It was his first Buffett concert, he squirted me with that gun.
June 26, 2011—
Children have the best dreams. They are pure and sometimes scary and what these visions lack in ambition they make up through innocence.
A Jimmy Buffett concert brings out the child in everyone—-if you are a willing participant.
Buffett is not for everyone. He is proud to play the role of jester, and his crowd is often an intoxicated court. He will never be Pitchfork-approved, but I argue music is a random adventure. Sometimes you eat steak, other times chicken, maybe pasta, or Thai. Some nights I like to hear Jimmy Buffett. Other nights I prefer Curtis Mayfield.
This soft toss game was called “Pin the Johnny on Jimmy.”
After 30 years of these affairs, my memories at each concert are stirred like the ceiling fans at Sloppy Joe’s in Key West.
There was the road trip to Poplar Creek with former Quiet Knight club owner/timeless hippie Richard Harding and then-Bulls guard John Paxson and his wife; all in my car. Harding had fallen off the enterainment grid and Buffett called an audible.
At the last minute he included the ballad “He Went to Paris” in his set, a nod to the Quiet Knight’s Eddie Balchoswky. Buffett wrote the ballad about the one-armed painter-poet who during the 1970s worked as the day man at the Quiet Knight. With his omnipresent pens and pencils in his tattered shirt pocket, the white bearded Harding was surprised and happy. I remember the tear in the eye of Harding’s daughter.
Not long after that a courtship led to a New Year’s Eve show with Buffett, the Neville Brothers and Black Elvis at the just-opened Margaritaville Cafe down the street from Sloppy Joe’s. I think of marriage and divorce and an Alpine Valley concert where we didn’t drink because of a pregnant girl friend.
Children’s dreams don’t consider the passages of time.
Sometimes I remember things I lost in Colombia, on the way home I thought of the nurse I met from East Troy, Wis.
She was grateful I was armed with Leinenkugel’s Sunshine Wheat. She had a beautiful Wisconsin accent.
I thought she was asking me for some “Sunshine Weed.”
There’s been the discovery of the Steel Crazy steel drum band of middle-aged women from Sugar Grove, Ill. (they were in the parking lot on Saturday afternoon playing “We Will Rock You”) and Reed Carlson’s “:Tiki Truck,” a restored 1933 International Model B-3 fire truck repainted tropical yellow.
My life seems to be an endless calendar of Come Mondays.
On Saturday night I didn’t sit far from Jim Mullen, the former Chicago police officer who was paralyzed by a bullet in 1996. The bullet entered Mullen’s right cheek, bounced off his jawbone and loged in his neck, penetrating his spinal cord. I glanced back at him as Buffett sang “One Particular Harbor.” Mullen smiled. Maybe, for that moment, he was young again.
I keep going back because I’m still a kid.
There is a lid for every crooked pot.
Here’s a few more of my favorite images of Alpine Valley 6/25/11.
I’ll come back to them when I’m feeling old and cynical.
30,000 people at Alpine doing that “Fins” thing.