Rick Keene Music Scene – Montreal Becomes Margaritaville

Who is looking for their shakers this morning ?

Gathering outside MTELUS before the Jimmy Buffett concert were Hawaiian and Caribbean style shirts along with a few grass skirts.  Which meant only one thing; the loyal fan-base called The Parrotheads were here to support Jimmy Buffett. This was a special night since Buffett has not performed in Montreal since 1977 when he opened for The Eagles. 

At 8:10pm, Jimmy Buffett and his band known as The Coral Reefer Band casually walked on stage to raucous applause. Licence to Chill. Jimmy was quick to mention that this concert was going to be a Holiday since that was the name of the second song. In fact, throughout the show, Buffett wanted everyone to feel it was the weekend. The song Volcano sent that message with an exclamation point. The tune; complete with the sound of a rumbling volcano. Guitarist Mac McAnally, a professional on acoustic, paired vocally with Buffett on the tune It’s Five O’clock Somewhere. The Beach Boys would be proud.

Regardless of the fact that there was no production, minimal lighting or stage presence, Buffett and his band along with the audience were having a fun. Jimmy parlayed his joy in both official languages. Buffett spoke often in French much to the glee of the Francophones in attendance. Buffett also switched guitars as much as he switched languages all night yet his mentioning of Canadian icons (his heroes) Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen was the salt in the Margarita for the Canadian audience. If the punters were not hooked yet; Buffett’s rendition of the Leonard Cohen classic Suzanne sealed the deal.

Buffett kept The Jazz Festival alive with a couple of Jazz – styled tunes. The aptly named Jazz Police Bar portion of the show saw Buffett sitting on a stool with a glass of wine and two backup singers. Nadirah Shakoor and Tina Gullickson were simply joyous as they displayed their range in a brand new song. 

Cheeseburger in Paradise was a surprise. Buffett et al put on a much more rocking version than the audience is used to . Another new song,The World is What You Make It was so great with it’s infectious  singalong chorus “La, la, la, la, la”, as good as any of the classics Buffett has delivered. All hands were in the air waving left to right for Fins. The show’s closer, of course, was Margaritaville. The encore then began with a Van Morrison cover of Brown Eyed Girl and Buffett was joined by a young violinist for the closing tune. Her accompaniment enhanced Buffett’s acoustic on L’air De Louisiana and the audience were left smiling.

Buffett’s first show in Montreal in forty-four years was a generous two hour and fifteen minute gift. Let’s see how long it takes for him to come back and find his lost shaker.

Written by Ron Roxtar

ronroxtar@yahoo.com

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