Friday, October 19, 2007

Music that Makes Me Happy

Last night I had the roughly annual pleasure of seeing Jimmy Buffett live. This was the second time he's played at the historic Fillmore Auditorium (They no longer have their own website, darn it, so you'll have to settle for this Wikipedia article for now.), and the second time I've seen him there.

It was a good show, but it can't live up to the Really Awesome Show he put on the first time he played there in 2005. That was a terrific experience. He was obviously thrilled to be there, and had put together several special numbers with the band that resonated with the venue, covering tunes by the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Neil Young in addition to his usual fare. Last night he managed to put in a few specials, but he mostly stuck to the set list he's been touring with.

I suppose the other "special" aspect of the first show, other than it being such a first, was that the show was a fund raiser to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans has a special place in Jimmy's heart, as he grew up on the Gulf coast, so it was pretty cool to help him try to help those folks.

Being in a smaller venue (I believe the Fillmore holds something like 1200 people) means the concert is a much more intimate experience than the ones in the big barns with 15,000 people. It makes it possible to watch the faces and interactions of the band members, which is fun. And it lets you just space off with the music. Toward the end of the show, he played the song "One Particular Harbour," which always transports me:
And there's that one particular harbour
Sheltered from the wind
Where the children play on the shore each day
And all are safe within
I remember quite vividly seeing my one particular harbour on my first trip to Palau. It was our "honeymoon" (a year before the wedding), and we went past this absolutely perfect, gorgeous little spot on one of the islands. I later found out that's where one of the Palauan chiefs lives (or one of his places, anyway). Just a small, simple house with a beach, surrounded by palm trees in the tropical sun. Nice.

But I digress....

Anyway, Jimmy did some fun stuff. In place of his traditional "Why Don't We Get Drunk?" song, he commemorated the 21st birthday of one of the attendees with a serenade from Bob Dylan, which I never knew was called "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35." But the crowd all seemed to know the chorus really well. And he kicked off the second half of the show by performing "God's Own Drunk," which he rarely does any more. That's a fine old bit (originally by Lord Buckley), featuring a moonshiner, a still, and a bear. Doesn't get much better than that.

Except they followed it with a solo number by one of the long-time backup singers for the band, Nadirah Shakoor. She covered one of Buffett's older, less well-known songs, "Wonder Why We Ever Go Home," and I must say, it sounds quite a bit different when she does it. Quite nice.

Oh, and if you want to know what a professional thought of the show, here's the review from the San Jose Mercury News. See? it wasn't just me! It was a great show.

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