Ok. Ready for an unpopular opinion? I hate Jimmy Buffett.
I can’t explain it and neither can anyone else. There’s always a resounding “but why?!” when I let slip that he and his music drive me absolutely up the wall. My only answer is a pathetic yet indignant “I just don’t know.”
In theory, I should be totally on board with Jimmy. He and I seem to value and appreciate a lot of the same things: relaxing on beaches, drinking margaritas and beer, a carefree attitude, nature conservation. The man has a song about cheeseburgers, for heaven’s sake. We should be best friends. Even I don’t get it.
So when I was invited to attend his concert last Thursday at First Niagara Pavillion, plus partake in the legendary tailgating, I was a bit apprehensive. Am I going to fall deeper into nonsensical loathing with the poor man? Or will I end up devoting the rest of my days to the Parrothead religion?
I figured if I ever was going to make some sense out of my feelings (and honestly, hopefully dispel them– I feel like a terrible person for hating, essentially, America’s Grandfather), I should go with an open mind. And a significant amount of beers in my belly.
So I did. And you know what? I had an absolute blast. While I may not be his biggest fan now, I think still saying that I hate him simply isn’t true. I can definitely appreciate the experience. So here’s what I learned at my first, and hopefully not last, Buffett concert:
- Everyone is so friendly! Since Jimmy is a general promoter of all things happy and a good time, I wasn’t entirely surprised by this. But people were generously sharing food and drinks, getting to know each other, having spontaneous dance parties, and generally being good, fun neighbors, despite the oppressive heat. Oh, and if it’s your first time at a Buffett concert, they’ll definitely take care of you.
- People take Buffett very seriously. My friend who organizes the outing each year said “This is no joke. I take Buffet more seriously than when I plan for Christmas or birthdays.” People travel for hundreds of miles to attend as many of his shows as possible. Lawn seats sell out in a manner of minutes and it’s absolutely packed. I have to give it to them, Parrotheads have an admirable and unwavering devotion.
- There’s no such thing as taking the tropical theme too far. Everything goes for Buffett: Bathing suits, Hawaiian shirts, leis on leis on leis, blow-up parrots and palm trees and fish. Margarita and lime flavored everything. Cars turned into sharks. A stage with a kiddie pool and actual sand (which was the site of many dance parties).
- It’s a drinking affair. Most tailgates are, but this was on an entirely different level. You’ll probably learn a new drinking game or two or discover a new tequila delivery methods (it’s fairly delicious mixed in with Landshark lager). There is something to be said for moderation though and it probably wouldn’t have hurt for some fans to indulge a bit less. To each his own. Just stay hydrated and be careful.
- The man puts on quite a show, especially for being 66. He and his band sounded great and full of energy, even from where we were standing way back on the lawn. Everyone was up dancing, singing, and really getting into his music.
- Sunscreen and water are your best friends. This is really just general life advice but is doubly important when you’re standing outside all day in the hot, hot sun drinking. While a couple rain showers gave us a brief reprieve, I have a fairly awkward sunburn to remind me of my lack of sunscreen application.
- Have an open mind. I never ever thought I would give in to the call of Margaritaville, but it happened and I had a wonderful time. I met lots of great people, danced in the rain, and saw a fun show. What more could you want out of life?