Big Jimmy Buffett fans call themselves Parrotheads. I had heard of Parrotheads over the years and, I have to say, I just didn't get it. But on Sunday night I went to the Jimmy Buffett concert at Wrigley Field. I can now say that I would be proud to call myself a Parrothead. I won't wear the funny clothes, though. I just don't look good in Hawaiian prints and silly hats. It was one of the better concerts I've been to (and the only concert I've gone to in the last 10 years). It was great, not so much because of the quality of the music (Buffett's good but I wouldn't call him a great musician) - it was the atmosphere. It was being at Wrigley on a beautiful, end of summer evening. It was the colorful outfits, people having a good time. It was the overpriced margaritas.
I went with a girlfriend from work who got the tickets from her boss who got the tickets from Forbes Magazine (we advertise in there a lot). Thanks Forbes! This is a woman that I've known for several years but it's only recently that we've gotten to be more than "Hello in the hall" friends. Now we're "Let's have lunch and talk about our kids" friends. Her recent promotion has us working together more often. We had a fabulous time - we danced and sang along and talked over the noise until our voices were hoarse.
There were a lot more "AARP-eligibles" in the crowd than I would have guessed. I would say the average age was 35 to 45. Virtually everyone around us was singing along to every song. Given that I have no Jimmy Buffett albums and have never been to one of his concerts, I was surprised that I knew most of the songs or at least had heard them over the years. I didn't realize it but Jimmy Buffett is a big part of the musical fabric of my life. (Cue music - "Memories") It's the kind of music that was played at college parties and bars. Not to sound corny, but it really is the music of good times. You can't be depressed listening to Jimmy Buffett. Even his last encore - a nice rendition of Arlo Guthrie's City of New Orleans accompanied by a slide show of New Orleans street scenes (before Katrina) - didn't bring the mood down. It was an uplifting celebration of what was instead of a mourning of what's gone. Maybe it's too early for that, I don't know. But it was beautiful and touching and not the least the bit sad.
My favorite song of the night - and I know this is predictable - was Margaritaville. Partly because it's the only song that I know all the words to. Partly because it was a great crowd experience - you just know that every last person in the stadium knows that song by heart and hearing everyone sing together is powerful. Even if it is a silly song. (Gosh - can I say that and still be a Parrothead?)
On that note - I'm going to order a greatest hits album. No self-respecting Parrothead would be caught dead with a Jimmy Buffet-less ipod.