By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Parrothead Blogger
Note: This sadly turned out to be Jimmy Buffett’s last concert before he died in September. The show was in May 2023.
I sure am glad I was in town.
Jimmy Buffett’s makeup concert – he proved to be a man true to his word when he canceled due to an illness in the fall and vowed to reschedule – in San Diego was pure, vintage Buffett from the tailgate party to the music to the man himself.
He performed at Snapdragon Stadium, the new football facility for nearby San Diego State University in May and nearly sold out the 35,000-capacity venue.
On stage, Jimmy and the Coral Reefer Band sure did enjoy entertaining us. When they were not singing, they were smiling. Jimmy moved around on the stage just as he has done his whole touring career, tho he did have a couple “senior moments” when acknowledging being in San Diego. It was obvious he was reading off a teleprompter and flubbed a couple of song introductions. But that was okay, of course; once he laughed it off and said “heck, let’s just play the song.”
@pubclub.com Changes in Lattitudes, Changrs in Attitudes Isnt that so true!? #jimmybuffett #buffett #jimmybuffettconcert #pubclub #sandiego #concert #funtime ♬ original sound – PubClub
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The songs he played included “Growing Older But Not Up,” “Fins,” Boat Drinks,” “Changes In Attitudes,” Margaritaville,” “A Pirate Looks At 40” with “Southern Cross” being the encore. In all, he played for an hour and a half from 9-10:30ish with only one five-minute break “for wine!,” he said, when he cleared the stage for longtime Coral Reefer Mac McAnally.
The Jimmy Buffett Tailgate Party Scene
While the concert was great, it really just served as the salt on the margarita rim or the floater of a boat drink, which is the case with all Buffett shows. This is because, as any Parrothead knows, the real attraction to Buffett shows are the tailgate parties.
It was awesome. In fact, it reminded me of the good ‘ol Buffett tailgate parties at Irvine Meadows up in L.A. (I used to take a party bus to that show every year.) The parking lot is huge, even larger than that of Irvine which now, alas, has condos and no amphitheater. The motorhomes and buses were on one side and the cars and trucks were on the other side of the two lots.
PubClub.com got there by 3 p.m., using the convenience of the trolley which has a stop at the stadium. That proved to be perfect timing as we were able to easily cover the entire area several times without being rushed.
There were five rows of buses and motorhomes, most of which had pop-up tiki bars set up in front of them with some giving out Jell-O shots, others offering shots using water skis and another group giving out all kinds of shots after having people spin a prize wheel.
Party central was one motorhome which had the local San Diego Jimmy Buffett tribute band, Thejimmysbuffet, play for 2-3 hours. Heck, from there they should have moved on stage to warm up for Jimmy because they would have been a lot more appropriate than the Buffett buzzkill slow-moving Jason Morz, which was the pre-Jimmy warmup band. Jimmy’s Buffet had its own warmup band, a pair of awesome steel drum players, the Mango Jam Steel Drum Band. Here’s Thejimmysbuffett Facebook page by the way.
@pubclub.com Jimmy Buffett tailgate ski shots! There is nothing like a Buffett show. #drinkshots #jimmybuffett #tailgateparty #tailgating #pubclub #partytime #partying ♬ original sound – PubClub
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The tailgate crowd was made up of a lot of Buffett concert veterans, including one gentleman I met who – get this – was at his 200th show. Heck, people marveled when I told them my number was around 65 but I’ve got nothing on him. “The first 150 were easy,” he told PubClub.com. “It’s taken some time to get to the other 50.”
An encouraging sign for future Buffett concert fans was that there were several people in their 20s and 30s in addition to the 50s-and-up crowd. Not long ago, when I mentioned to a 20s-something girl in a bar about the upcoming Buffett show, she snapped back at me, “I’m too young to like Jimmy Buffett.” Maybe she’s just to much of a bitch to like Jimmy Buffett.
I think that’s the case. Because even as we are “growing older but not up,” Jimmy Buffett concerts are a heck of a lot of fun and it all starts with the awesome tailgate parties. After a so-so tailgate scene at Anaheim’s indoor arena a couple of years ago I was thrilled to experience an Irvine Meadows-type of scene in San Diego.
Rest in Paradise Jimmy.