Buffett, who turns 70 this year, played a two-hour-plus set crammed with hits, fan favorites and a few deep cuts from his 27 albums. From radio standards such as “Margaritaville” and “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” to stripped down acoustic versions of songs such as “Delaney Talks to Statues” and the jaunty “Pencil Thin Mustache,” Buffett is the consummate showman.
Though this was the first time Buffett and his 11-piece Coral Reefer Band have played in Bangor, the singer is no stranger to the state — he’s visited many times on his own, and he has had boats built at Hinckley in Southwest Harbor. From the stage, Buffett remarked that he finally got to play a show in Bangor, and that the seafaring culture in Maine fits right in with his beach-friendly music.
“We finally made it!” said Buffett, early on in his set. “I’ve built boats here, I’ve had fun here, and now finally get to come play here in ‘Bangah.’”
More than 15,000 people crowded into the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, with big lines at the gates, at the T-shirt stand and at the frozen margarita booth — a new addition to the venue for 2016, and likely much appreciated by Parrotheads.
Jimmy makes his annual trek to Mansfield, MA on Saturday and then plays shows next week in Pittsburgh, Wantagh NY, Camden NJ. Buffett will also play shows in September in Omaha, East Troy WI, and Paris.
If entertaining Jersey Shore crowds without relying on gambling is key to A.C.’s future success, then who better to kick off such proceedings than the man behind “Margaritaville” and his Parrothead following?
On Saturday afternoon, the deeply tanned, humorous, 69-year-old Buffett, his Coral Reefer Band, and his opening act (onetime Philadelphians G. Love & Special Sauce) sold out the Atlantic City beach for the first concert of its season. Spanning from Missouri Avenue on the Boardwalk to Indiana Avenue and MLK Boulevard, an estimated 20,000 people were in attendance, many of whom seemed to know Buffett’s every lyric and between-song banter.
Five consecutive years of summer tour warm-ups in Austin during May yielded a first at the Moody Theater Monday: Jimmy Buffett wore a blazer.
“Manuel’s [American Designs] in Nashville,” announced the cult leader two tunes into a nearly two-hour, 21-song set last night at the home of Austin City Limits, while stroking a lapel. “This was on a mannequin.”
For starters, the bandleader of 11 group members began the show with an extended rap about some eight years of tour fine-tuning in the capital city. (Wait, and only five shows!?) Paying tribute to his local mentor Jerry Jeff Walker, who opens his Frisco show on Saturday in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Willie Nelson’s statue out front (“Since he’s still alive, I wonder how Willie feels about that”), and Austin itself, Buffett uncharacteristically went on at length before ever playing a note.
In fact, the fiesta got off to a slow start. The frontman explained that this year’s I Don’t Know tour sought to revive songs the traveling tiki carnival hadn’t performed in a decade or more. “Presents to Send You,” “Migration,” “Cowboy in the Jungle”? No such luck. Instead, nostalgia only went back as far as 2009 and 1996 respectively on the one-two of openers “Summerzcool” and “Only Time Will Tell.”
Before long, however, the band was functioning at 80-proof, Floridays’ “Meet Me in Memphis” cruising its namesake’s Beale Street, and tour moniker “I Don’t Know (Spicoli’s Theme)” reviving 1982 teen film yuks Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Who recalls that the first name of Sean Penn’s titular stoner was Jeff? For “Margaritaville,” the host welcomed Hollywood mega-producer Frank Marshall onstage to play guitar and sing harmonies with second lieutenant Mac McAnally.
McAnally’s solo turn on the only song Duane Allman wrote by himself, instrumental “Little Martha,” segued the band out of Caribbean bar band mode – congas, steel drums, trumpet, back-up singers – into a bluegrass cluster at one end of the wide stage. Six string-benders, from mandolin to Temple native Doyle Grisham’s acoustic slide, and one accordionist picked as Buffett sang to the lords of Easter Island (“Delaney Talks to Statues”) and then honored his onetime neighbor Glenn Frey with their co-write “Gypsies in the Palace,” about a friend of theirs who impersonated the the king parrothead in order to stuff a couple of girls into the singer’s Porsche, which ended up in a creek.
2. Only Time Will Tell
4. Meet Me in Memphis
5. Pencil Thin Mustache
6. Son of a Son of a Sailor
7. Come Monday
8. Cheeseburger in Paradise
9. I Don’t Know (Spicoli’s Theme)
10. Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Latitudes
13. Little Martha
14. Delaney Talks to Statues
15. Gypsies in the Palace
16. Take It Easy
17. Barometer Soup
18. It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere
19. A Pirate Looks at 40
20. Southern Cross
On Saturday night, Jimmy Buffett performed at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater in Virginia Beach, VA. The show was the first of 2016, but considered a continuation of 2015’s Workin’ ‘N Playin’ Tour. The I Don’t Know Tour doesn’t kick off until May.
You can view the set list here. A couple highlights were “Silver Wings” for the late Merle Haggard, and “Gypsies in the Palace” for the late Glenn Frey.