We headed back over to the pre-concert festivities and decided to have a cheeseburger in paradise. While we were eating they started the hula hoop contest (I didn’t participate because I hadn’t finished eating yet---Yeah, like that was the reason). The contest was easily won by the one-armed girl (seriously. She was way cool too!). Somehow we missed the beginning of the bunjee run contest. So while we were half-checking it out, we noticed two girls (Cory and Radinsky) who were each filling out a complete pad of the raffle slips. They each won a hat in the first raffle which was after the bunjee run contest. Well, then they announced the sign-ups for the jousting contest (I was first to sign up). We had a little time to kill, so I bought my Banana Wind shirt and we took it back to the truck. Brad changed into his Hawaiian shirt. We headed back for the jousting contest. The prizes were two concert tickets and two EFX tickets. The girls went first. BothCory and Radinsky participated (That’s when we learned that they didn’t have tickets to the concert). So we cheered them on as they jousted. And Cory actually won. Then it was the guys turn. Everyone had noticed that the pedestal on the right was much looser and harder to balance on. So I was planning on making my way to left one right away. But my opponent, a frat brat, beat me to it. He ended up beating me, knocking me off twice while I only was able to drop him once. I of course blamed it on the loose pedestal. Though I had had a few drinks by that time, but I still don’t think anyone would’ve beaten me if it weren’t for the faulty equipment. The dude that beat me ended up winning. Both he and Cory wanted the concert tickets, so they drew for it and he got them. Needless to say Cory and Radinsky were heavily bummed and left shortly after. What a shame! Since there was no band playing (The Off To See The Lizard CD was playing) andit was a while before Tommy Rocker and Conched Out were going to start at 4pm, We decided to go check out The screamer for a bit. On our way back, we ran into an Elvis Impersonator performing (my first time seeing one in person). Though fairly corny, it was pretty funny.
When we got back to the pre-concert festivities, things had picked up a bit. A lot more people were there. We were still able to get back to our spot close to the stage. I was impressed, Conched Out was a lot of fun. They played Buffett tunes and other various songs. In between songs they had everyone hold their drink over there head for a team drink. A good time was had by all the fans, the band, and even the security guards were hitting the beach balls back to the crowd. After awhile the balloon dude came out. He was a cool dude on stilts who was making parrotheads and fins for the crowd. At one point I flashed him a fin sign and he made one for me. And Brad mentioned to him that his hat was in serious need of some accountrements, so he got a parrothead. This went on for at least a half hour. Then Michael Utley and Robert Greenidge cruised by in on their golf cart. As it passed right in front of me, I shouted “Robert G”-- it made him smile. They played some of there Club Trini stuff. Nadirah Skakoor sang Love Is Made Of This. By about 7pm everyone was primed for the concert and headed started making their way over to the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Brad and I decided to stop and get one more drink before the concert. Fortunately we had a lot of time, because it took about a half hour to get them. By that time there was a stream of people heading over to the concert, so we jumped in. On the way over we met this lady who was from Wyoming and was also feeling very groovy. I joked with her about Wyoming only having 4 digits in there license plates. Once we made it to the Arena and way down to our seats, I met Jesser (a fellow cyber-parrothead). I mentioned something about these not being bad seats. He told me that he had sat in someone else’s seat way up there, pointing upwards, until they mentioned that he was in their seats and the lady told him that his seat was down there. They were GREAT seats, center stage a few rows up from the floor. I was so glad I didn’t splurge for the $150 seats.
When the concert began with One Particular Harbour, the crowd went crazy and stayed that way throughout the concert. Everyone was on their feet singing aloud and truly rocking the joint. Here’s the setlist, with thanks to Kathy Anderson (Lord knows I was writing it down):
One Particular Harbor - Jimmy said it was Saturday night and there were "no rules"
Stars on the Water
Boat Drinks - said he was headed to the beach tomorrow
Jamaika Mistaika - hat with dreadlocks
Only Time Will Tell
Cheeseburger in Paradise
Break - 15 minutes
Son of A Son of A Sailor
Growing Older Not Up
It's My Job
It's Midnight & I'm Not Famous Yet
Changes in Latitudes
In the City - video of plane taking off from Lake Mead, MGM, baseball game
School Boy Heart
Pirate Looks at 40
Brown Eyed Girl
Another Saturday Night
Viva Las Vegas
The following is Jesser’s great review of the concert that he posted to the listserv with a few of my comments intermingled
Hi, phlock --
It was a wild weekend. Thanks to Andrew Nixon (I *never* thoughtI'd use the words "thanks" and "Nixon" in the same sentence), I got aseat to see Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band at the MGM GrandGarden Arena on Saturday, Oct. 5. It was a *good* seat, about three rowsup from the floor. My rented binoculars were not necessary.
