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Jimmy Buffett
A Concert Review
[More Photos From the Concert]

June 25, 1998

The New World
Music Theater

Tinley Park, IL

A Review and Photos by
The Dude on the Right
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!!


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