Before you assume that I have taken an international trip, I am referring to the name of Jimmy Buffett’s latest jaunt around the country. Bubba’s tour descended upon Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Saturday May 28, 2011.
When tickets went on sale around my birthday in March, I decided to buy two and either go or sell them. I missed Bubba’s last stop in Nashville (2010) which was on the weekend of “the flood”. As time approached, I realized that I needed to figure out 1) whether to go and 2) if so, who? Realizing that Buffett would be eligible for Medicare this Christmas (that’s 65 for the uninformed), I answered question #1 pretty quickly on the thought that chances are dwindling for opportunities to see him. True, I am into double-digits for the number of shows, I was still ready for more. Next was the question of who to take. Momma Squire – “Hell no, I won’t go. Last time there was this long-haired grunge guy behind me swinging his head and his hair kept hitting me.” Even after assuring her that we would move if we saw him, she wouldn’t go. Since Stevie Nicks had plans, I asked the 15 year old. He said “sure” with all the enthusiasm a 15 yr old can muster when going to see a 64 year beach bum!
As we topped the hill at Broadway and 8th and looked toward the river, we noticed that Broadway had been blocked for a block party thrown by Margariaville Restaurant. There was also an abundance of colorfully dressed folks and some scantily clad. It was very obvious that Buffett was in town! Our seats were in the club level on stage left. From our vantage point, we could see the side stage area where the artists came out from backstage and entered the stage. Pretty cool seats.
Here are some random thoughts and observations from that night:
· While the Bridgestone Arena is nice, you lose something by watching Buffett indoors. I remember many nights at Starwood under the stars. Something to be said about that.
· Mac McAnally – what an artist. Whether as a prolific songwriter, CMA musician of the year, singer, or Coral Reefer Band member, he is one of a kind. Years ago, Buffett would bring him out in Nashville for a couple of songs, but now he is a full-time member of the Coral Reefers. He used to be somewhat in the background on the stage, but today, he is out front on equal footing with Jimmy.
· With a song catalog as large as Buffett’s, it is always great to see what he picks to play. While he always does the ones he is supposed to do, he always throws some deep cuts in to keep it interesting.
· It appeared that he rediscovered the A1A album this tour. He pulled five songs, including about three deep cuts, from this album.
· The uh-oh moment – I realized right as a particular song started that I had not told Will about Let’s Get Drunk & Screw. As the chorus started, he just turned and looked at me. What could I say?
· Buffett started a tradition a couple of years ago where he would close each show acoustically solo. Just Jimmy and a guitar. The song is always one of those deep cuts that I referenced above. There is even a double CD full of these – it is called Encores. This is very reminiscent of the W.O. Smith show I wrote about before (http://squireponderings.blogspot.com/2010/02/concert-memory.html).
· The “only in Nashville” moment – one of the things that I love about Nashville concerts is you never know who will trot out on stage. First, the vast majority of the Coral Reefer band was from Nashville. Secondly, right before the start of Come Monday, I spotted someone on the side-stage area with a guitar in their hand looking like they were getting ready to come on stage. I thought it was a replacement for Jimmy’s guitar, but I was wrong. Next, Jimmy simply says “Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Kenny Chesney.” Of course, the place goes nuts and then he sings Come Monday with Jimmy and comes back out later for another song. I leaned over and told Will that you couldn’t get that anywhere else, but Nashville.
Here is the set-list for what was a great night:
· The Wino & I know
· Brown Eyed Girl
· Off to See Lizard – including new verse about his dive off the stage in Australia
· Havana Daydreaming
· 5:00 o Clock Somewhere
· Changes in Latitudes
· Life is Just A Tire Swing
· Come Monday (with Kenny Chesney)
· Let’s Get Drunk and Screw
· Son of a Son of A Sailor
· Back Where I Come From (Mac and Chesney)
· Cheeseburger in Paradise
· One Particular Harbor
Jimmy says he has to change batteries and let Nadira Shakoor (long time backup singer) take over. She sings Use Me Up
· Tryin’ to Reason with the Hurricane Season
· Presents to Send You
· Woman Going Crazy on Caroline Street
· Bama Breeze
· A Pirate Looks at 40 (just Jimmy & Mac)
· Southern Cross
· School Boy Heart
First Encore (band intro)
· Great Fillin Station Holdup
· Midnight Rider
· Stories We Could Tell (solo acoustic)
Guess Will summed it up best when we were leaving “He knows how to party, especially for an old guy.” ‘Nuff said.
Zach, a Parrothead and a Tennessee Squire