For years, I've been a huge Jimmy Buffett fan - and have made just about every Buffett Days event out at Alcova since I've lived in Wyoming.  I grew up pretty close to his Southeastern stomping grounds, spent a lot of my formative years frequenting the same Gulf Coast beaches and bars that inspired a lot of his music.   However, for some reason, seeing his live show was just one of those things that never worked out.  That finally changed on Tuesday night, as Jimmy and his Coral Reefers returned to Denver after an 8-year absence, to play the Pepsi Center with almost 20,000 wide-open Parrotheads in attendance.

I lucked out and was hovering over the "purchase" button at precisely the second tickets went on-sale, and was able to snag 18th-row center seats - which is pretty close for the Pepsi Center.  My Parrothead friends Cindy and Bob, staples of the Alcova Buffett set and veterans of many past expeditions to Margaritaville, advised me that we were going to be right in the thick of things, and they pretty much nailed it.  The moment you entered the building, you could tell this was not your average concert.  People were dressed in about every outfit imaginable, and the vibe was different than most any show I'd ever attended.  Most people acted as if they'd known you for years, and didn't seem to have a care in the world, except for having a hell of a Tuesday night.

Buffett Introduces Ilo Ferreira

Right after 8, Jimmy walked out to the microphone, in his trademark shorts and bare feet - to welcome the crowd, and apologize for his 8-year absence from Denver.  He introduced Ilo Ferreira as his opening act - a musician Jimmy discovered during a trip to Cape Verde, a Portugese archipelago off the coast of West Africa.  Ilo and his trio warmed up the crowd with great renditions of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds", among others.  (Video below is Ilo from a Buffett show in Dallas a few months ago.)

Landshark T-Shirt Guys

Finally, after some "Hot Hot Hot" warm-up accompanied by a couple of guys wielding a supercharged Landshark t-shirt cannon, it was time for the main attraction.  Jimmy and the Coral Reefers took their time, making room for quite a bit of storytelling and a two-encore twenty-seven song set that surely had more than a few Parrotheads calling in sick the next day, particularly since several of them had started tailgating early Tuesday.

(Jimmy's video crew put together a montage of everyone outside the show, seen on "ParrotVision" in the YouTube clip below.)

As with any show these days, videos start popping up on YouTube while it's still in progress - here's a semi-decent quality shot of "Fins" from Denver (complete with loads of audience choreography):

Set list:

Use Me (featuring the lovely Nadirah Shakoor)

Bama Breeze (A song written in tribute to the beloved Flora-Bama, the best beach bar on the planet.)

Back Where I Come From (featuring Mac McAnally)

Bottom line, Jimmy Buffett puts on one hell of a show.  And it might not be another 8 years before he's  this close again - he made some comments during the show about making sure it wasn't another 8 years before he visited the Mile High City again, and followed them up with "I'm thinking Red Rocks next time" - before closing  the show with "see you next Summer".

Jimmy Buffett Says Goodbye To Denver

Too soon to tell if it'll come to pass, as Red Rocks seats about half of what the Pepsi Center does (and the Pepsi Center was full).   If, however, the gods of Margaritaville smile upon us and the stars align, an outdoor Buffett show in a setting like Red Rocks during warm weather would be something any respectable Parrothead or even the casual Jimmy fan should put on their calendar.

Fins up!


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