(DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston, MI - August 13th, 2009)
Arriving at DTE Energy Music Theatre at 3pm for an 8pm concert with a wooden fin attached to the car confused my 18 year-old sister! She, of course was a Buffett Virgin! If you have been to a “phlocking”, you understand. If you have not then I will try to explain.
As we started to drive into the parking lot, her expression was nothing short of astonishment as not only was the parking lot full, but what it was full of. College Football tailgating is nothing compared to the big leagues of a Jimmy Buffett concert! There was a sea of decorated cars, trucks and motor-homes. We parked next to a van with a 3 foot plastic pirate parrot tied to the top. That came in handy as a marker to find the car.
Everyone seemed to have some sort of a gimmick. The ladies across the parking isle had a wheel of fortune game where spinning the wheel gave you a task. Down the isle of motor-homes a gentleman was painting parrots on women wherever they wanted. My sister chose her left calf. Margaretville Tequila and food goods was there giving free samples of their non-alcoholic products, as well as temporary tattoos. Different creative games and displays were seemingly endless with everyone in sight having a good time smiling and laughing and eating grilled food.
We met people dressed as clowns, pirates, and beach bums. We even met several people in shark suits. There were the Buffett followers for Jesus and the Femme’s for Buffett too. (Lesbian awareness group I guess). People from all over the country and even some from other countries, all coming to party were there. We ran into several Buffett virgins other than my sister. Most were excited to be there, but there was this one young man who was forced by his sponsors to wear a bulletin board describing that he was a virgin and seeking advice on how to behave!
Anyway, after the parking lot for 5 hours was the concert... beach balls bouncing, tropical images everywhere, a sea of people cheering. Jimmy was in the house!
"Hello, Michigan," announces Buffett, as he takes the stage with his customary Jamaican ribbon wrist bands. "Not only do you finally get a summer night, but you also get THIS," and with a single broad wave, the music ignites and we get 'Lage Nom Ai.' 'Stars on the Water' (modified to 'Stars Over Michigan') is next before he speaks again: "Thank you, Pine Knob is my favorite spot ... except for the economy! But I'm delighted to be here and I love Michigan. I love the Parrot-Head Fans and the crazy cousins from Canada. We need to get in the mood and set the curriculum. Oh yeah, our Professor of Chronology has broken clocks, they all say 5:00pm!"
'5 O'clock Somewhere' is obviously sung next and after acknowledging that we have "tropical weather in Michigan" he heads straight into 'Manana.' 'Volcano' is next and after he acknowledges the abundance of drink here in Michigan, Buffett then references the economy, healthcare, his take on death panels and how to escape them, unemployment, cash for clunkers, and getting old! He then introduces 'Mac' McAnally, Jr. as a good friend and support ... and the that very same man then plays an acoustic guitar while Jimmy Buffett sings, 'Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw.'
During Intermission, it was the usual scenes from the parking lot as well as beach, surfing and sailing with tropical background music. Bob Marley’s “One Love” sang by people all over the world, throughout Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, The Far East, Middle East, USA digitally mixed together dominated the latter part of the intermission.
During the end of Bob Marley’s song, a ukulele could be heard playing along with the rhythm becoming more dominant than the soundtrack. It turned out to be Jimmy Buffett playing solo. As the lights faded from the screens and the stage lights came back up Jimmy started to sing and The Coral Reefer Band joined in.
Buffett then spoke about the hard times in Michigan and having an understanding about what’s going on here. He said that the song, 'Nobody from Nowhere”' was written with Michigan in mind. "Please welcome Ilo from the land of Volcano’s. I met him in a bar. My bar!," Buffett then proudly announces, as then Ilo sings a song that he wrote as a child. Buffett then introduces the band members and their titles as Professor of, guitar and vocals, keyboard and vocals, etc.
'Southern Cross,' 'Gypsies In The Palace' (which Tina, a beautiful beach bunny from Daytona, FL. here extending a business trip, had snuck in somehow to sit next to me, and informed me that Buffett gets an A+ ... and that she would trade her Dad for him if she could!), 'A Pirate Looks at Forty,' and then the obligatory 'Fins.'
Waving goodnight to the crowd, Buffett is soon back on with the first encore song, 'We Are The People Our Parents Warned Us About,' he follows it with The Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine,' before he ends with, "I had a wonderful time, thank you!" And, for good measure we get a quick second encore song of 'Lovely Cruise' before he is finally gone for good for the night.
After the concert, was the parking lot. There is no use in trying to leave, just relax, watch the dis-assembly and wait for the rush to die down with a diet Coke and a grilled hotdog. Our lovely blond no longer a Buffett-virgin tried to describe her enthusiasm and her desire to come again next year. One more and we might have a bona fide parrot-head on our hands!
Review by: Al and Lauren Galasso
Photos by: Al Galasso