Parrots, sharks, boats, Hawaiian shirts, pirate hats, bottles of tequila, sand and surf — these are just some of the things that adorned heads, bodies and clothing (or the lack thereof) of fans of beloved singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, who played a much-anticipated concert Thursday night at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion.
After a day on the Bangor Waterfront packed with tailgaters and passers-by gawking at the temporary carnival, the concert was really just part of the show — an excuse to put on a silly outfit, crack a couple cold ones and let your hair down.
Buffett, who turns 70 this year, played a two-hour-plus set crammed with hits, fan favorites and a few deep cuts from his 27 albums. From radio standards such as “Margaritaville” and “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” to stripped down acoustic versions of songs such as “Delaney Talks to Statues” and the jaunty “Pencil Thin Mustache,” Buffett is the consummate showman.
Though this was the first time Buffett and his 11-piece Coral Reefer Band have played in Bangor, the singer is no stranger to the state — he’s visited many times on his own, and he has had boats built at Hinckley in Southwest Harbor. From the stage, Buffett remarked that he finally got to play a show in Bangor, and that the seafaring culture in Maine fits right in with his beach-friendly music.
“We finally made it!” said Buffett, early on in his set. “I’ve built boats here, I’ve had fun here, and now finally get to come play here in ‘Bangah.’”
More than 15,000 people crowded into the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, with big lines at the gates, at the T-shirt stand and at the frozen margarita booth — a new addition to the venue for 2016, and likely much appreciated by Parrotheads.
Buffett’s band boasted steel drums, trumpet and other trappings of the calypso and reggae music he borrows from — his music is a hard-to-resist mish-mash of the aforementioned genres, rock, pop, folk and country. One of Buffett’s biggest recent hits is not actually a Buffett song; it’s the song he recorded with country star Alan Jackson, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.” Buffett’s unofficial bandleader, acclaimed country guitarist Mac McAnally, took over Jackson’s vocals when they played that song Thursday night.
The Buffett concert was one of the most popular in the six-year history of the venue and is one of the last concerts set for the 2016 season, with just Miranda Lambert on Aug. 21, Blink-182 on Sept. 3 and Rascal Flatts on Sept. 4 left before the season wraps up. For more information, visit waterfrontconcerts.com.