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Jimmy Buffett keeps the tradition fresh

Jim Wilhelm | Tribune-Review
A large crowd stands on the lawn as Jimmy Buffet performs at First Niagara Pavilion near Burgettstown. Fans endured heat and heavy traffic on Route 22.

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Friday, June 29, 2012, 8:08 a.m.


An offering from Pittsburgh's cultural arts and entertainment events:

Some performers play to their audience; some play up to them; Jimmy Buffett plays with his, and Thursday night, his capacity-crowd sandbox was First Niagara Pavilion near Burgettstown.

He's played Pittsburgh for decades, and the former Star Lake almost every year since it opened.

When an artist comes to town that often, the concerts have to toe the fine line between staleness and tradition.

Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band showed again that he's not ready to “finally disappear,” and he's still “Growing Older But Not Up” with some tweaks to favorite songs and stories from past concerts that were kind of like “remember when ...” moments at a great family gathering — albeit, one with copious amounts of food, beverages, games and costumes.

Pittsburgh got it's own version of “Margaritaville 2012” that included references to Terrible Towels, Steeler cuties and “some people says Heinz 57 Sauce is to blame, but I know, it's the cheeseburger's fault.”

While the music was hot, so was the temperature: players toward the back of the stage, like pedal steel player Doyle Gresham and bassist Jim Mayer, had to towel off between songs.

“You want the tropics? We bring you the tropics,” Buffett said near the opening of the show.

For his fans, no one's ready for the heat wave to end.

— Vaunda Bonnett

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