Jimmy Buffett sails into Des Moines for a fun night with frenzied fans
"Fins to the left, fins to the right..." Jimmy Buffett performs a new version of the classic 'Fins' for Shark Week.
Thousands of Iowans went sailing Tuesday night in downtown Des Moines.
They wore parrot hats and donned flip-flops. They downed margaritas and bottles of Landshark beer. They danced and tossed beach balls, singing songs of cheeseburgers and volcanoes.
And it was all in the name of easy-goin’ songwriting staple Jimmy Buffett.
“Hello, Des Moines,” Buffett said, introducing the show to his Iowa faithful. “Tuesday night is Saturday night as far as we’re concerned.”
Buffett and his band sailed into Wells Fargo Arena for the first time since 2012, bringing along a crowd of 11,900 Parrotheads. The show marked the second of Buffett’s “Son of a Son of a Sailor” 40th anniversary tour, which launched Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri.
Son of a son of a set: Buffett entered to “Livingston Saturday Night,” kicking off his own flip-flops and playing shoeless for the remaining two hours.
The showman and his 11-piece backing Coral Reefer Band transformed the stage into a party boat. Taking fans on a voyage, most songs came prefaced with Buffett’s nautical narration.
He jested of “taking the audience south” before “Knees of my Heart” and insisted the ship “had a few more stops” before heading into the encore.
The setlist stayed true to the “Sailor” anniversary theme, with “Cowboy in the Jungle,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and the album’s title track making waves in the 26-song show.
He threw in a Beach Boys cover, too — 1973’s “Sail On, Sailor.”
“Thank you, Brian Wilson … yeah!” Buffett exclaimed.
The 71-year-old Southerner offered what a fan wants in an arena-sized star. He’s engaging, telling stories of his biggest 1970s and '80s hits. He’s energetic, punting beach balls into the audience.
And he serves his fans, liberally replacing geographical lyrics with “Iowa” and “Des Moines” to much approval.
But Buffett’s best at what he represents: not taking things too seriously. Enter: hangover humor.
“There will be excuse notes left at the door tonight,” he joked. “I didn’t want to affect the economy of Des Moines tonight, but I believe we sold a little beer.”
A splash of Show Ponies: About halfway into the set, Buffett introduced his band’s alter-ego: Daphne Blue and the Show Ponies. Bluegrass Buffett followed, banjo and all.
The four-song Show Ponies medley treated Parrotheads to a break from his traditional (and self-described) “three-chord songs.”
"Deep in the heart of the Coral Reefer Band," he said. "... there’s bluegrass genes."
Opening act Caroline Jones offered a treat, too. Following a four-song acoustic set, she joined Buffett and company for renditions of “Come Monday,” “Trip Around the Sun” and “Coast of Marseilles.”
Brown-eyed encore: Buffett closed the initial set with fan-favorite “Margaritaville,” Crosby, Stills & Nash cover “Southern Cross” and 1983’s “One Particular Harbor.”
Still, he wasn’t leaving without playing his “Brown Eyed Girl” rendition. The band returned for a three-song encore, kicking off the after party with chants of “Sha-La-La.”
1999’s “Love and Luck” followed, with Buffett and company delivering a cover of Bob Marley and The Wailers’ “One Love” to close.
“We’re gonna leave this weather here with you now,” Buffett said. “It’s always a pleasure to see y’all and visit y’all. Have a great summer and happy Memorial Day.”
Livingston Saturday Night
The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful
Knees of my Heart
Cowboy in the Jungle
It's Five O'Clock Somewhere
Sail On, Sailor (Beach Boys cover)
Come Monday (with Caroline Jones)
Trip Around the Sun (with Caroline Jones)
Son of a Son of a Sailor
Cheeseburger in Paradise
Daphne Blue & the Show Ponies medley: Grapefruit-Juicy Fruit/Mañana/Fool Button/Piece of Work
Coast of Marseilles (with Caroline Jones)
Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
A Pirate Looks at 40
Back Where I Come From (Mac McAnally song)
Southern Cross (Crosby, Stills & Nash cover)
One Particular Harbor
Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison cover)
Love and Luck
One Love (Bob Marley and the Wailers cover)