Our "band" had won at Crue Fest in July, and was one of the winning bands at Rock Band Live last Thursday. I figured that since I was heading to Las Vegas to catch Jimmy Buffett, I might as well try and go for the tri-fecta. So I flew out on Friday on a quest to find the Shark Kart.
Let me say that this was my first Buffett concert experience. You don't just go to a Buffett concert. It is a multiple day experience akin to Mardi Gras. We attended the Friday night party at the Hooters Hotel and Casino called "Last Man Standing". Four of Buffett's band attended as well. John Daly (the golfer) even made an appearance and played guitar and sang lead vocals on one song (real band, real instruments, song was Knockin' on Heaven's Door). He was actually quite good. That party went on from about 4pm until around 2am.
On Saturday, the official street party went on from 11am to 6pm in the alley between the Flamingo and O'Sheas - so just outside the door to Margaritaville. This is where I ran into a Rock Band related snag. The Shark Kart was supposed to be in the parking lot of the venues where Buffett is playing (in this case, the MGM Grand). However, the MGM Grand doesn't hold his official parties any more since he opened his own restaurant (Margaritaville). I wasn't sure where the Shark Kart would be - parking lot of MGM or outside of Margaritaville. I chose the official street party. I never did see the Shark Kart. It was a minor bummer, but I still had a great time.
Then came the concert itself. Jimmy Buffett didn't have any opening bands. He and his 12-member Coral Reefer Band came on at 8pm and played until almost 11pm with only one 10 minute break in the middle. It was by far the best concert I have been to this year - possibly the best since seeing Bon Jovi in the late 80's. He was having a blast on stage. He was very engaging with the crowd. He was dressed in only red swim trunks with white floral prints and a plain yellow t-shirt (no shoes) and referred to himself as "The Keeper of Summertime". Thousands of fans were dressed in grass skirts and coconut shells or in pirate costumes. 90 percent of the crowd could not have passed a breathalyzer, yet nobody got rowdy or in fights (unlike the other two Rock Band related concerts I attended this year). It was just one huge party all weekend.
Getting back to the Rock Band portion of the concert, it was actually pretty low key. During Cheeseburger in Paradise, they showed video clips on the screens to either side of the stage with people playing Rock Band on the custom shark guitar. Overall, there was probably about 30 seconds of footage. None of the footage seemed based on talent, but simply on pure entertainment value. I feel pretty confident that 90+ percent of the crowd had no idea what Rock Band is, and honestly the brief montage didn't go anything to change that.
Overall, the whole weekend was a total blast. It was the break that I had been desperately needing. It was quite the change from Utah. One shining example was the service at Margaritaville itself. In Utah, you can't order a beer while you are waiting for a to go order at a restaurant. It demonstrates an intent to drink and drive. At Margaritaville after we finished lunch, the waitress asked if we would like some drinks to go. Quite the polar opposite.
Even if you are just a casual fan, I highly recommend catching Jimmy Buffett in concert if you get the chance.
So that completes my three-concert Rock Band tour. Friends and family are already asking what is next for our "band". I guess that is mostly up to Harmonix. For now, it we'll have a blast with Rock Band 2 our usual couple of times each month, and look out for the next opportunity to arise.