Jimmy Buffet: A Howlin’ Good Time

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Posted June 20, 2014 by STEVE STEWARD in Blotch
PHOTOS BY BRIAN HUTSONPHOTOS BY BRIAN HUTSON

I won’t go as far as to say that last night’s Jimmy Buffet concert at Coyote Drive-In was the best concert of the year. (So far, that distinction goes to the Pinkish Black/Sub Oslo show at Lola’s Saloon last Saturday.) But it was still pretty awesome.

Of course, I’m a Jimmy Buffet homer, but being able to see him in my own town without having to sit through Kenny Chesney or some other country doofus was a huge bonus, and the Coyote was the perfect spot. Even the camera crews –– the concert was being simulcast to drive-ins all over the country –– were unobtrusive.

I don’t recall exactly everything Jimmy said. And, yes, we’re on a first-name basis. It’s a privilege afforded lifelong fandom. But at one point he gave a little spiel about playing a drive-in a million years ago before ambling into “Grapefruit, Juicy Fruit,” one of his so-called Big Eight or eight tunes that find their way into nearly every one of his sets. And, naturally, he went through most of the best from that yellow greatest hits CD everyone gets in college, a.k.a. Songs You Know By Heart, because college kids probably don’t buy CDs anymore, and also more recent tracks, including “Gumbo” and his ultimate hunk of baby boomer bait, “Too Drunk to Karaoke,” which I cop to enjoying, even despite the fact he recorded it with Country Doofus Emeritus, Toby Keith.

The set was about what I expected: the usual hits, the top-notch band, a tropical backdrop –– replete with two huge palm trees, even –– and Jimmy’s good-natured Alabama drawl. I ended up heading to my car to watch the show from the drive-in area right before he busted out “Cheeseburgers in Paradise.” As the crane angled over the crowd, I looked up and grinned, wondering what the parties were like at the other drive-ins.

As a concert venue, Coyote Drive-in is pretty great. I was a little hacked off at the $125 ticket price, but given what looked like a pretty expensive production, I figured it was worth it, especially since the show seemed to be more or less a test run for future simulcasts. Maybe the Coyote will be the hub for that sort of thing like its owners are hoping, and maybe simulcast concerts will be what help keep these relics of pre-home video, pre-internet entertainment alive. In any case, Jimmy’s appearance was a huge win for Fort Worth. Seeing a sold-out crowd come out to watch him made it even sweeter.


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