(Hey, I resemble that remark. I'm just glad I was able to share my concert experience with two friends that truly appreciated it.)
The MGM Grand is a small city bespeckled with gaudiness andglitter. The Garden Arena seats 18,000. There is no lawn. I don't knowwhy they call it a garden. It is festooned with signs promoting upcomingevents, like this weekend's bull-riding championships, Neil Diamond'sChristmas concert and Mike Tyson's bout with Evander Holyfield. The MGMGrand is very proud of its schedule. But I digress.
Jimmy opened the show with OPH and rocked it incredibly hard. Atthe end, Jimmy said, "I just want you all to know that that song lastedlonger than all of Mike Tyson's fights put together!" Then he played thefirst two notes of Grapefruit. The crowd roared. Jimmy laughed and said,"There's people here for their first show asking themselves, 'What the hellis wrong with these people? What's going on?' Well, *we* know, don't we?"He laughed again and did the song. I believe that even people who came inin wheelchairs were standing at this point. They were, no doubt, inspiredby Jimmy, who did the entire show wearing a full-length knee brace (verychic).
I did not write down the entire setlist. I was entirely too busyhaving the time of my life. But here are some highlights:
Jamaica Mistaika: Jimmy shed all musical instruments, donned agreen hat with faux dreadlocks and pranced around the stage like WayneNewton on acid. He was hamming it up through the whole song, grinning andinviting crowd participation in the form of fingers pointed like pistolsduring the "We promise not to shoot you out of the sky" parts. Great fun.
Son of a Son of a Sailor and Growing Older But Not up: These werethe first two songs after the intermission and Banana Wind film (which Ithoroughly enjoyed; I agree with Jimmy that toys are important). It wasjust Jimmy on guitar and Greenidge on steel drums. And it was beautiful.Not many in the crowd knew GOBNU, but they cheered wildly each time Jimmysang, "I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead." I got alittle choked up on that part, despite all the merriment around me.Lately, I've come to have a deeper understanding of the magnitude of thatlyric.
Fins: This is always a crowd pleaser and it was made more so forme and Andrew by the fact that some guy with a portable camera came upand started shooting in our section during the fin swimming. You guessedit: Right there on the two big screens, in front of God and everyone,were me and Andrew, finning like madfish, for all to see. I'm ashamed totell you that I did that characteristic white-man-overbite thing, whereyou bite your lower lip while you dance. Even so, it was our moment offame, and we enjoyed it.
(All so true, though Jesser neglected to mention that we didn't actuallysee ourselves on Parrotvision (we were too busy showing off for the camera);the guy behind us told us after-the-fact. I just hope it makes the video.I musta looked cool with my balloon fin on my head the the Balloon Man atthe pre-concert festivities made for me.)
Schoolboy Heart: This is such a good song. It's one of myfavorites on the album and it carries very well live. The glint inJimmy's eye suggested to me that this song is not bragging (as some haveclaimed) but a celebration of all the roles he's been fortunate enough toplay. I like it a lot, and the performance was very tight.
(This is also one of my favorites from the album. I'm glad he decided tostart playing it at the concerts. I even liked it on Letterman. One songthat Jesser didn't mention was "Only Time Will Tell"--another one of myfavorites from the new album.)
It's Midnight and I'm Not Famous Yet: This is another one thatfew people knew. But they got into the story right away and made theVegas connection. Jimmy joked before the song about how many LesterPolyesters he'd seen in the hotel, which leads me to believe he wasstaying at the Grand. I'd never seen this one performed live and wassurprised at how LOUD and fervent it was played. I never considered thissong a rocker, but it clearly can be.
