posted June 1st, 2012 at 3:20 pm
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Monday I had total access to Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band’s final rehearsal before their 2012 Lounging at the Lagoon tour starts in The Woodlands. The band began practicing two weeks ago in an empty warehouse near Austin. It was the first time an outsider was invited to a full-blown rehearsal. Here’s what I heard and saw.
Technicians and crew arrived around 9 a.m. The stage had been set up since the start of rehearsals. It is the stage that Buffett will take on the road. The warehouse, front to back, was turned into a concert venue, complete with props, soundboard, lighting and video production areas and upstairs catering. The only thing missing was an audience. The place was eerily quiet.
Bicycles were leaned against aisle railings. The crew needs bikes to get around. There was a portable golf driving range at the back of the house. Tuesday was a day off. It sounded like everybody was planning to play 18.
Although the floor and seats were empty, the warehouse was decked out for a packed concert. Chaise lounges and “Lounging at the Lagoon” signs were set up outside the entrances for fans’ photo opportunities. Pretty girls will be there to keep the line moving. The photo ops and chaise lounges were Buffett’s idea.
I learned that practically everything you see at a Jimmy Buffett concert was Buffett’s idea. He’s the boss, and everybody in the warehouse – 11 Coral Reefers, the lighting crew, six video technicians, four sound guys, two costume coordinators, two large security men, tour manager, accountant, IT wizard, Radio Margaritaville disc jockey, stage decorator and even the guy who runs onstage to hand guitars to Buffett – knows it. He’s Bubba.
The band began playing at 3:30 p.m. without Buffett. It did a jazzy song called “Give Henry the Receipt,” written and performed by backup singer Nadirah Shakoor, and dedicated to Buffett’s tour accountant Henry Rosquette. He was there, too.
Buffett arrived a few minutes later, wearing a white baseball cap, aviator sunglasses, white T-shirt, pink shorts and flip-flops. He headed straight to video production. The entrance was his idea, which has tricky special effects. He watched every inch of tape.
Buffett removed his cap and sunglasses, kicked off his flip-flops and climbed onstage at 4 p.m.
The video wall behind the band comprises 96 big-screen televisions. The stage is decorated to look like a lagoon. Buffett’s usual coconut trees are replaced by swamp grass and hanging cypress trees.
The rehearsal lasted about three hours, lengthened by cutting up between songs, Buffett banter and an occasional blooper. Buffett couldn’t get the beginning notes of “Jolly Mon” right, before realizing he had grabbed the wrong guitar.
Buffett wasn’t happy with the video that accompanied “Come Monday.” He told the video producer, “I have some newer video I shot last year in Montana on my bicycle and on a horse. Let’s use that. Trust me, it will work better.”
Be sure to read the full article here for more interesting tidbits.
Buffett takes the tour to Houston on Saturday for a show at the Woodlands.
|Tagged in Interviews, Touring|