Summer traditions came in premium sizes Saturday night in Detroit, as Jimmy Buffett brought his feel-good concert spectacle to Comerica Park.
It was a rare stadium date for the 65-year-old tropical rocker, and capped a long, festive day that saw downtown Detroit teeming with the colorful partiers known as Parrot Heads.
On a delectable July night — 75 degrees when Buffett took the stage just before 10 p.m. — it was a virtual beach trip, a Saturday night staycation for a crowd of 39,000-plus.
Backed by idyllic ocean imagery on massive high-def screens, Buffett and his 11-member Coral Reefer Band rolled through a 2-hour, 10-minute set of hits and enduring fan favorites.
Steel drums, pedal steel guitars and breezy island rhythms rolled under Buffett’s Southern lilt through a series of crowd pleasers: the opening “One Particular Harbour,” a cover of Sam Cooke’s “Another Saturday Night,” the romping “Gypsies in the Palace,” a bouncy “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.” Buffett was joined by Detroit native Earl Klugh — whom he introduced as “one of the great, great jazz guitarists” — for “Jamaica Mistaica.”
Chatty and upbeat, Buffett came armed with ample flattery for the crowd in Detroit — “one of my favorite stops on all my tour dates.”
“This is like Mardi Gras tonight,” he said midway through the show.
Scanning the sea of bodies before him, he cited a long-ago gig in Southfield, where he wryly recalled thinking, “If I could just get 80 people in here, I could have a career.”
A high-spirited, youthful-sounding Lionel Richie had opened with a 65-minute set of hits, joined by Buffett on the Caribbean-flavored “All Night Long.’
Thousands of people had spent the day tailgating in pockets across downtown Detroit, including some who had been around since the previous night. Grilled romas wafted alongside tunes streaming out of car trunks, where margaritas were mixed and beers whipped out of coolers.
Many male concertgoers donned Hawaiian shirts; women wore plastic island skirts; nearly everyone had a lei. In front of the ballpark, fans queued up to have photos snapped with the big Detroit Tiger statue — outfitted in its own giant Buffett tour shirt.
At the official pre-show party in a stadium parking lot, several thousand fans assembled for carnival rides, limbo contests, a tiki bar and bands playing ’80s cover tunes. “It’s about buying into Buffett’s escapism,” said 33-year-old Dan Dimaggio of East Lansing, on hand for his 33rd Buffett show. He was part of a group of more than 30 friends and family members who have turned Buffett concertgoing into a multigenerational tradition. Source...