red lights

One Helluva Host

Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band
Alpine Valley Music Theater
East Troy, WI
Aug. 24, 2002
Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy shining on.

Review by Skip Hansen
File Photo by Terry Mayer

They may have come in droves, as they claimed, to hear the music of Jimmy Buffett, but what really filled the 35,000 seats at Alpine Valley last Saturday more than anything was not as much a love of the man's music as it was a much needed night of escapism.
This was a crowd primarily consisting of forty-something yuppies, who, for at least one night, were able to forget about their jobs, lawns and kid's college tuitions and instead slip into a Hawaiian shirt and pair of shades, while mindlessly spiking a few hundred beach balls and tossing back more Coronas and Margaritas than what would seem humanly possible.
That's not to say that his fanatical followers, also known as Parrot Heads, weren't there to also hear the music of Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band. On the contrary, he's the one who invited all his fans to this party and he was bound to keep them in a festive mood with the type of laid back island rock that Parrot Heads have come to know and love.
Looking a fit 55, Buffett casually appeared barefoot onstage wearing only a pair of yellow shorts and t-shirt which read "Road Trip" on it. With a perpetual smile perched on his tan mug, Buffett and his fun-loving fans fed off one another throughout the night, as he joked and weaved interesting tales in between songs.
Buffett along with his 15-piece band unveiled a handful of new songs from his latest CD Far Side of the World, such as "Last Man Standing," "Savannah Fare You Well" and "What If The Hokey-Pokey Is All It Really Is About," and effortlessly blended these in with older crowd favorites like "Cheeseburger in Paradise," "Margaritiville," "Let's Get Drunk and Screw," "Son of Son of a Sailor" and a cover of Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl," which, over the years, has now become a signature tune of his own. On "Boat Drinks" the band went on to turn this fun-loving number into a rootsy bluegrass song.
While the old hits were what got the entire crowd singing along with every word, it was the number "Fins," from Buffett's 1979 album Volcanos, that had every last one in the valley with their arms together forming a shark fin above their heads and swaying back and forth. (Although, judging from the shape of the audience, the swaying was, more than likely, alcohol induced.)
As much they knew that his music was going to please, they also knew that as a host nobody knows how to throw a party like Jimmy.

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