With Jerry Jeff Walker
Toyota Stadium, Frisco
Saturday, May 28, 2016
On Saturday night, I went to my sixth Jimmy Buffett concert at the Toyota Stadium in Frisco. That might not sound like a lot of shows to diehard Parrotheads, but I think that qualifies me as a genuine fan. I would put this show at No. 3, but here's the thing: It deserved to be one place higher. If only it hadn't been in Frisco.
The tour’s name and theme was “I Don’t Know,” reiterated between songs by a giant projection of a cartoon coconut called the Clairvoyant Coconut. I’m not making that up, nor am I making up the fact that it was voiced by Jeff Bridges in full-on Dude mode, because of course Jimmy Buffett is friends with Jeff Bridges.
Buffet said the set list drew three songs from each album, as well as one song chosen by each show’s regional fans from a list of songs the Coral Reefer Band hadn’t played in a decade; North Texas Buffett fans apparently wanted to hear “Barometer Soup.” But they did play “I Don’t Know (Spicoli’s Theme)” from the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack, which was awesome and somehow unexpected, despite the obvious clue from the tour’s name.
Following an intermission, the band returned to stage in the guise of a folk ensemble. At one point, Buffet gave a heartfelt tribute to the Eagles’ Glen Frey, so much so that it seemed he was about to tear up. But then he told this funny story in which an assistant of his sneaked his Porsche out for a night on the town and crashed it into a ditch in front of Frey’s house, which led him and the late Eagles frontman to write a song called “Gypsies in the Palace,” which they played into an abridged cover of “Take It Easy.” The pre-encore closer was “Volcano.”
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So the show itself was good; it’s just a bummer that it had to take place in Frisco. Do people smoke joints in Frisco? Because I brought a couple, and decided to leave them safely hidden in my sock. As a lead-in to “Cheeseburgers in Paradise,” Buffet commented that he smelled a “certain fragrance,” implying that people were smoking grass.
I didn't see it. Compared to the free-wheelin’, smoke-’em-if-you-got-’em vibe at every other Buffett show I’ve been to, this was a lot tamer, though in one of the tailgate villages I walked through, I saw people taking tequila shots out of the nipples on some topless pirate lady mannequin. Maybe all the real partying was going on in the RVs?
Tailgating in the lots surrounding the Tundradome cost $40, which sounds like a fortune to park a car but a total steal if you’re parking an RV (or life-sized pirate ship) and then setting up an entire backyard patio’s worth of furniture. Not to mention a bar and a grill, plus cornhole boards branded in various college logos – it’s hilarious and amazing to see the work people put into driving home the concept of “Jimmy Buffett Fan.” It was genuinely surprising not to see a hot tub, although there were plenty of kiddie pools and one large, circular, five-person inflatable thingie that looked like it was designed for people to float in a lake and eat brunch without getting wet; three college girls sat in this under a shade erected between neighboring motor homes drinking wine and bottle water.
It might not have been my favorite Buffett concert I’ve ever been to, but it was no less memorable. I’ll chalk that up to unintended sobriety. Next year I’ll spend more time in the parking lot beforehand.