Jimmy Buffett performed on Thursday night in St. Louis for the first time in eight years. Tickets for the Verizon Wireless Ampitheater sold out in record time. Read the below show review and check out our slideshow of Parrotheads in the Parking Lot.
4:35 p.m. Tuesday: Find out the RFT will not get press passes from Live Nation to Jimmy Buffett. Tickets have been sold out for a month. Take a deep breath and convince myself it's not that big of a deal. Hell, we haven't listened to any Buffett music for days. Maybe it's just a twenty-year phase and we're over it now. 4:38 p.m. Tuesday: Who are we kidding? Our father/daughter dance at our wedding not three weeks ago was the kind of random ''Little Miss Magic.'' Crap.
4:42 p.m. Tuesday: Against our better judgment, we troll Craigslist.com. We're excellent judges of character, and will pick a legit buyer. Or end up raped and killed after going to meet some dude in a parking lot with a fistful of cash. 4:43 p.m. Tuesday: Seriously doubting the legitimacy of the sellers on Craigslist. That's two T's in Buffett, people. Geez.
9:06 p.m. Tuesday: Have sent an inquiry to a person whose e-mail address is Dark Café. Was hoping for someone with a name like SunshineHappiness7 or LegitBuffettFanNotSerialKiller1. Hey, sometimes in life you have to take chances.
10:04 a.m. Wednesday: Dark Café has e-mailed back. Thinking. 7:06 p.m. Wednesday: Find another Craigslist posting from a dude who says he's been to fifteen Buffett shows. Requests interested buyers to call his cell phone in the morning.
9:32 a.m. Thursday: Call guy from Craigslist. He says he has two tickets he'll sell at face value ($90 for the pair). He says he works out near Westport and asks if we can meet him in the parking lot across from McDonalds. ''My name's Robert,'' he says. ''Robber?'' we respond. ''No. Robert.'' Robert says he has a blue Chevy Avalanche. We call one of our friends to tell her the make and model of the car lest we are never seen or heard from again.
9:40 a.m. Thursday: We call new husband and tell him we have tickets. We try to make meeting a stranger in a parking lot for a money exchange sound not at all unsafe. He's not buying it and says he's coming with us. Awww. 12:04 p.m. Thursday: Have tickets in hand! Am not raped and/or killed! Which is a huge bonus! Tickets seem real. I mean, the guy was already wearing a Margaritaville Polo shirt, so that's got to mean something.
4:02 p.m. Thursday: Buy a couple extra clothes at Rag-O-Rama for the show. Get new husband a pink muumuu with flowers all over it. It is awesome. 7:40 p.m., Thursday: We are in line in our car to get in to the show. We've been sitting here for almost an hour and a half. Some people are cutting into line, which is totally contrary to the spirit of Buffett. But then, so is being annoyed with it. We have another beer. (No, we aren't driving).
8:08 p.m. Thursday: Riverport – er, Verizon Music Whatever – is swamped. The concert was the fastest sellout in the venue's history and the Parrotheads seem to have created a small city-within-a-city. It is a city with absolutely no fashion sense, where everyone seems to be in line for a beer. Or the bathroom. Buffett has started playing a mix that involves ''Hot Hot Hot.'' Hmmmm. We don't mind missing this one. We'd rather pee.
8:20 p.m. Thursday: In the beer line. Buffett still hasn't launched into any of the good stuff yet, which is fine by us. And although it pains us to say it, Buffett sounds a little flat. He references how long it's been since he's been to St. Louis (eight years) and how it's good to be back, but we get the feeling he's just saying it because that's the nice thing to say when you haven't been somewhere for nearly a decade and then you sell out a 20,000-plus seat amphitheater in twenty minutes.
9-something Thursday: The show has really picked up. So far, the highlights for us have been hearing ''Miss You So Badly'' (wherein he rhymes usually rhymes ''Gong Show'' with ''Zorro,'' but has changed it to ''South Park'' and ''Crackberry's gone dark.'' Ha!) as well as ''Cowboy in the Jungle.'' ''Cowboy'' is not a super well-known song, but it's nice in a sweet, life-affirming way. And according to this guy , it's the first time it's been played since a New York show in 2000. We're really glad to be here. (The set list is available here, too.) Rest of the night: ''One Particular Harbor'' is epic. Though there's no intermission, there are a few solos by backup singer Nadirah Shakoor – who can hit some amazing high notes – and Jake Shimabukuro. The crowd is polite, but this has clearly taken some wind out of the night's sails, so to speak. There is a nice reception for St. Louis natives Jim Mayer (who plays bass) and Roger Guth (drums) when they are introduced. A note about the set: As just the second stop on his U.S. tour, Buffett noticed there was no Hawaii on the map as he was referencing a song about….Hawaii. Kind of funny.
As per usual, the second set is big on Buffett's better-known songs: ''Changes in Latitudes,'' ''A Pirate Looks at Forty'' and naturally, ''Margaritaville.'' He did a couple of encores (''Fins'' and a cover of Dylan's ''Rainy Day Women #12 and 35'') but ended on kind of a weird song: ''Defying Gravity.'' Though we knew all the words, it's not very popular, and it's kind of a cyclical melody that seems custom-made to send people on their way.
Overall, it was Buffett. And to us, it's hard for that to be a bad thing. As far as the tour called the Year of Still Here, you bet he's still here at 61 years old. But to us, he seems to have lost a bit of that spark. Or maybe we weren't as drunk as we usually are at these shows. Again, it was a good night, and it was great to hear some songs from waaaay back that we think only we know – and then look around and see that in this weird community, we are just a little fish in a big pond o' sharks.
Post Script: We gave a beer to a random guy in the parking lot after the show, and it turns out he's a captain who teaches sailing lessons! We're totally e-mailing him later on today. We'll keep you posted.