LIVE REVIEW: Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefers Live at Clarkston

DTE Energy Music Theatre, July 16, 2019

Jimmy Buffet and The Coral Reefer Bands, Son Of A Son Of A Sailor tour at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan. Photo by Mike Shaler.

BY MIKE SHALER | Go Venue Magazine

July 16th, 2019, the weather was hot and the off and on rain throughout the day drove the humidity up into the, sweat just standing their level.  But that in no way deterred the throngs of Parrotheads in attendance for Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Bands, Son Of A Son Of A Sailor tour at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan.

Upon my arrival to the venue, I happened into one of the biggest pre-show tailgating festivities for a concert that I have ever witnessed.  This crowd came to party.  Good times were abounding as the drinks were flowing, and the hula-hoops spun round and round.  I’ve never seen so many people leid at a concert, either.  That’s a Hawaiian Lei, you know, the flower necklace.  And so many people busted out their Hawaiian shirts, I even saw a couple dressed in Hawaiian shirt style suits.

If you have never been to a Jimmy Buffett concert, this is something you have to get out and experience.  What seemed like a beyond capacity crowd looking like the world’s biggest beach party as the lawn was jammed with folks sitting on towels and blankets and beach balls bouncing all over the place. 

The interactivity with the songs is what makes a Jimmy Buffett concert so fun.  It’s hard not to get swept into singing along to songs and chanting out, Salt, Salt, Salt after Jimmy sings that popular line, “Searchin’ for my long-lost shaker of salt”, from the song “Margaritaville”.  Or putting your hands together up over your head as you bring your fins to the left, fins to the right, as the crowd all became dancing sharks for the song “Fins”.  Along with so many other hit songs like, “Volcano”, “Son of a Sailor”, “One Particular Harbor”, “Cheeseburger In Paradise”, I could go on and on, there was absolutely no shortage of crowd favorites. 

Coral Reefer, Mac McAnally on the guitar, covered the Alan Jackson lyrics for “5 O’Clock Somewhere” and the Zac Brown parts of “Knee Deep”.   Jimmy surrounds himself with great talent, as many of the Coral Reefers have been with him for decades.  Michael Utley on keyboards, Robert Greenidge on steel drums, Peter Mayer on lead guitar, Jim Mayer on bass, Roger Guth on drums, John Lovell on trumpet, Doyle Grisham on pedal steel guitar, Eric Darken on percussion and lovely sweet backing vocals from Tina Gullickson and Nadirah Shakoor.

I also appreciate how much Jimmy puts a local spin into his songs.  That always makes the crowd feel more connected.  While the song “Where I Come From” was sung, a video played on the screen behind the band displaying small town America with old trucks, mom-and-pop stores and then the crowd roars as Michigan locations appeared and Michigan icons like Bob Seger, Eminem, Stevie Wonder, Kid Rock, University of Michigan, Michigan State University and the Detroit Lions were amongst the gamut of images.  There was also video throughout the night showing all the partying and people in the parking lots earlier in the day.

For two hours, Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefers transported us to tropical islands and lakes for water time fun through song. Events like these are what make you stop to enjoy life and just have fun.  The tour rolls on, be sure to catch the wave and join in on the fun.

All images © Mike Shaler
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