(Like a lot of his songs, I like this one more performed in concert than on thealbum.)
Come Monday: My favorite song on planet Earth. I think Andrew wasa little confused about why I was swaying so much and bumping into him onthe 1 and 3 counts. Can't help it. Won't try. Lovely rendition.
(I was so into the concert, I didn't even really notice.)
Southern Cross: I am now convinced that Stephen Stills will sooncheck himself into the Betty Ford Clinic for substance abuse brought onby acute depression and schizophrenia. On the one hand, it must be verygratifying to hear your song transformed and resurrected in such amagnificent manner. On the other hand, it must be difficult and painfulto see your baby stolen away by someone else, and then to hear the babysay "Papa!" to the kidnapper. This is Jimmy's song now, plain and simple.I had continuous goose bumps from the opening note to the end of theapplause.
WDWGDAS: Smarmy and wonderfully awful. Jimmy brought out somelocal "talent," dressed (for reasons that can only be surmised) as The LoneRanger and Little Bo Peep. Bo Peep sang. The Lone Ranger did back-up.Neither one of them could carry a tune in a dumptruck. It was hysterical.Bo Peep was kind of pretty, in that Loretta Lynn chiseled and frazzledsort of way; Kemosabe was butt-ugly, like Alice Cooper after a bad nighton the town with a werewolf. I laughed very hard. Nearly had to pee.
(WDWGDAS-Why Don't We Get Drunk And Screw, for all of those not in the know.)
Brown-Eyed Girl: I normally go to the restroom when he plays thisone, but I stayed this time. It wasn't bad, but I could do without it.
(I've always liked this song, both by JB & VM.)
It's My Job and In The City: Jimmy repeatedly heaped praise onMac Macanally and shared the spotlight/lead microphone with him during thesesongs. I was very impressed. Mac puts a different, almost mournful toneinto these lyrics. The dichotomy between Mac's style and Jimmy's styleis textured and rich. I dunno why Mac hides his face under all thathair, but I suspect it's because he's a little overwhelmed. I get thesense that his really is a simple life, and being on the road with JimmyBuffett is a lot more than he bargained for. Still, I think he enjoyedit. I know I did.
Viva Las Vegas: Eat your heart out, Bish. This was the finale tothe first encore, and the irony was not spared for anyone. Jimmy eventhrust his hips a few times. It was great.
(I knew something was up when I couldn't identify the song off thefirst couple notes; never been a huge Elvis fan. I was kind ofexpecting JB to play Elvis Impersonators, but am not disappointed that hedidn't.)
Pirate Looks at 40: Jimmy's preamble to this song was about howhis summer tour has only one week to go. The fact that it's October, hesaid, has nothing to do with it. "Our job," he said, "is to make thesummer last as long as possible." Loud hoots of approval. To end thesong, he ad-libbed, "I feel like I've drowned. I've gotta be careful inthis crazy town." And he smiled an I've-been-to-the-Blackjack-tablessmile that told you EXACTLY what he meant.
Boat Drinks: The most memorable line of the concert. "I'm gonnasing this song for all you people who live where there's winter. But Ihave one question first: WHY?" The crowd loved it. Andrew and I lookedat each other and shrugged. We could not answer the question either.
(So true, I am umbilically connected to the temperate zone. I love teasingmy email buddies in colder climates, while I'm sitting at home in shorts anda tanktop with the windows open during the "Winter" months.)
Volcano: During most of the song, the video screen showed theVolcano at The Mirage doing one of its eruptions. Very impressive. And awhole lot of fun.
Lovely Cruise: This was the last song of the night, and it wasjust Jimmy and his guitar. Let me tell you: The boy's still got somerange. His voice was perfect and this song scared me. Was he reallysaying goodbye? He let me off the hook at the end, when he said, "See younext year!" You certainly will, Jimmy.
(Yeah, I don't really think we have to worry about JB retiring too soon. He's still having way to much fun entertaining us.)
