Fins to the Left

Who knew there was an entire subculture that went along with a typical Jimmy Buffett concert?  I mean, I had an idea of what it was like.  A friend of mine went to see him at Citizens Bank Park 2 years ago, and she came back with pictures of tailgating in the parking lot.  Had I known the depth to which people go (RVs decorated with parrots; fins strapped to people’s roofs; veritable buffets; requisite margaritas) we would’ve gotten to the ballpark hours earlier to take advantage of it.  And maybe get a better parking spot than all the way out at Broad Street.  As it is, we were fortunate.  Other than being charged a $20 parking fee that usually costs $11 for a baseball game, we were at least parked in the right lot.  The entire Wachovia lot was for “preferred” parking–aka, prepaid–so if you were going to Jimmy and you had preferred parking, you parked 2 arenas over.  If you went to Rush at the Wacovia and paid cash, you parked in the CBP parking lot.  Needless to say, we knew if both shows let out at the same time, we were in deep doo-doo when it came time to leave.  And sure enough, both concerts ended around the same time.

But there’s more.  The place was crowded with people in leis and grass skirts (even guys!), and there appeared to be a uniform I hadn’t anticipated.  I need to pick up a Hawaiian shirt one of these days, or at least, before I go see Jimmy Buffett again.  It was like a test-pattern nightmare but everyone was having a great time, even before the show started.  On the other hand, most folks got there around noon and started drinking then.  There were clues of that all over the place.  Chances are good most of those in attendance couldn’t focus anyway, either because they’d already burned a few hundred brain cells or they left their bifocals at home.

The opening act came on, followed by an Act of God:  a huge t-storm passed through, emptying most of the seats.  The stairs down to mezzanine level were so crowded, I couldn’t get down.  John had gone for more margaritas before the rain started, and he couldn’t get back.  Lucky for him I have a big mouth and I caught his attention by yelling.  We stood around, outside the High and Inside Pub (we groped our way in, walked out to use the bathroom and couldn’t get back in; they’d exceeded Health Dept. capacity and stationed guards at the door) or wherever we could find a space not occupied or being rained on.  Finally we got back to our seats, and the show started around the same time the rain eased up enough to let us sit there without getting drenched.

He put on a GREAT show.  One of his backup singers (Nadira Shakur) has an amazing voice, and the videos to go along with some of the songs were fun to watch.  He finished with Margaritaville and came back for an encore with Fins (I learned fast what the requisite dance moves were; the Phanatic showed up and stole the show), something by the Grateful Dead (John said he murdered it but John’s seen the Dead in concert a dozen times), Bruce’s Glory Days, something else I forgot, and Everybody Must Get Stoned.  That one was truly appreciated by those in attendance.  The last two songs he did without the backup band; he just walked back onstage, put in his headphones, took up his acoustic guitar, and started playing again.  “This job’s not over yet!”, I think he said before he launched into the next tune.

I could blog about the absurd parking fees, the drunk twit in the bathroom line who claims I “went totally hard core” on her (what the F does that mean?  I got on line before her and she started screeching, but I figured, in case little Tweety Bird has a bladder control problem, I moved to the back of the line, which was by then 6 women longer), the drunk kid in front who sloshed his beer everywhere during “Fins” and then proceeded to scout for unfinished alcoholic beverages left in the cup holders, the nasty woman at the end of the row who didn’t want to let John back in his seat, or the sublime attemt to get out of the overcrowded parking lot, we had a fantastic time and I can’t wait to do it again.  Hearing “Glory  Days” in concert inspired me, though:  I really need to see Bruce Springsteen in concert!