Part 2 in the 2015 recap series of the annual Parrot Head convention & Trop Rock Music week.
Click here to see the Part 1 photos and recap: Day 1 & 2 Annual MOTM Parrot Head & Trop Rock Music Week Highlights
Thursday Nov. 5th
Around Key West
The island is buzzing and everyone’s talking about Jimmy Buffett performing for the Parrot Heads attending the 24th Annual Meeting of the Minds convention, but that’s not happening until 8pm. Trop Rock and Parrot Head events are happening across the island all day and all night, even while Buffett is performing at the Casa Marina.
Millie Marie Taylor continues her daily tropping in town, starting out at Dante’s with the Tampa Bay Parrot Head Club at their 8th Annual Pool Party with The Trop Rock Junkies. Great fun with games and spirits for all to enjoy. Next stop is catching the action at the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon for the talented Scott Kirby and guests (John Patti, Jimi Pappas, Todd Trusty, Freddy Quistgard, Rob Mehl) and the Northeast Parrot Head Club Bloody Mary social.
Next up is Robbie Meade and friends (Mike Mangum, John Friday) playing at Rum Barrel followed by an early schedule shift change with Bill Cockrell solo. While most folks were at the Casa with Jimmy Buffett, Millie and the rest of the fans ran wild on the island from the Rum Barrel to Island Dogs (with Wes Loper & Eric Erdman) to their take over at Willie T’s for Kelly McGuire’s All Star Jam. Closing out the night with Jim Morris and the Big Bamboo Band at Smokin’ Tuna.
At the Casa Marina
Early afternoon at the Casa Marina most Parrot Heads are hanging out on the beach, taking a dip in the pool or watching the Trop Rock music performances on the beach stage. Girlz Rule (Lynley Tolls, Heather Vidal & Kristie Bobal) are a blast of fresh style on the Trop Rock front with so much energy, grace and fun. These three ladies know how to put on a performance.
PHIP (Parrot Heads in Paradise) is known for bringing in past Coral Reefers to the convention. This year included on the main stage, Roger Bartlett, the original guitarist in Jimmy Buffett’s band. Bartlett stands in the vast space of the large stage and proceeds to fill the air waves with his unique sound. A little jazzy with rock and a touch of blues? It’s eclectic for sure. Joined by John Frinzi on the keyboard, the two rock out as Bartlett showcases some incredible guitar moves.
The Southern Drawl Band takes the stage and lead singer Mike Nash is burning with excitement. He tells us this is his dream come true to open for Jimmy Buffett. The guys, along with Melanie Howe, Trop Country Rock the stage for an hour and half with Mike continually thanking Parrot Heads for getting them here to this exact spot in the band’s career. Although we all know their talent and hard work is why they have this spot on the stage, his heartfelt sentiments and awe of the moment is endearing.
As Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers take their well known positions on stage, Buffett gives us that infectious grin and shrugs his shoulders like he shows up at Parrot Head events all the time. One of the first things Buffett tells us is: His gift to us is they’ll be playing the album A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean. I couldn’t think of a better gift. Watching Buffett perform songs he doesn’t play on a regular basis is a real treat.
Even better? He tells us the stories, some we’ve never heard before. Here’s a few (condensed):
- He paid the Hattisburg mini mart back with $200 he shoved under the door late one night, 20 some odd years later on his way to play the New Orleans Jazz Fest.
- Jerry Jeff Walker doesn’t recall writing “Railroad Lady” with Jimmy Buffett. They actually wrote it on a train.
- Buffett arrived in Key West in 1972 and apparently partied his first night in town, woke up the next day and didn’t know where he was. So he and his new friend grabbed a bottle of wine and hopped the Conch Train to see the town. Inspiring the first song he wrote in Key West, “I Have Found Me a Home.”
- A one-armed piano player in Chicago, Eddie Balchowsky, is who Buffett wrote “He Went to Paris” about.
- Buffett being booed for his first set at a show in Chicago came back with the second set and did Elvis imitations, getting the crowd “on the tables.”
The untold stories, the obscure songs and an intimate feel of a house concert even in the large setting makes this one of Buffett’s best concerts. There’s simply no way to capture the essence of these moments, when Buffett shares the stories of his life that intertwine with his songs. All I can say is… You just had to be there.