Tales From Margaritaville!
50+ Shows From This Parrothead
It is the land of mahem and margaritas, of land sharks and Parrotheads, of people "Defying Grafity, with some just trying to "Survive" and others looking to "Get Drunk and Screw." Jimmy Buffett concerts are daydreamin' in Havana, "Money Back Guaranteed" fun, and come manyana, the ever-lasting thrill of the day before keeps people smiling in their sleep.
Checking out chiquitas down by the shore...
They are all-day affairs, starting with a party in the parking lot unseen anwhere this side of Ios. In recognition of Buffett's most peopular songs, people bring active volcanos, blow-up sharks and dress in hawaiian shirts, grass skirts and straw hats. fish, fins and boat drinks.
Jimmy Buffett on stage in Hawaii at the Waikiki Shell.
This Parrothead is really Nutty! (That's her nickname, by the way.)
The fins are always up at Jimmy Buffett concerts.
These parrotheads know how to dress for the parking lot tailgate party!
The PubClub.com party bus at Irvine Meadows in Southern California.
The best-looking girls at Buffett shows are at Irvine Meadows. Agree or not!?
Blenders, some powered by electric generators, churn out cocktails by the shipload. Tequila, rum and other alcohol flows as freely as an overflowing volcano. Fortunately, everyone is a happy drunk and smiles are as common as cervezas.
Jimmy is transcends age groups. Though it's largely a mid-20s to late 30s crowd, everyone from grandpartents to grandkids are in attendance.
It's a tropical paradise, and all because one man decided some 30 years ago to sing songs about living in Margarativille, drinking boat drinks from the deck of a sailing ship and of living in paradise.
It is this life that self-proclaimed "Parrot Heads" live each time Jimmy comes to town.
The tailgate party starts some four hours before Buffett even takes the stage. It is about the only concert anywhere in which the entertainer is a backdrop to the actual event. It's the pre-party, the mingling with people in grass skirts, hawaiian shirts and straw hats that stir the tropical social souls at these concerts.
Buffett himself gave up long ago trying to compete with this frenzy and does not bother to book warm-up bands. People party so hard in the parking lot beforehand that they rarely make to their seat before Buffett himself takes the stage, let alone 90 minutes earlier to hear some unknown up-and-comer.
"I just provide the background music for your party," Jimmy Buffett says.
At Buffett shows, even girls do beer bongs in the parking lot party.
Heck, at some venues, people often bring in their own bands to the parking lot.
"I just provide the background music for your party," Buffett tells his audience.
The concerts come only once a year to venues across America and people clear their schedule months in advance in order to attend.
It's such a regular ritual for many that they keep a running tally of how many shows they have seen. PubClub.com's Bartender is approaching his Golden Anniversary (most in one year, four, in four different locations) meaning he's in the company of his good buddy Laz, who has attended 49. Whatever the number, it's never enough.
Such people are termed "Parrot Heads," a spin on the moniker of Grateful Dead fans' "Dead Heads."
For those who don't know, the music of Buffett is best described as a tropical fantasy. It involves steel drums, congas and lyrics that take people to places they would rather be. His songs are based on part truths – he came up with the land shark theme song "Fins" while watching a bunch of guys trying to pick up a bikini contest winner – and carry creative titles such as "If The Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me." (Hey, we've all been there.) Here are some of his most popular titles:
• It's Five O'Clock Somewhere (duo with Alan Jackson)
• Cheesburger in Paradise
• Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
• Let's Get Drunk and Screw
• Boat Drinks
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