Review: Jimmy Buffet at Verizon Arena 

Jimmy Buffett

March 1, Verizon Arena

It's good to be Jimmy Buffett. He's got his own brand of beer, Landshark. And his own bar/restaurant chain, tequila brand and Sirius-XM radio channel, all named Margaritaville.

He doesn't have to work that hard. He played 33 concerts last year and has played or announced only 17 this year. And when he decides to come to North Little Rock, the concert sells out seats in 90 minutes — the norm wherever he plays. All that with only one Top 10 pop hit (you know the one).

Not to mention his business attire is long shorts, a T-shirt and no shoes. And he commutes in a Dassault Falcon Jet 900 — a sweet ride he picked up in Little Rock a while back.

A good friend once astutely pointed out that Jimmy Buffett sells much more than music — he sells a lifestyle. It's a lifestyle many ache to pursue — azure waters, lapping surf, an endless supply of cold beverages, a sweet boat, zero cares and a meeting-free calendar. And he's marketed the components of the lifestyle so well — from the booze to the clubs to the merchandise that promotes all of the above.

That astute friend is Keith Sykes, the Memphis music legend who once played in Buffett's band, made a handsome sum of money when Buffett included two of his compositions on "Son of a Son of a Sailor" and was Buffett's co-writer on the popular standard, "Volcano." So his opinions carry some weight, particularly since Buffett-facilitated checks still arrive in his mailbox.

Perhaps the best thing about being Jimmy Buffett, aside from all the money, is that his fans worship him. His concerts are a coronation, not an examination of whether or not he's on his game that night.

So it was March 1, when Buffett and his extraordinary 12-piece backing band —including Arkie-deluxe Mike Utley, his band leader and keyboard player for 30 years or so — were absolutely the toasts of the town, if not the state.

The question was whether the biggest party was inside or outside Verizon Arena. From the huge Ben E. Keith tailgate on the grass outside Dickey-Stephens Park to the west to the jam-packed RV park craziness that stretched to the Clinton Bridge to the east, North Little Rock was alive like it's rarely — if ever — been. The parties started the night before, and by 5 p.m. March 1 it was truly electric, thanks in part to the sunny 70-degree weather.

And then there was the concert, which in no way could or did disappoint the adoring 16,161 who undoubtedly felt lucky to have gotten the chance to pay up to $150 or so (counting fees) for the privilege.

Many of Buffett's songs are fun, semi-throwaway numbers, like "Cheeseburger in Paradise," "Volcano," "License to Chill" and the Alan Jackson duet, "It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere" (which neither wrote), all among the 27-song, two-hour-plus set.

But there's some real meat to others, from the self-realization of culpability that comes out as "Margaritaville" progresses to the reflective "Son of a Son of a Sailor" and "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes" to perhaps the most thoughtful Buffett classic, "A Pirate Looks at Forty," to the pining-for-you love song, "Come Monday," which started it all back in 1974 with the Nashville-insisted, over-produced, orchestrated sound that is so anti-Buffett. All were well performed and enthusiastically received.

Winding down the show, Buffett revisited a couple of his better-known concert covers. "Southern Cross," by Crosby, Stills and Nash, completed the main set. Van Morrison's classic "Brown-Eyed Girl" closed the first encore, with the rollicking "Fins" sandwiched between. The second encore was "Lovely Cruise," another cover that is lyrically apropos for a closing number, particularly for a nautically themed artist: "I'm sorry it's ending. Oh it's sad, but it's true. Honey, it's been a lovely cruise."

Indeed it had.


Speaking of Jimmy Buffett


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Kelley Bass

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in Music Reviews

  • Cher in North Little Rock

    March 28, Verizon Arena
    • Apr 3, 2014
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers at Verizon

    The Red Hot Chili Peppers took a slightly different musical path to its May induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame than most of their fellow honorees.
    • Oct 31, 2012
  • Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Sept. 30

    The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra opened its season Saturday night with a return visit by the 28-year-old violin virtuoso Augustin Hadelich, who had appeared with the orchestra in the Beethoven concerto two years ago.
    • Oct 3, 2012
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation