A Parrothead Enjoys The Tailgating Scene, The Show & The Last Party Bus
It would be easy – very easy – to be sad.
But why be sad when you can be happy and celebrate!?
That was my attitude heading into, during and even after the last Jimmy Buffett concert at Irvine Meadows on Oct. 22, 2016. A developer is tearing down the legendary amphitheater to put in condos (in fact, it’s already underway as the water park is no longer there), ending a decades-long run of Buffett shows and one of the best tailgate parties on tour.
It also marked the end of me organizing party buses to Buffett. After all, there’s no other venue for the party buses to go for Buffett in Los Angeles. The Hollywood Bowl and Greek Theater have no parking lot for Parrotheads, there’s no point in going to a show at those venues.
As any Parrothead knows – and as a few “Buffett virgins” on this last party bus quickly discovered – Jimmy Buffett concerts are all about the parking lot. Heck, I’ve seen Buffett enough times that I don’t really need to see him again, but partying with fellow fun Parrotheads is something I’ll take whenever I can get it.
And Irvine Meadows’ huge parking lot was tailor-made for Buffett shows (even though it was originally built that way to serve the warterpark and also a drive-thru zoo) so this year I charged into it as soon as the party bus doors opened – and I took our group photo, of course.
The Irvine officials did not open the parking lot until 4 o’clock and it took another 45 minutes or so to get into the venue (traffic control was never not a strength of the Irvine PD or this venue) and the sun was going down over the hill so I wanted to waste no time in getting in some daylight activity.
And charge into it, I did, along with a few other busmates, including a trio of the Buffett virgins. At first, they cautiously approached the Buffett trivia tiki bar, but one of them eventually caved and lifted up her shirt for a shot.
Moments later, another was squeezing a Jell-O shot down her throat.
Obviously, they quickly, they adapted to the tailgate scene at a Buffett show.
Mainly, I wandered around, talked to fellow Parrotheads, went up to the tiki bars, got a huge tequila shot from a rifle-looking contraption poured down my throat, found a guy who sold me a lawn seat for 40 bucks (it was legit and many people had paid $70-80 for them on-line!), had my photo taken with Jimmy, Hillary and Donald in the most creative photo op of the day and stayed in the parking lot well after Buffett took the stage because I wanted to treasure every moment of the, well, moment.
And while yes, I’ll miss it, I’m sure glad for the memories that Jimmy and all the creative, fun and lively Parrotheads have provided through the years.
I did receive my first scar – to not in a Bourbon Street bar – from a Buffett show. On the party bus on the way home I pinched a finger on a cooler reaching for a beer and it ripped off part of the skin.
But hey, if that’s all the pain I suffered with all the pleasure I’ve got from Buffett shows at Irvine through the years, then I came out way ahead, of course. By the end of the night, we were all “Living And Dying In 3/4 Time” anyway.