was a lot of fun, which I think, for Jimmy Buffett, is the point!  Thank you, Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band, for entertaining us for all of these years and keeping it fun.

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