And now, with apologies to my fellowLAB rats, listowner Bill Lack and Keith Barbour, I must say that I have,in the hours since the concert, reassessed some of my cynicism. I happilyembrace my fellow Parrotheads who come from the "Jimmy is God" camp. Heanointed my spirit and lit a fire where it's been cold for a while. Saywhat you want about the man, but listen to me first: ANYONE who can bringthat much joy to that many people in that short a time has definitely gotsome Divinity in his blood.
(I agree. Though JB isn't a god, he sure has brought a lot of joy to mylife (and thousands of others). No, he's not infallible, but none of us are.I have often been semi-disgusted by some of the critiques of him that Iread, but everyone is intitled to their opinion. I don't let that get medown. I don't know how many negative reviews of Banana Wind I read beforeit was released. That didn't keep me from liking it. No I didn't fall inlove with every song nor is it his best album; I can hardly stand MentalFloss to this day and Banana Wind seems really out of place to me. But it'snot the worst either. Sometimes I think people are just a little too critical.)
Leaving the concert through the vast, gaudy halls of the MGM, Iturned and looked behind me. What I saw was a river of smiles.
"Be good, and you will be lonesome.
Be lonesome and you will be free.
Live a lie, and you will live to regret it.
That's what living is to me.
That's what living is to me."
--- Jimmy Buffett
After the concert, we headed over to the post-concert festivities. Somewhere along the way, Brad and I got separated from Jesser. Anyway, I was pretty exhaustedmyself. We were kicking back up near the stage until Conched Out started playingthe lost verse of Margaritaville, which got my attention. So I was back onmy feet for a while, having a pretty good time. I ended up losing track ofBrad at one point and realized I hadn't eaten in about 12 hours and wentinto the hotel to get some food. I ended up finding Brad. I placed acouple bets at the sports book(I won $18 on the Steeler beating the Cheifs in Monday’s game and if theSteelers win the Superbowl I'll be $400 richer--couldn't pass up those 20-1odds). We played a few slots and Brad hit a $25 winner before decided to crash in the truck for a fewhours. I was in the front and Brad was in the back. Shortly after I fellasleep, a Vegas cop came a'knockin on my window:
He was a Kodak lookin' fella 'bout 19 inches tall he rambled up over to thetruck 'spectin' me to do one of two things: flip or fly, I didn't do eitherone. It hung him up. He starts sniffin' 'round my body tryin' to smell fear,but he ain't gonna smell no fear, 'cause I'm God's own drunk and a fearlessman. It hung him up. He looked me right in my eyes and my eyes was a lotredder than his was. It hung him up.
So I approached him and I said, "Mr. Bear, I love every hair on your 27pound body. I know you got a lotta friends over there at the Police Station.There's ole' Rear Bear, Tall Bear, Freddy Bear, Kelly Jair, Relly Bear,Smelly the Bear, Smokey the Bear, Pokey the Bear; I want you to go back over theretonight and tell 'em I'm feelin' right. You tell 'em I love each and everyone of 'em like a brother and a sister; but if they give me any troubletonight, I'm gonna run every Goddamned one of 'em out of Vegas."
He took two steps backwards and didn't know what to think. Neither did I,but, being charitable and cautious, well hell, I approached him again. Isaid, "Mr. Bear, you know in the eyes of the Lord, we're both beasts when itcomes right down to it. So I want you to be my buddy, 'Buddy Bear.'" So I told oleBuddy Bear, "If you just let me get some sleep, I won't cause him anytrouble. “ It hung him up. He didn't know what to say, so he left.
I laid back down, went to sleep, slept for four hours, and dreamt me sometremulous dreams And when I woke up, Oh, there was God's yellar moon a'shinin' on the clear cool evenin'. And God's little lanterns just a'twinklin' on and off in the heavens, And my buddy the bear was a' missin'...yeah, you want to know somethin' else friends and neighbors, there was hisfriend, another Vegas cop that told us we were violating Nevada state law bysleeping in our vehicle. I told him about Buddy Bear, but he didn't care.He looked me in the eyes and my eyes were redder than his. I told him thatit was a silly law but that we'd be happy to oblige him if it'd make himhappy. He left and shortly after we went over to the Breakfast Buffet(t) at Excalibur.After strolling around the strip(Actually, from the Excalibur to Circus Circus and back.),we went home.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
Your Way Gonzo Compadre,