NEVER before have so many middle-aged men in loud shirts and shorts descended on Sydney's Opera House.
But then it has been 24 years since Jimmy Buffett last performed in Australia along with his Coral Reefer band, for an adoring legion of fans fondly known as Parrotheads.
This was a crowd like no other I've experienced - more mega beach party than rock'n'roll show. A mate of mine who once worked for some of the most senior Liberal MPs in Canberra had flown down from Brisbane, escaping Queensland's recent misery so that he could party hard and soak up Buffett-mania - replete with ridiculous headwear and Hawaiian shirt.
Put the Balmy Army on a tropical island, turn up the daicquris and you have some idea of the kind of party mood that took hold for just over two-and-a-half hours.
Right from the moment Buffett and his red-hot 9 piece band kicked things off with a sweet version of Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl, this packed audience - some of whom had travelled from Antarctica - were on their feet, singing along to Buffet's easy-listening and substantial back catalogue.
Songs that have littered the Billboard charts for nearly four decades - Come Monday, Margaritaville, Fruitcakes, Cheeseburger in Paradise and It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere.
Buffett set the scene early on, telling us that it was going to be a long and sweaty night - and without an interval. He recommended a ``designated drink-getter'' be anointed to keep us lubricated. Beer sales at the Opera House have rarely been bettered.
This was one big party of floating beach balls and inflateable sharks bouncing around the concert hall as Buffett pumped out his easy-listening repertoire.
With 40 years of songs to choose from, Buffett chose to showcase several members of his band, particularly Robert Greenidge, one of the best steel drum players in the world, and Nashville musician of the year, Mac McAnally.
As promised, he also gave his song list an Australiana touch, punching out a crowd-pleasing version of Crowded House's Weather with You. ``I am a big fan of the Brothers Finn,'' Buffett confided.
And while some ageing rock stars try to cover up their age, Buffett wants to celebrate turning the ripe old age of 64, turning the Beatles' tune into a moment of sheer island delight.原帖地址: Jimmy Buffett Info http://www.buffettinfo.com/front-page-news/2706-jimmy-buffett-performs-live-sydney-opera-house.html#post3349
Heck, he even managed to take the piss out of himself, telling the audience that he had tried to get in touch with people who he met last time he was in Australia ``and they are all dead''.
This was nearly three hours of tropicana madness, performed in a venue that has rarely experienced anything so raucous. And just to make sure he took his audience on a real high, Buffett announced he was donating a big sum from the Opera House concert to the Queensland flood appeal.
It was a poignant and well-appreciated moment in what was a joyous celebration of ``island escapism''. And he promised to be back in Sydney, before too long, just so we can all pull out those ol' Hawaiian shirts - again.
* Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band perform at the Sydney Opera House tonight and the Hordern Pavilion on January 26.