As sleet and snow pelted the big tent outside the BOK Center early Thursday afternoon, Jimmy Buffett fans huddled around with drinks in their hands and fins on their heads.
It would take a lot more than a little ice to stop these devotees from seeing Buffett. However, many gave up the grass skirts this time.
"There will be nobody in flip-flops tonight," said Rick Zickefoose, a member of the Tulsa Parrothead Club.
Thousands braved bitter cold and slick roads to party in downtown Tulsa on Thursday. Buffett fans, known as Parrotheads, are famous for their devotion to the singer and turned out in big numbers for Buffett's first show at the BOK Center.
"Hello, sunny Tulsa," a barefoot Buffett exclaimed as his Coral Reefer band started playing "St. Somewhere" off Buffett's newest album, "Songs From St. Somewhere."
Buffett made it clear that this party was going on no matter what.
"This storm will pass and we'll just have to wait it out here," Buffett said, a plan many in the crowd were OK with. "You didn't think I wasn't coming, did you? I've been waiting for this for a long time."
While there weren't any flip-flops, the fans in the tent before the show did have plenty of island garb. Brad Russell of Kansas City was dressed in his best pirate outfit. He came with a group of friends Wednesday night, worried the winter weather would affect his arrival.
"We got a little concerned about the weather, but we didn't want to miss this," Russell said.
Joining Russell was his nephew, Scott Russell, with his girlfriend, Megan Arterburn, both of Tulsa. All of them had drinks in their hands, dancing with the crowd in front of the stage where a band played covers of classic hits.
Brad Russell said he was glad he could share the experience with Scott Russell and Arterburn, both experiencing Buffett for the first time.
"It was important for us to come down and hang because this is family," Brad Russell said. "My kids have gone and now it's time to take Scott and Megan."
Fellow pirate Jeanette North of Owasso was also looking forward to the show, her third time to see Buffett.
The weather wasn't a concern for her once they made it to Tulsa. If road and weather conditions turned south, she had backup plans.
She said there was no way she would miss Buffett's performance in Tulsa, especially with the planned Margaritaville expansion at River Spirit Casino in Tulsa. Most people said that the Margaritaville expansion would be a great addition to the city.
"We used to say, 'Well, he'll never come to Tulsa,' " North said.
"But with the BOK Center and Margaritaville, that's different."
Buffett is part of the fifth anniversary concert series at the BOK Center, celebrating five years since it opened its doors. BOK Center officials said that since before the doors even opened, they had been trying to get Buffett to town.
After all, seeing the reaction by his loyal fans, it's a show they knew would be a success.
While many fans turned out despite the weather, the arena wasn't as full as it could have been.
"This storm hit exactly wrong for this concert," said Steve Day of Edmond.
Still, he and his wife and some friends were able to make it to the show and had a hotel room waiting for after, so snow and ice weren't a concern for them.
Neither was the weather a concern for Scott Russell. He and Arterburn said they wouldn't miss this show.
"It took us a little longer to get here, but we made it," Scott Russell said as snow fell on slippery roads.
As kids, we watched “The Mickey Mouse Club” and envisioned ourselves as members. As tweens, we signed up for Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts. As adults, we joined a book club if we had smart friends or Minnesota Public Radio if we wanted to hang with indie-rock hipsters or a country club if we were wealthy and well-connected.
Well, anybody can enroll in the Parrotheads, the club that worships Jimmy Buffett. No uniforms are required, but Hawaiian shirts, leis and parrot headgear are commonplace. So are tequila, beer and goofy grins you get from smoking funny cigarettes.
The Upper Midwest chapter of the Parrotheads held their first Twin Cities meeting in nine years on Tuesday when they gathered 14,000 strong at the sold-out Xcel Energy Center. One Parrothead so impressively wore a parrot outfit worthy of a college mascot that he was posing for photos with St. Paul police officers in the arena lobby. The guy behind me was a vision of a Parrothead in Winter: polka-dot swim trunks over his jeans, an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt over his turtleneck and, of course, a weathered straw hat.
