“Jimmy Buffett fans are people who weren’t cool enough to be deadheads.”
So claimed Dave, an old friend and former boss of mine back when Rhea and I still worked for Borders. At the time, my argument was with the last bit of his pronouncement: “Dave, how is one possibly not cool enough to be a deadhead? Isn’t that particular bar set pretty low?” From there, I’m sure the witty banter ping-ponged back and forth until yet another boring shift had been dispatched to the great time-clock in the sky. Still, it’s a great, clever line – and one that’s pretty much true.
But that’s getting a bit ahead of the story. Ultimately, the joke was on my younger self: as time has gone by, I’ve been won over bit-by-bit by the cleverness and attention to detail present in Buffett’s ‘70s songwriting. Relax: I’m hardly about to go out and buy a parrot hat, nor am I much interested in whatever he might have recorded once the ‘80s hit and the shtick set in, but Buffett really had a way with characters and turns of phrase back when he was young and hungry. The Dead, on the other hand, still just bore me to catatonia, but that’s another rant.
This show is where the disappointment set in for real: having been to Buffett with Rhea last year, I was all primed to produce this blog’s first YouTube foray: Jimmy Buffett Parking Lot. I was going to bring you the sounds, sights, and, maybe through descriptive narration even the smells of this yearly assemblage of people too old to drink that much. Last year, the very first thing that happened one we parked the car and got out was the passing by of a fifty-something couple, and the following loud exchange from the man to the woman: “Ethel! I can’t find the fucking car!” Seriously, folks, I don’t care if you give a damn about Buffett’s music or not: you owe it to yourself to take a summer afternoon off, grab a cooler and a lawn chair of your own, and watch the ultimate in aging-burnout parking-lot parties.
Sadly, the weather intervened again: had Marty Markowitz been involved, Buffett would probably have gotten as far as his fourth song or so and been given the hook. Since Marty’s white jacket has no powers outside the borough of Brooklyn, Buffett did eventually take the stage and play a full-ish set, but only after we got an hour or two of previews for this past weekend’s Hurricane Irene performance. The only video we’ve got is about a minute or two of me narrating the arriving of the storm, and it’s damn near unwatchable. Sorry, folks; I was really looking forward to it.
[Aside: it’s still a really good idea. I don’t know if I’ll be the one to do it next summer; honestly, there’s so much on the horizon for Rhea and I in the next year or so, in a good way, that it’s probably not likely. So I’m officially offering the idea of Jimmy Buffett Parking Lot to the readers of this blog, largely because I’d like to see someone smart and clever give it a go. Just promise to send me a link if you do it. Deal?]
Anyway, Buffett was Buffett; what, do you think a rainstorm is gonna stop him of all people? Please. It seems like his set was probably trimmed a bit due to the late start, but he still conducted his yearly sing-along of all his perennials with aplomb. We peeled out a bit early, fearful that the shortened set probably hadn’t given some of the crowd enough time to sober up, but I did get to hear him sing “Son of a Son of a Sailor”, and we got to spend another lovely, romantic summer night out at the beach.
What more could you want from such an evening, really?