You can take the sunshine out of the sky, but you cannot take the sunniness out of Jimmy Buffett.
The poet laureate of all things tropical hit the Target Field stage on Saturday evening in shorts and bare feet, of course. He’s the kind of guy who could sell you $60 flip-flops during a blizzard. He’s the kind of guy who celebrates saltwater, sunshine and sharks even if there aren’t any for miles and miles. He’s the kind of guy who drops local references more often than an out-of-state politician on the campaign trail.
On Saturday, Buffett mentioned that Minnesota is the headwaters of the Mississippi River twice in the first three songs. He gave a shout out to “Minnesota cuties” and “cheeseheads” in “Margaritaville,” and he saluted his pedal steel guitarist from International Falls and his wardrobe person from the Twin Cities.
Buffett took credit for chasing away the forecasted rain, and he deserves credit for getting the estimated 42,185 fans dancing to his cult-loved “Fins” and to a cover of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl.”
The 71-year-old beach bum is all about the vibe and the attitude. Have a drink or three, turn up the easy-listening island- or country-flavored music and let’s party. That’s why thousands of fans turned out in Hawaiian shirts with parrot headgear on Saturday for Buffett’s first outdoor concert in the Twin Cities since 1988. Party on, Parrotheads!
Never mind that the Eagles, who celebrate the West Coast but nothing to do with beaches and boats, were headlining the festivities at the Twins stadium. In fact, it was the first outdoor concert in the Twin Cities by America’s biggest band since 1978, when they set a record with 65,000 fans at Met Stadium, the Twins’ first ballpark.
Oh yeah, it rained steadily that night, but that didn’t stop the Eagles. And neither has the death of co-leader Glenn Frey. Even though it looked as if the Eagles were permanently grounded when he passed in January 2016, co-leader Don Henley, 70, has revamped the lineup, adding country star Vince Gill (a great singer and gifted guitarist) and Deacon Frey, Glenn’s 24-year-old son. And the Eagles have hit the road for 52 concerts in North America this year.
The younger Frey, wearing a Twins jersey, sang the second song of the night, “Take It Easy,” sounding a lot like his dad. And Gill took a nicely twangy guitar solo. The country star also was a suitable surrogate for the older Frey on “Take It to the Limit.” And Henley gave a warm, sincere speech about his buddy Glenn when he introduced Deacon and Gill.
While the well lubricated fans sang along on many Eagles songs (like the “woo-woos” on “Take It to the Limit” and the chorus of “I Can’t Tell You Why”), some concertgers, who paid up to $495 for tickets, did not take kindly to the Eagles’ admonitions to not text or shoot video with phones during their performance.
Welcome to Hotel California, you can check out anytime you like, but you can’t text.
Well, Hotel California and Margaritaville are states of mind that have appealed to baby boomers since long before cellphones.
Look for a full report on the concert and Star Tribune photographer Aaron Lavinsky’s photo gallery at startribune.com and in Monday’s Variety section.