Buffett sported his usual outfit — bare feet, Bermuda shorts, T-shirt (in this case a throwback Minnesota Fighting Saints hockey T) and, of course, that perpetual stoner smile. Balding with a silver mullet, he came across as his usual if aging self — part musician, part snake oil salesman and part guru. For much of the 130-minute performance, he emphasized the latter two.
He apologized for not having performed in the Twin Cities for a time (2004 was his last gig here), promised not to make Parrotheads wait another decade and showered them with endless Minnesota references. He talked about walleye, the Mississippi’s headwaters and hockey. On giant video screens behind him, he displayed photos of downtown St. Paul, the St. Anthony Falls and Minnesota heroes (Fran Tarkenton, Adrian Peterson and the Lynx). And he closed with two Bob Dylan songs — “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Girl from the North Country” — while wearing a custom-made Wild jersey partly made out of floral Hawaiian material. Does it get any more Minnesotan?
Well, he did trot out his longtime Minneapolis-bred, Emmy-winning wardrobe mistress Helen Hiatt and explained that she once designed Prince’s pants with the missing butt cheek panels. And he did sing about a “Minnesota cutie” in “Margaritaville.” Enough with the snake oil guy who could probably sell stock in cheeseburger restaurants to vegans.
How was the music? Well, early on, Buffett’s voice was as plain as the rolls at Old Country Buffett to the extent that his blandness masked the musicality of his talented Coral Reefer Band, which featured the unusual combination of steel drums, pedal steel guitar, trumpet, mandolin and melodica.
The momentum began to change when Buffett pumped up the volume and comedy on “Too Drunk To Karaoke,” his current single featuring rowdy country star Toby Keith. Mac McAnally provided Keith’s vocal parts as well as hot guitar licks as this country-rock novelty number added some much-needed liveliness to the heretofore blissed-out-on-the-beach program.
Buffett found his vocal focus on a three-song, sit-down acoustic set. “Piece of Work” was front-porch country-gospel with a Bo Diddley beat. “Volcano” erupted with six-part vocal harmony. And their version of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Southern Cross” was smokin’ — more impressive than CSN could manage these days.
Buffett kept his focus and spirit for the rest of the night, even if the show unexpectedly turned into a bit of karaoke with Florida’s most famous beach boy doing hits by Lionel Richie, Zac Brown, Dylan and even Kenny Chesney, who has famously and lucratively co-opted Buffett’s beach aesthetic. That made one think that next Buffett should write a prequel to the Keith duet and call it “Let’s Just Get Drunk and Karaoke.” Hey, when you’re born on Christmas Day (Buffett turns 67 on Dec. 25), you can make your own party rules.
At least, in the home stretch, Buffett thrilled the fans with such favorites as “One Particular Harbour” with its lilting island groove, the always festive “Margaritaville’ and “Fins,” the fun party song complete with its fin-evoking hand motions that are like the secret handshake at a Parrotheads club meeting.
Thursday evening was a big night at one of San Diego’s oldest and best known clubs. Hundreds of fans packed the Belly Up in Solana Beach to see Jimmy Buffett perform. San Diego 6 went out to talk to some of the “Parrot Heads” who began lining up hours before the concert began.
“We party with a purpose is our motto. It’s just kind of what he stands for, you know helping each other,” said self-described Parrot Head Gail Folsom. Like many of the fans standing in line, Folsom had seen Buffett many times. But never in a place like the Belly Up. Buffett typically sells out stadiums that seat tens of thousands. The Belly Up holds a total of 600 people. “I’m really excited cause this is like the closest I’ll ever be to Jimmy Buffett I think,” Folsom said.
