Booze in the blender: Jimmy Buffett rocks Charlottesville
I think my wife and I don't get out enough. We won two free tickets to the November 17 Jimmy Buffett concert in Charlottesville from a local newspaper's contest. It was wonderful. We walked in from the law school smugly watching what appeared to be all of Virginia streaming into the John Paul Jones Arena.
The ginormous parking lots around the Arena were plastered with a special brand of tailgaters: guys in hula skirts and coconut bras, girls with shark pasties. Many sporting parrot, crab, and shark hats and some in shark and pirate costumes, all downing flagons of Caribbean-pastel margaritas mixed to the tunes of Jimmy and whining 12-volt blenders.
Some cars were decorated. A popular fixation were big shark fins duct-taped to the roof.
We approached JPJ and found an astoundingly cooperative crowd filing into neat lines into the entrances, as security were searching everyone. Among vast piles of flasks and bottles dumped into the trash bins, the one weapon we saw uncovered by the near cavity-level operation? A toy pirate sword.
My wife primly noted that fans had better drink up in the parking lot because they wouldn't get anything to drink inside. Turns out the tour was sponsored by Land Shark beer, and while signs sternly warned against bringing booze into bathrooms, there were booths inside selling beer, wine, and margaritas by the tanker load.
We found our seats to be as far up, away, and to the side as seats could be–- but fortunately with a full window of visibility of the stage between the big screens, albeit slightly from the rear.
Jimmy served his usual eclectic Buffett. There were the sweetly innocent "Son of a Son of a Sailor,” "Changes in Latitude," and "Come Monday." Then the wickedly subversive "Why Don't We Get Drunk (and Screw)" and "We are the People our Parents Warned Us About."
Jimmy seemed genuinely happy to be there, even though this was the last week of the Summerzcool tour. And he showed he could still 'smith words with the new "We've Got Something to Drink About," which he said he wrote after watching the news.
Then everyone got up and danced to "Margaritaville" and pantomimed "Fins" by putting prayerful, wiggling hands together. I say everyone danced, but there was the strangely staid couple beside us who remained essentially motionless for the duration of the show. (Lutherans who had been given free tickets and felt obligated to attend?)
The band, The Coral Reefers, still includes one original member, and a new young sensation from Hawaii playing incredible Ukulele. Check out this link showing Jake Shimabukuro playing George Harrison's "While my guitar gently weeps.”
The crowd seemed diverse, young children to seniors, with my wife and me trying to figure out where we fit into the spectrum. Jimmy noted he last performed in Charlottesville 20 years ago, and perhaps some in the crowd could trace their conception to that night.
It was definitely a hard-drinking, boisterous, and enthusiastic crowd. There was even the familiar smell of marijuana to remind oneself of one's past. We were home by 11, fairly civilized. We might try a concert again in a few years, if I can win free tickets again. Arrgh!
Wick Hunt is a retired Martha Jefferson Hospital ER doctor.