Review: Buffett keeps faith with fans on 'This One's for You' tour
The video opening to Jimmy Buffett's July 23 concert at First Niagara Pavilion showed parking-lot photos as if on the displays of cellphones and digital cameras that then morphed into images on the pages of a scrapbook.
That might have been the point of the “This One's for You” tour: To steal from one of the man's recordings, “These moments we're left with, may you always remember,” and the Parrothead faithful do. Where else, when you look out on the crowd, do you see a sea of smiles? And the one's who aren't grinning from ear to ear? That's because they're singing along. Or cha-cha'ing down the row.
Some highlights? Breaking out “School Boy Heart” seemed a popular choice, an “audible” on the set list, Buffett called it. The Internet boards say Buffett hadn't played that in concert since 2012. “Bama Breeze” had strangers swaying together like long-lost kin. And the late-in-the-concert inclusion of “One Particular Harbour” had some in the crowd dancing in a mosh-pit-like fervor, as they knew the night was winding down and, like the performers, they were putting their all into the home stretch.
The Coral Reefer Band was sharp as always, and Mac McAnally got to show why he's been named musician of the year six times by the Country Music Association with a scorching rendition of the Duane Allman instrumental “Little Martha.” Judging from the number of people with cellphones out, the video's probably available on a YouTube channel near you.
Adding to the memory-making feel of the evening was a new member of the band, guitarist Peter Mayer's son Brendan. The youngest Mayer got to share a couple of lead guitar lines with his dad, filled in on percussion and got a moment in the spotlight with the song “Something to Say,” a breezy summer anthem sort of song he wrote with Reefer drummer Roger Guth. Buffett stepped back and picked up a tambourine for that one.
The crowd ranged in age from 5 to at least the 70s, a span Buffett noted during the final encore.
“Thanks for raising your kids on this music. ... Kids, thanks for bringing Mom and Dad to the show.” With the weather a little cooler, the promised storms skipping the Burgettstown area and a music-filled night with family and friends, it was, indeed, a “Lovely Cruise.”
Vaunda Bonnett is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.