Most of the fans in line already had their tickets to the concert. They were the lucky ones because this concert sold out within a matter of minutes. Still, there were some fans like a couple celebrating their 10th anniversary who were looking for tickets at the last minute. They acknowledged that their chances of getting any were slim. And there were others like David Lippe. He had a ticket, but he gave it to his mother in law, the selfless act of a true Parrot Head. “He got one for me. Is that the kindest thing?” said Karen O’Connor. Lippe laughingly answered saying, “It’s called babysitting for life.”
The Belly Up has been around since 1974 and it’s no stranger to big celebrity appearances. Two years ago, none other than Britain’s Prince Harry stopped in for a drink. But on Thursday night, it was all about Buffett and like other longtime fans who’ve seen him many times, for Joe and Maryann Riccardi, seeing him in a place the size of the Belly Up was a first. “We’ve seen him in a lot of bigger venues, but never in a place this small and this close to our home. So, it’s pretty cool,” said Joe Riccardi.
So, why would Jimmy Buffett play a relatively small venue like the Belly Up? One concert goer told San Diego 6 the answer to that question was simple. He loves his fans.
Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band will appear on the Ellen Degeneres Show this Thursday, October 17th!
Her name is synonymous with beauty. She became a household name on the hit show "Baywatch" and since then, her lifeguard good looks and magnetic personality have catapulted her to the top of Hollywood's elite -- it's PAMELA ANDERSON! She's here to catch up with Ellen about her life, her career, and to tell how she's about to go the extra mile -- 26 of them, to be exact! Find out her plan to run the New York City marathon next month!
Then, one of the most beloved singer/songwriters of our time. His songs have inspired joy, romance, and a successful chain of restaurants! It could only be JIMMY BUFFETT! He's here to perform a song from his upcoming CD, "Songs from St. Somewhere," as well as his classic, "Margaritaville!"
Grab some salt and a lime, because this Thursday, Ellen is taking you to Margaritaville!
Jimmy Buffett adds to his considerable pirate treasure with constant touring: traveling carnivals-slash-beach-blanket blowouts of friendly grass-skirted hedonisms. His shows are as constant as the tides, the stars and — to be slightly less romantic about the whole thing — the receipts at the end of each. But why not? At 66, Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band are still good for nearly 30 songs a night, and no one’s better at suggesting escape and rum drinks are just a snap decision away.
But before he was able to convince Midwestern concertgoers they were actually watching the sun drop in someplace like Bora Bora, Buffett was an easygoing, windblown and well-lubricated storyteller from the Gulf Coast, a guy who came up in ‘70s age of Steve Goodman, John Prine, and James Taylor. His new album, Songs From St. Somewhere, out Tuesday, speaks to that; aside from first single “Too Drunk To Karaoke,” a honky-tonk number with Toby Keith, it’s a quieter, more narrative-driven effort. A few tracks on the album—recorded in St. Barts—revisit familiar Buffett-ian themes: the benefits of solitude, the isolating effect of technology and the idea of coming full-circle on things. There’s also a margarita.
Buffett talked from his Long Island, NY home about retirement, Michael Jordan, Willie Nelson and…surfing
Wait, you were really surfing this morning?
Yeah, if there are waves, I’ll be out there. It’s crowded out here [at Montauk] but the conditions were right, so I was in the water at like 7:30. It’s a passion first — well, some would say it’s an affliction rather than a passion, but whatever it is, I’ve got it. I’m an old-fart surfer, but it keeps me in shape and it generates some interesting byproducts in the way of song lyrics.
This album seems to be less about hangovers and frozen cocktails and more about stories and song lines. Was that the idea going in?
I’ve always said I don’t find stories from talking about them, but if you can listen and hear and look around you and be observant, that ability — along with the chance to record in a place like St. Barts that’s been conducive to creativity — made it work. And I like albums that have a musical thread, a story thread. There’s 16 songs on this thing, but when you own the record company and you don’t have a lot to prove, you put them all on there! As Ry Cooder said, “You don’t know what the public’s gonna buy,” but I’m happy with it and proud of all the people who contributed to it.
