Parrotheads Miss Irvine Meadows But Adapt To Anaheim Venue For High Tide Tour
Grass skirts, tropical hats and pop-up tiki bars popped up in Anaheim and not Irvine Meadows as Jimmy Buffett played a Southern California concert on warm and sunny October Saturday.
The location was the Honda Center
Once again, PubClub.com arrived aboard a party bus from Hermosa Beach.
As it has no single large parking lot like Irvine Meadows, the Honda Center officials did something ridiculous – they designated only one lot for tailgating and charged people a whopping $165 – $165! – for buses and motorhomes to park there. They sold spots in advance and thankfully for us, it was sold out and we parked our bus in another lot for $40. Unless you were hosting a parking lot party, there was no reason to have paid that high fee.
So a big thanks to those who forked over the money so all Parrotheads could enjoy what makes Buffett shows so special and different, the tailgate party.
The Tailgate Parking Lot Scene
The lot was about a quarter the size of the main motorhome area at Irvine Meadows, and there were five rows of tailgating. Two rows were rocking and PubClub spent much of our time parked on a couple of bar stools at a large and very comfortable pop-up tiki bar.
We then spent an hour jamming with seemingly everybody else on another row listening to and drinking to live Buffett music by Huntington Beach musician Alac Bauer, who was playing in front of a motorhome. He led a frenzy of fun, past the setting sun in the distance and almost right up until it was time to go inside the arena. He was provided courtesy of the Orange County Parrothead Club.
There were colorful signs pointing to tropical destinations, several pop-up tiki bars, a ski shot, a spin wheel and the usual wild hats worn by loyal Parrotheads.
Eventually we were joined by the ever-present Jimmy Groovy, who is a Los Angeles and Las Vegas fixture; this guy dresses up like vintage Buffett of the 70s and he looks pretty darned close to Jimmy.
The lot opened at 10 a.m., and we arrived about 3 (hey, we had a pre-party at Sharkeez in Hermosa!). Unlike Irvine, we drove right in with no traffic. The lot was about half full. That was surprising. It seemed to fill up by about 5.
The Anaheim PD officers on duty were exceptional. They were roaming around but out of the way. When people went up them they smiled and posed for pictures, at one time even allowing Parrotheads to put leis on them.
Overall, it was fun but not the frenzy of Irvine Meadows. How could it be with a lot that’s nowhere near as big as the former home of Buffett concerts and Lion Country Safari, which is now a home to a lot of residents as condos are parked where motorhomes used to be twice year.
Enjoy the photos!
Honda Center, unlike most every venue where Buffett plays, is an indoor venue. It is the home area for the Anaheim Ducks NHL team.
As an indoor sports area, it’s fine but it’s not good for concerts. The seats, while comfortable, are small and space is tight. The rows are so small the people behind you practically have their knees against your head.
As such, there was no room to stand up and dance and everyone pretty much had to stay seated and not move. Which, of course, is hard to do at a Buffett show!
Concert prices were out the roof: $16, $18 and $19 for a beer and $12 for a tiny plastic cup of wine.
Security personnel were friendly and efficient. At one gate, they were asking Parrotheads to remove their headgear. Entry was through the “doorway” metal detector and girls had to use the clear plastic purses.
Honda Center is across the street from Anaheim Stadium, which is not in use this time of the year because the Angels did not make the playoffs. It has a huge, continuous concert and it’s outdoor. If Buffett comes back to the Los Angeles area, he should play there instead of Honda Center.
He’s still got it. At 72 years old, Buffett sounds pretty much the same he always has, no crackling voice, no loss of range. And the Coral Reefers don’t just dial it in; they play with the same spirit they have had have for decades.
The set list included several classics such as “Son of a Son of a Sailor” and “Banana Republic,” which long-time Parrotheads appreciated.
The show lasted a little less than two hours and only included a brief break by Buffett as he excited the stage about halfway through it. The music continued non-stop, tho as Robert Greenidge played on the steel drums.
All in all, it was fun and entertaining, just like all Buffett shows.