So I made it to the Jimmy Buffett concert in Dallas tonight.
It was the first Buffett show I’ve seen in several years and I can’t remember when I saw him last. I saw him in Atlanta in ’98 and I’m sure I’ve seen him in Dallas since then but I can’t remember. For those who don’t know, he tours annually and always sells out all his shows. It was amazing to see so many younger concert-goers there. Buffett fans have introduced their children to his music (and books) and now it seems many of them come on their own. There were a lot of youngish (under 30) people around me, and right next to me were a group of about 4 young guys, about 19 or 20. I think one of them’s mom brought them. She was “being cool” and giving them beer. They seemed to really be into it, they knew some of the words and were yelling “we love you Jimmy.” They whipped out their cell phones when “Margaritaville” came on so that some other friend could hear it. They were saying thinks like, “Yeah man, we’re really here! Can you hear it?”
Buffett wrote two children’s books (actually, he co-authored them with his daughter, Savannah). A movie is set to be released, called “Hoot,” for which Jimmy recorded the soundtrack and he also has a role. It’s a kids movie and I might have to see it, but I think this will continue to endear him to younger audiences.
After so many years of albums and touring, there aren’t many surprises left. Each tour used to have elaborate sets and they would rework a couple of songs to do something special with. One of the shows that stands out in my mind was called the “Outposts” tour. The show was interspersed with short pre-recorded film clips involving Walter Cronkite making “news” announcements about savage attacks by the “DRALS” (Disco, Rap and Lip Sync) that Jimmy was trying to save everyone from. In the middle of the show, there was a film clip involving Jimmy flying a plane (he’s a pilot) and he is under attack from the DRALS. All these album covers of awful music are hitting the windshield and we see them as they pop up. Milli Vanilli, Vanilla Ice, stuff like that. It was hysterical. The best part was when he was calling for “mayday” and Harrison Ford opened the cockpit door and asked, “did someone ask for help?” Jimmy replied, “no thanks, I’ve seen how you fly” (a reference to the plane crash from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom).
Now, they have a nice set and just kind of run through the songs. Not as much emphasis seems to be placed on making the songs sound as good as they can anymore, so therefore this show was not one of the best I’ve seen. But, it was still satisfying. After 26 original albums (not counting the compilations and live albums), there is no way he could play a 2 hour show and play everything I want to hear. No “He Went to Paris” or “Great Heart” or “Island” tonight.
The last couple of times, I have gone alone. Tim was good enough to go with me once, and I’ve been several times with my brother and once with my parents (I took them). Ticketbastard sucks, and as everyone knows and Layton and I re-confirmed recently with our efforts to get Rolling Stones tickets, the scalpers get most of them. But, I have found I can just go to a local ticket scalper (it infuriates me that they have brick & mortar buildings) and get a single seat towards the front for not a lot more than face value of the ticket. Today, I saved myself that trouble on eBay, and had a little fun to boot. Right after Buffett tickets went on sale and I couldn’t get any (because they “sold out” within about .7 seconds), I looked on eBay. I was shocked to find that the scalpers already had their tickets for sale on line (wonder how that happens!). Anyway, within a week or so, I bid on a single ticket in the center, about 18 rows back. The guy was asking $299 for it on the “buy it now” option. With these you can sometimes make an offer, which I did, at $199. I had decided I didn’t want to pay any more than $200. Face value is $110, and by the time you add Ticketbastard convenience charges, it’s around $140. I figured a $60 premium wasn’t too horrible.
Anyway, the seller declined my offer. I didn’t give it anymore thought until today when, lo and behold there is the same ticket for sale by the same seller. He’s now begging someone to take it for $179. I offer $125. He writes back that he’ll take $150, because he had $144 invested including his eBay ad. So, I gave in and gave him $150 for it. That’s probably what I would have paid at a local scalper’s office.
There should really be an investigation about these scalpers – if they acquire the tickets through the same means as everyone else, that’s one thing, but if they have a back door in as I suspect they do, then that is just plain wrong.
There were people out front of the show selling tickets, I guess these are $200 tickets that didn’t sell otherwise. Next year, maybe I’ll go down there and see if they’ll unload one for $20 as the show is starting.
Anyway, it was wonderful to be there with my hero. 🙂