It feels like it was recorded in some very relaxed, comfortable environs.
Maybe 30 years ago, I took a tape recorder to the shore there at St. Barts and rented a room at Eden Rock — I think I was working on “Off To See The Lizard” then. But there was no place to record remotely except Montserrat. Now there’s a state-of-the-art studio at that same hotel where I brought the tape recorder 25 or 30 years ago. We did all the vocals in that studio in St. Barts.
The title is a full-circle thing too.
Yeah, “St. Somewhere” came from Derek Sanderson’s bar in Boston [Buffett's 1979 track "Boat Drinks" was inspired by a late-night Boston winter cab ride, minus the cabbie; it features the line "I gotta fly to St. Somewhere"]. I’m a full-circle guy, I like to complete a story, go back to where it came from.
Do these ideas come fully formed, or is there a lot of editing these days?
I think this may be from prose writing, but they get a lot of editing. There’s two kinds of people in rock n’ roll: The people who enjoy going into a studio and spend a lot of time and money there. And the capture-the-magic people. I was always a capture-the-magic person because I was always a live performer. I didn’t like to stay in the studio, and maybe some of the older albums suffered from that, but I had to work and get on the road. I always figured that was my way not to be engulfed or obliterated by the way the music business is run. Now you can do just about whatever you want. Two or three of the vocals on this album were original scratch vocals; after redoing things (producer/guitarist/sideman) Mac... [Read More]
"I like this one a lot," he says, standing backstage in Bristow, Va., before his Saturday show. He's talking about his new album, Songs from St. Somewhere, out Tuesday. It's his 27th studio album.
Although it was recorded in various somewheres, including Key West; Nashville; Muscle Shoals, Ala.; Austin; Miami; St. Barts; and London, Buffett says, "We just made it like an old album."
And like many of his albums, this one is a diverse collection — a little bit country, a lot surfer and even a touch of Spanish flair.
The first single, already out, is his duet with Toby Keith, Too Drunk to Karaoke. "That's the popular one," says Buffett, 66. But he adds with a grin, "I think there are better songs."
Such as? "Einstein was a Surfer is probably my favorite." He also mentions "a little song" called Rue de la Guitare. "It's pretty cool."
Mark Knopfler appears on the album. And Buffett says Emilio Estefan helped him with I Want to Go Back to Cartagena. Buffett sings the song in Spanish with Colombian star Fanny Lu for a bonus track.
The album was "six years in the making," says Buffett. "I wanted to go back to writing songs because I've been busy doing other things. I was working on a book — a travel book. And I decided I'm going to put the time I would normally put into a book into songs."
He plans to perform the entire album in December in Waikiki, Hawaii. "That's the first half of the show." For the second half, he'll play a set list submitted by a fan.
In the meantime, his Broadway musical, Big Fish, is set to open Oct. 6 in New York. "It's looking pretty good, but you never know."
That's a nod to his 1997 collaboration with Herman Wouk on the musical Don't Stop the Carnival, which played in the Bahamas, but never became the Broadway hit Buffett had hoped. Now, he says, the University of Miami is planning to put it on as a spring show.
Personally? Buffett says all is well. He joked during Saturday's concert about "leaping" off a stage in Australia in 2011, an accident that hospitalized him for a couple of days. Backstage, he says, "I'm all recovered. 100 percent. I'm back. Just age-related things now."
The singer/songwriter/surfer, 66, caught a very large tuna in the ocean waters off Nantucket while enjoying a day off between Jones Beach concerts in the New York area. It weighed in at 350 pounds and was 74 inches long.
That's one big fish, Jimmy!
And no, his publicist assures USA TODAY, it's not a stunt for his upcoming Broadway musical, Big Fish. But it sure could be.
In fact, Jimmy's rep tells USA TODAY that he was surprised by the catch, which took him about an hour to reel in.
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