Jimmy Buffett once again brings Margaritaville to Frisco

By Chuck Cox

Special Contributor

Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett leads his band early in Saturday’s show at FC Dallas Stadium. (Photo: Terry Mathews).

When you attend a Jimmy Buffett concert, there are a few things you can always count on — unparalleled people-watching, way too many beach balls, a little bit of cheesy banter from the main man in between almost every song, hearing seven of Buffett’s “Big Eight,” and one fantastic night of music.

But Saturday’s Buffett show at Frisco’s FC Dallas Stadium was a little bit out of the ordinary for a couple of reasons. One, the opening act. The great Jackson Browne started the show with an hour-long set that culminated with three of his big ones, “Somebody’s Baby,” “The Pretender,” and “Running on Empty,” along with a cover of the Eagles’ “Take it Easy,” which he co-wrote. Since I had never seen Browne before, I was elated to finally get to hear him play. He sounded fantastic. And hearing him play “Somebody’s Baby” immediately gave me Fast Times at Ridgemont High flashbacks. Although I still plan to see a full show by Browne, that was a biggie to cross off the list. I grew up on his mucic.

The other thing that made Saturday’s show a little different was the cool weather. It was so chilly that Buffett sported a couple of jackets over his usual beach bum ensemble. Just like the Rodriguez show the night before, it was incredibly pleasant. And then there was the actual show by Buffett, which returned to Frisco after an odd weeknight stop at Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas last year.

For my money, Buffett is the smartest guy in the music business, for several reasons. The guy is a brilliant businessman, tours every year to adoring audiences, lives his dream beach life the rest of the time, and rakes in what must be an astronomical amount of cash from all of his ventures. And he does it all while seemingly having a ball. That’s evidenced by the fact Buffett has toured every year since 1976. That fact alone is just amazing to me — especially since I was seven years old when that streak started.

But it’s even more than all of that. It’s obvious when you see Buffett play a time or two that he’s legitimately as big a fan of music as he is a maker of it. Although his shows always include seven of his “Big Eight” songs — “A Pirate Looks at Forty,” “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Come Monday,” “Fins,” “Margaritville,” and “Volcano,” which he plays at pretty much every show. The eighth song, “Why Don’t We Get Drunk,” has made its way off that list.

In addition to those sing-alongs, Buffett is always good for a new song or two, and some intriguing covers that change on each tour. This time around, he did Crowded House’s “Weather With You,” Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long (All Night),” Zac Brown Band’s “Knee Deep,” and James Taylor’s “Bartender’s Blues,” which he dedicated to the late George Jones. Each of the five times I’ve seen Buffett, he’s always done Crosby, Still and Nash’s “Southern Cross” and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” too.

Buffett also had a huge video screen behind him. During certain parts of the show, it had images of downtown Dallas, Tom Landry, the Mavericks after they won the NBA title, and the Kilgore College Rangerettes. Very nice touch. Nobody plays to his audience better than Buffett. And the guy is just legitimately great at what he does. For several Parrotheads, and other less enthusiastic fans, like me, seeing him is almost an annual ritual.

I’m sure he’ll continue to tour every year for as long as he can, and the 66-year-old Buffett should be on your concert bucket list. It is truly a live music experience like no other.