Sunday, August 16, 2009
A Parrothead looks at 38
Mark & Diana Kohne and Cathie and I headed to DTE on Thursday afternoon to meet up with the Rays and a slew of others to go see my sixth Jimmy Buffett concert. If you've never been to see Jimmy Buffett, it's an amazing experience where the concert is only 25% of the show. The parking lot is a lot like a Grateful Dead concert (Buffett fans are called Parrot Heads), except done up Yuppy style
I went to my first Buffett concert with my brother Dan about 20 years ago and I'd never heard a single song of his at the time. I'd helped Dan move from one apartment to the other and as thanks, he brought me to the concert with him, Kris and a couple of friends. I loved the show.
This year, we did it up as right as you can do it. We got there around 3ish and Bob had hooked us up with a motorhome. The parking lot was already filling up with some amazing parrot head with some pretty amazing setups. The great thing about the motor-home was not only the shade it provided, but the bathroom (and bedroom), kitchen and electricity.
Bob was kind enough to bring his friend Don Julio who makes some people like flamingos, and love every minute of it. We had a great time hanging out. We brought food, walked around, people-watched while people all around us danced, played beer pong and bag-toss (known in Nebraska as corn-hole).
I wore my favorite hawaiian shirt, which Anne informed me probably the hottest possible shirt I could wear. I'm used to hearing this from the ladies and was surprised when she clarified that my shirt was polyester, didn't breath, and must be sweltering in the 90 degree heat. It made sense after a bit. I was hesitant to take it off based on the amount of mocking I get from my family, but after a while, figured, what the heck.
There were Tiki-Bars like the one above all over the place - well, none quite like the one above. This one seated 13 and could be folded up to be pulled behind a truck and looked exactly like what you'd see on the beach in Hawaii. There were people who had trucked in sand, DJ booths, swimming pools, full size slurpee machines, and about every other thing you could imagine.
We saw some pretty amazing getups - people dressed like sharks, parrots and wild hats. I picture this woman in the sweet home-made outfit to be Cathie in 25 years.
People were really proud of their outfits and loved it when you took pictures of them.
I'm pretty sure this was Will's doppelganger with the guitar.
The Landshark Beer girls were awesome to watch. There were five of them piled on this special golf cart, complete with a landshark fin, trying to navigate the parking lot. The cops wouldn't even try it, but these girls did. They ended up having to try and turn this around and about hit me a few times.
Due to my PayPal concert ticket debacle that had happened earlier, Mark and Diana had no tickets. Mark decided to try and get them at the concert rather than spend a second small fortune on tickets like Cathie and I did. After seeing a few people walking around with "I need tickets signs", Mark figured it'd be a good idea to do the same. We had no cardboard or marker, so Mark made due with a paper plate and pen. He wrote a bunch of cryptic messages on the plates and walked around with them. People would stop him and clarify what "Buy 1 or Sell 1" and "Need 1 Lawn" actually meant. At one point, he got his wife Diana to wear the sign, with a little better effect.
In the end, he got two lawn seats for $100, well under what they were going for online at nearly $260.
You really can't go wrong hanging with the kind of people we were with at the show, and as you can see from the picture, Bob and Anne were setting the bar high. There were some rather amusing people around us, including a couple of um, let's call them 'dancers'. Some huge musclebound guy kept picking them up and having pictures taken with them. Not to be out done - we all ended up doing the same with our wives. None of us even dropped them.
The concert itself was great. Cathie and I had good seats, but I couldn't stop watching the guy in front of me. He was dressed like a pirate, complete with his eye patch and puffy shirt. He was so dedicated to the eye patch that he actually kept it on throughout the entire concert. To make things better, he used an actual telescope to watch the show. How do you watch a concert when you've got "pirate guy" sitting in front of you?
The show was amazing. Unless you've been to a Buffett show, you won't get it ("...don't try and describe a Jimmy Buffett concert if you've never seen it...."). It feels like being in the Caribbean or Key West with an ice cold Corona beer in your hand while sitting on the beach. I think it's part of the appeal of the music is what it reminds you of later.