Absent from the bluegrass state since 1990, Jimmy Buffett’s reintroduction to Kentucky was no less than memorable.
Much to delight of the 17,000 Parrotheads in attendance, Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band rocked the KFC Yum! Center Saturday night with a 27-song set lasting over two hours.
The energy in the arena was electric as Buffett, barefoot and bedecked in a bright yellow t-shirt and blue shorts, took the stage, opening with the popular, Piece of Work, bringing the crowd to its feet for the first of many times in the evening.
Buffett followed a short but honest 3-song set by special guest Ilo Ferreira, an artist that Buffett himself found on the small island country of Cape Verde, off the coast of West Africa.
Coming onstage at just about 8:30 pm, Jimmy commented to the crowd, “Well, I know what those people in the high seats are doing!”
Buffett’s playfulness continued through the night as he panned on Alan Jackson’s “mistake with his mustache” to introduce Pencil Thin Mustache, and on himself, calling his tumble from an Australian stage in January of 2011 just a change is latitude (a spoof on Buffett’s popular Changes in Latitude song)
Halfway through the show, Jimmy queried, “You don’t think we’re done yet?”
The 65-year old megastar was far from tuckered out as he continued to drive home fan favorites, introducing each with a spirited story and a whole ‘lotta puns.
An entertainer for the masses, the Yum! Center was filled to capacity with an audience that spanned generations from great-grandparents singing the lyrics to 8-year-olds dancing in the aisles.
Festooned in coconut bras, leis, and enough bright-colored homemade wackiness to outfit a small country, concert-goers chose to leave reality behind and hang out in Margaritaville for a while. “Spring break begins TONIGHT!” Buffett proclaimed.
With a charisma wattage that out-ranks the sun, Buffett smiled and bantered with the crowd and his band with the ease of a man hanging out in his own living room. But then, after a career stretching over forty years, perhaps that is to be expected.
Inspired by his own Kentucky connection, Buffett waxed poetic on his history with the state, reminiscing of a side trip he took while living in Nashville to Mammoth Cave. This lead-in kicked off the formerly controversial God’s Own Drunk, much to the delight of the enamored crowd.
Buffett left the stage briefly to put the spotlight on Reefer Band member Nadirah Shakoor, with the band since 1995, who belted a poignant rendition of Creola, in memory of songwriter and long-time Reefer Ralph MacDonald, who died from lung cancer in December of 2011.
With a flawless mix of memorable ballads and high-energy favorites, Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band, including the renowned Mr. Utley, on keyboards with Buffett since the band was formed in 1975, kept the audience in the island groove with well-picked selections such as Come Monday, Volcano, Margaritaville, and Its 5 O’clock Somewhere.
The audience was again brought to its feet as Buffett brought down the house with a wild and raucous rendition of audience-favorite, Fins. 17,000 fans were singing and swimming in solidarity as the island legend jammed with the band.
Two encores and fifteen minutes later, Buffett finally closed out the set with a solo acoustic version of He Went to Paris.
With a few quick autographs, and a heartfelt nod to the audience, Buffett and his personal bodyguard left the stage and the lights came up on a revived and exuberant crowd…one that even the massive backlog of bodies leaving the Yum! Center and snarls of downtown traffic couldn’t bring down.
Welcome to Fin Land Tour Louisville, KY song set:
- Piece of Work
- License to Chill
- 5 o’Clock Somewhere
- Pencil Thin Mustache
- Boat Drinks
- Havana Daydreamin
- Changes in Latitudes Changes in Attitudes
- Grapefruit-Juicy Fruit
- Come Monday
- Cheeseburger in Paradise
- One Particular Harbor
- God’s Own Drunk
- Bama Breeze
- Son of a Son of a Sailor
- School Boy Heart
- Last Mango in Paris
- Knee Deep
- A Pirate Looks at Forty
- Back Where I Come From
- Southern Cross
- Encore-Brown Eyed Girl
- Encore-Another Saturday Night
- Second Encore-He Went to Paris
Image: Courtesy BuffettWorld.com