Photos © Jeff Cohen at Moonshine Images, Mark Guinn and Tammy Camp
Jimmy Buffett’s Workin’ n’ Playin’ concert at Stubb’s BBQ in Austin, Tx
A small venue and a surprise concert in the heart of downtown at the famous Stubb’s BBQ. Tickets went on sale a week beforehand and luckily a number of Central Texas Parrot Head Club members snagged tickets, including a very happy me!
Waiting on Jimmy
Fearing long lines to get in the door and being stuck behind tall people, I stepped into the Stubb’s BBQ Will Call line at 2:30pm. Wow. I’m the 14th person in line? Score.
Already surrounded by friends, new and old, the 2 hours pass quickly with a few (hidden) beers under the shade tree. Not bad for sidewalk tailgating.
When the doors open, we’re quick to the front row, stage left (thanks to Phriends who saved us a spot). With 3 hours to hangout before the concert we pass the time consuming margaritas and getting to know our very close neighbors. Running the gauntlet through a few hundred people to get to the bar and back wasn’t too bad and front row is definitely worth the effort.
Jimmy Buffett Concert
“Look what rolled in with the flood!” Jimmy Buffett announced with contagious energy as he and the Coral Reefers took the stage at 8pm. I’m starting to get suspicious… Austin has a history of major weather phenomenons when Buffett comes to town.
The local flooding and damage were on his mind and after opening with “License to Chill” he announced the proceeds from his concert will be donated to the area flood victims. A great reminder … it’s always a Party with a Purpose for Parrot Heads.
Here’s the 20 second clip of Jimmy Buffett giving back to our Austin community:
Claiming to be “just a bar band” Buffett’s well known hits dominate the set list.
The Parrot Head anthem, “Margaritaville” has a special place in the hearts of our local Parrot Heads. We call Austin the “Heart of Margaritaville” because it really began here back in the 70’s. Jimmy explains he came to Austin by an invitation from Jerry Jeff Walker and although things have changed “it’s still one of the greatest cities on planet earth mostly because music is part of the soul of the city.”
He still remembers sitting in Austin and writing his most famous song.
I flew to Key West and finished it there.
And it turned out to be a pretty good beach song.”
Yes it did.
Buffett included “Fins”, “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, “Son of a Son of a Sailor” and “Come Monday” for the standard songs-you-know-by-heart. When introducing Mac McAnally as filling in for Alan Jackson’s part of “It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere,” Mac tells us he will be this evenings “generic stand-in.” With Mac’s rich voice, I’m always happy he’s the stand-in guy.
Bantering with us in the crowd, Jimmy hit the nail on the head when he asked why there isn’t a direct flight between Key West and Austin. Something I ask myself often. As Jimmy said “we can keep hoping and wishing” but since Southwest stopped flying to Key West a few years ago, I don’t think it’ll do us much good.
During one of the best mainstay songs of the night, “Pirate Looks at 40” the crowd sing-a-long sounds pretty dang good for 2500 people harmonizing (if you were there you might see yourself in the crowd):
Buffett’s set list is shorter, most likely due to noise curfew on a Tuesday night in downtown Austin. This cut out a number of songs from the Workin n’ Playin’ set list, but the unique Stubb’s BBQ venue makes up for it. The set list includes a number of cover tunes. “Southern Cross” is always a hit and it’s been a favored cover in a number of tours. With a nod to Lyle Lovett and his talent as a songwriter, Buffett gave an upbeat rendition of “If I had a Boat” saying he wished he’d written the song.
Taking us down to the tropics with “Off to See the Lizard”Jimmy gave Austin a new geographical definition as the “northern edge of the Caribbean.” Might be stretching it but for this one night, I believe it! We are treated to one of my favorite songs, “Blue Guitar” written by Peter Mayer.
For my third small Jimmy Buffett concert (all within the greater Austin area) it’s thrilling to experience front row again. It’s a different vibe when he nods your way (maybe to you or maybe it’s the guy next to you) but it feels personal as though we’re both having fun together. And honestly, I worry he won’t be touring much longer and I’m going to miss these unique moments. Especially, the acoustic closings.
As with last year, the encore is only Jimmy Buffett and his guitar which is even more intimate in the limited venue. Barefoot and bouncing to “We Are the People our Parents Warned us About” reminds us we are the crazy phriends who stand for 8 hours (without even noticing) to revel in the ultimate concert up close and personal.
Finally, Jimmy closes with “Tin Cup Chalice,” a wishful song of islands, beer and oysters. As if on autopilot, we raise our glasses, “With a tin cup for a chalice. Fill it up with good red wine and we’ll be chewing on a honeysuckle vine.”
I’m hoping and wishing we get to do it all over again next year.
See more photos in our Jimmy Buffett Stubb’s BBQ Concert gallery.