Some people associate the start of summer with that whole equinox
thing, when the earth's tilt is at its tiltiest (alright, it doesn't
really tilt more, I know, but work with me), some people associate
the start of summer with the first real heat wave, and some people
associate the start of summer with no more school. I used to fall in
line with the rest of those folks, but no more. The start of summer
for me is now simply when Jimmy Buffett brings his Coral Reefers to
the Chicago area causing a mass occurrence of beach balls, girls in
bikinis, guys, well, I wasn't looking at them, parking lot
barbecues, and in the case of this year, a carnival. Let the summer
in Chicago begin!!!!
Yup, Jimmy Buffett brought his Coral Reefers for his annual
Chicago area stops, and you know, Mr. Buffett never ceases to amaze
me. Why? Well mostly because here's a guy who could probably easily
just sit back, not venture into new ground, do his tour, go home,
and a lot of the people would still be happy. But not Jimmy. Every
year is just a little different, every year is enough of the same,
and every year Jimmy looks to be having just a little more fun. Take
this year for example.
This year - a little different. Jimmy is out on his
"Carnival" tour this time, and such was the theme at the
opening of the show. Jimmy and the band were all dressed
appropriately in their carnival garb, kicking it off with
"Legend of Norman Paperman/Kinja," and continuing the
carnival atmosphere throughout the first set. And for more different
I was treated to hearing Robert Greenidge, usually content on his
steel drums, singing; able to see Jimmy "working" at the
Billy Goat Tavern flipping burgers, and his day at the Cubs game
during a video montage; and this year the second set shifted
westward to Hawaii, rather than the Caribbean, as Jimmy cruised
through a Don Ho "nightmare" with "Bali Hi"
followed by a Hawaiian-esque version of "Why Don't We Get Drunk
and Screw." I also got to see how Jimmy handles equipment
problems (very smoothly, though you could see a little frustration)
as his guitar died during "Fins," and was also treated to
Mac McAnally singing "In the City" during a cool video
montage of more Jimmy around Chicago. Combine that with a list of
songs I haven't heard Jimmy play in a few years and there was just
enough of the different.
This year - enough of the same. Jimmy is smart enough to know that
keeping things fresh keeps things fun, but he also knows what the
people want, and this year was no different. Would it be a Buffett
show without 30,000 fins to the right, 30,000 fins to the left,
volcanoes, a pirate, a Monday, and cheeseburgers? No. And would it
be a Buffett show without beach balls and inflatable animals
cruising through the crowd? No. And would it be a Buffett show
without business professionals by day trading in those suits for
Hawaiian shirts and goofy looking hats this night? No. This year,
just enough of the same.
Jimmy Buffett and those Coral Reefers treated the crowd to 20+
songs and 2ish hours of a ritual to welcome summer. The standards
were there, as were such treats as "The Weather is Here, Wish
You Were Beautiful," "Knees of My Heart," and
"If the Phone Doesn't Ring It's Me." The band sounded
great (they always do), and Jimmy still looks like he is just having
so much fun. For the thousands of times they have played some of the
songs, it still amazes me that the Jimmy and the band can still make
them sound as fresh as a yesterday. Maybe it's because the crowd
won't let them, maybe because they are the professionals they are,
maybe it's because the songs are still as fun now as they were when
Jimmy first came up with them. Or maybe, in keeping with my own
theme of this review, maybe it's because every year there's just a
little bit different to keep that little bit the same still fresh.
It's a Buffett show, and I doubt the rating will ever be less, so
it's TWO BIG, GIANT, HUGEMOUNGOUS THUMBS UP! On this hot and humid
evening, the summer of '98 had officially begun! And as I wrap up
this review, I just have one request for Jimmy, can you please
schedule a concert here in Chicago somewhere around, say, January?
I'd really like the summer to start sooner!
That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!