Buffett brings Summerzcool to Boston

A review of Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band at the Comcast Center on June 25, 2009

, Managing Editor

Jimmy Buffett is many things: musician, sailor, surfer, entrepreneur… but professor? Yes, you read it right, the Renaissance man took on the educational role as he led his Parrothead students through the course of his latest tour “Summerzcool” at the Comcast Center on Thursday night.

The show kicked off in epic proportions as a two-man team pumped up the crowd, dancing around to “Hot, Hot, Hot” and launching t-shirts into the sea of spirited, ridiculously dressed fans. A Jimmy Buffett concert is surely the only place in the world where a grown man can wear a plush parrot on his head and receive high fives instead of snickers and stares. As the Parrotheads are always a joyous bunch, but the appearance of the sun on Thursday definitely got the party started early. Buffett fans treat his shows like a celebration and it was clear that they were there to have a good time as the parking lot scene beforehand had more drunks than AA.&

Even though the fans had plenty of fun for themselves in anticipation of Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band, there was plenty more to be had once the band took the stage. Joining the Coral Reefers for the show was ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro who opened the set playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" on his instrument with accompaniment from Robert Greenidge’s steel drums. Dozens upon dozens of beach balls bounced through the crowd as Jimmy took to the tropical themed stage. He stuck to the theme of the show for most of the night, referring to the Coral Reefers as professors and handing out grades for the crowd reaction (receiving an A of course). His new song “Summerzcool” appeared early in the set and pumped up the crowd with such lyrical genius as “You need to go to Summerzcool- Beer 101, Sex 102”. The boozy theme continued with guitarist Mac MacAnally taking over Alan Jackson’s part as he dueted with Jimmy on “5 O’Clock Somewhere”.

Buffett, who is famous for ad libbing lines of his songs, tossed in some humor with references to Tom Brady and the Red Sox during “Mañana”. A long string of set staples followed, starting with “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” which featured a Google Maps-looking graphic on the giant screen that zoomed all the way in onto the Comcast Center. Next, Jimmy cheesily reported “volcanic activity in the area” (funny, I didn’t see any volcanoes on the map) as the stage got smokey and the steel drums of “Volcano” jeered a huge response from the Parrotheads. The crowd continued to sing along for “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and “Come Monday” before Buffett taught “Polynesian studies” with his ode to Hawaii “One Particular Harbor”. The topical “A Lot to Drink About” closed out the first set before “recess” with verses touching on the economy and war, and was boosted by freshly added lines about adulterous South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.&

After the intermission Jimmy joined Jake on ukulele for Bob Marley’s “One Love” after a video of people around the world collaborating on the reggae classic. Picking up where they left off, “Grapefruit Juicy Fruit” and “Last Mango in Paris” had the crowd right back in the swing of things before guitarist Ilo Ferreira joined the Coral Reefers for his beautifully positive “Home Again” that quickly won over the crowd.&

Buffett’s new track “Surfin’ in a Hurricane”, with it’s Dick Dale vibe, preceded a couple covers in Crosby, Stills, & Nash’s “Southern Cross” and the Grateful Dead’s “Scarlet Begonias”, which Buffett played to prove “Dead Heads are just like Parrotheads in Massachusetts”.

Jimmy decided it was time for the senior trip since “everyone passed all their classes” and took the students to their favorite place, “Margaritaville”. Another fan-favorite “Fins” closed out the second set before the band returned with some Beatles flavor as “We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About” segued into “Twist and Shout” and was followed by “Yellow Submarine”. The two and a half hours of madness then ended quietly with Buffett alone on the stage for “Tin Cup Chalice” but was followed by more noise as a tropically-warm ovation sent off their captain, or in the case of this night, their principal.&

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