Monday 26 Sep 2016

Fins Up
Matt Seinberg

It was 1977. I was working on my college radio station, WNYT at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, New York, when I first played Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville,” the first single from the album “Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude.”

I was blown away by the story, and envisioned myself on some tropical island with some sort of rum drink and lots of blondes in bouncing bikinis running around doing whatever I wanted.

Although I wouldn’t call myself a “parrot head,” the affectionate term used for the legions of Buffett fans that get to shows hours before it starts to tailgate in the parking lot, eating lots of food and drinking lots of Landshark beer and Margaritaville tequila. I’ve tasted the tequila. It’s quite good.

Over the years, I’ve been to enough Jimmy Buffett concerts to consider myself a true fan. Most have been at the Jones Beach Theater, but I’ve also seen him in the Nassau Country Memorial Coliseum, and at Madison Square Garden, the legendary venue in New York City.

Each show has its own special vibe and feel, depending on the audience, and if Jimmy released a new album prior to the tour. The 2012 tour is titled “Lounging on the Lagoon,” because no new album released this year.

Buffett cut back his touring schedule and only performs on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays. Thus, getting tickets the day they go on sale is difficult, if not impossible. They always go on sale on Monday, and I have a regular chiropractor appointment, so I had to figure out a way to buy tickets.

Three years ago I asked one of the managers at work if I could use their computer, so that made it easy. Then two years ago I got an iTouch. Live Nation has an app to buy tickets and its ties in with my Ticketmaster account.

I’m flat on my back, getting worked on by the rolling massage table and I order my concert tickets. How cool is that? I never order the most expensive tickets, but I don’t go for the nosebleed seats either.

In 2011, I go through the routine again. The minute I hit the pay button, I realize I made a huge mistake! We were leaving for vacation the next day, and I knew my wife wouldn’t want to go to the concert. When I got to work, I asked anyone if they wanted the tickets, but there were no takers. On Wednesday, my friend Joe and I were talking, and he offered to buy them.

As it turned out, it rained parrots and manatees that night. Joe and his wife left after three songs. I’m lucky I was on the cruise ship, sipping a tropical drink.

For 2012, I made sure the vacation and Jimmy tour dates didn’t line up before I ordered the tickets. This year we went on vacation before the concert.

As it turns out, my friend Joe also got tickets to the show, and left work at 2 pm and was in the parking lot by 3:30 pm. I didn’t get out of work until 5:45, and didn’t hit the Field 3 parking lot until 7:15 pm. This parking lot is about a 20 minute walk to the theater and it feels a lot longer after the show.

I have to admire a guy like Jimmy, he makes an estimated $100 million a year from music sales, restaurants and tours. As I like to say, it’s a nice job if you can get it.

Buffett’s music is often described as “gulf and western,” a play on words since his musical roots are from the south and country music, and all his songs have a Caribbean sound.

We went to this year’s concert feeling good and I had on one of my wild tropical shirts. You can’t go to a Jimmy concert wearing anything stodgy. It was a beautiful night, and Jimmy and the band were feeling the energy of the audience, and showing their love for Long Island. Jimmy owns a house on the east end of Long Island, which is one reason why he loves to play at Jones Beach.

The songs that everyone expects, and wants to hear are “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Margaritaville” and “Fins.” What??? You haven’t heard them? Well, go get a greatest hits CD and listen!

It was in 2003 that Jimmy finally got his first award for his duet with Alan Jackson on “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” from the Country Music Association for Vocal Event of the Year. That song title is now used anytime someone is thinking about a drink, and it may be too early. The answer is then, “Hey, its five o’clock somewhere!”

I think my idea of a fun vacation would be hanging out with Jimmy on the Caribbean island of St. Bart’s, and doing whatever it is that Jimmy does. I don’t care what it would be, I’m sure it would be fun. We could revel in each other’s tales of life and love, music and debauchery, and what we want to do when we grow up.

So to the entire world loyal parrot heads, Fins Up!

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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