April 30, 2011
Kansas City, MO USA
Review by David Huff
Photos by Tim Bischoff
Jimmy Buffett - "Welcome to Fin Land" Tour
Normally, attending a Jimmy Buffett show sends me into a day long drinking frenzy. However, this occasion was a bit different - not the drinking - but the drinking buddy, who happened to be my mom. Yeah, I haven't been to a concert with my mother in 23 years, when Michael Jackson decided to open his first solo tour in Kansas City. This particular excursion promised to be another infamous journey into the unknown, because let's face it, when Jimmy Buffett comes to town, it's time to kick out the jams. And kick them out my mom, along with 17,000 others, most certainly did.
I knew this was going to be an interesting adventure before I even flew into town to escort mom to the Sprint Center. When she wouldn't leave before she found her favorite purse, I knew something was up. The excited sounds of "I found it!" confirmed it. As I walked into the garage to see my mom's discovery, I saw her pouring vodka into a flask. "Hey mom, they are going to check your bag before you go into the arena." My mother continued pouring and remarked, "Oh, don't worry honey. The purse I found has a false bottom in it. I hide booze there all the time." Well, at least one Huff was now fully prepared to toast the Parrothead King when he made his grand entrance.
Let's face it, there's a sense of euphoria one feels knowing they are going to attend a Buffett concert. There's just something about the event that brings out the inner wild child in normally sane adults. For the eclectic crowd that had come to pay their respects, they wasted little time shedding their skin to reveal their inner party animal. Tropical-themed hats of all shapes and sizes dominated the landscape inside the arena. One enterprising guy taped a Beenie Baby parrot to his bald head just to prove his loyalty to the son of a son of a sailor man.
The one thing that really impressed me about this particular performance was the homework Buffett did on the area before he stepped out on stage. When he hollered out to the crowd "We aren't in Kansas anymore Toto, we're in Missouri!" the observation was right on the money. The Sprint Center is located on the Missouri side of Kansas City. After reminding the crowd of his own unintentional stage diving incident in Australia, Buffett also pointed out former Kansas City Chief football player Ed Podolak, who had recently recuperated from his own freefall accident as well. He even sent a video crew outside the facility to film all the fun and frolicking that was going on. The footage was then displayed on four separate screens that ringed both sides of the stage during "Changes in Latitude." This attention to detail wasn't lost on the crowd, who cheered his every observation.
Anyone who has ever ventured out with friends to attend a Buffett show will always tell you the occasion is an adventure all in itself. That's why he continues to sell out shows. The brilliant way in which he has combined country, folk and pop music with tropical lyrical themes, has swollen his fan base instead of shrink it. I don't need to go into the songs the Coral Reefer Band performed through the evening. I really don't need to describe the joy in the people's faces that were genuinely happy to be there. It was a night to forget about high gas prices, rising inflation, foreclosures and rising unemployment to concentrate on one single thought - having fun.
It had been 14 years since Buffett last ventured to the Kansas City area to perform. The crowd not only toasted their hero repeatedly, they reveled in every glorious moment of his presence. Whether he ever makes it back to this evenly divided border city that sits on the Missouri / Kansas state line remains to be seen. Regardless, it was one night where race, age, profession, height, weight or sex just didn't matter. These people were there for a good time, and through 27 songs in two and a half hours, they most certainly did. Why, even mom discovered that Mountain Dew and vodka doesn't taste too bad when you're among friends dancing and singing the night away.
The Wino and I Know; Brown Eyed Girl; Off to See the Lizard; Havana Daydreamin'; It's Five O'clock Somewhere; Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes; Life is Just a Tire Swing; Come Monday; Peanut Butter Conspiracy; Son of a Son of a Sailor; School Boy Heart; Cheeseburger in Paradise; One Particular Harbour; Use Me; Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season; Jolly Mon Sing; Woman Goin' Crazy on Caroline Street; Volcano; Bama Breeze; Margaritaville; A Pirate Looks at 40; Back Where I Come From; Fins; Southern Cross.
Encore: The Great Filling Station Holdup; Last Man Standing; Lovely Cruise.