Rock's old salt Jimmy Buffett dropped anchor last night at Merriweather Post Pavilion, unloading a weathered cargo of hits and near missed accumulated over the past 10 years.
Buffett's concerts no longer hold any surprises, but it's hard to imagine a more relaxed, affable entertainer working a rock crowd. Dressed in a loose-fitting shirt and sporting his familiar walrus mustache, he sauntered onstage with just an acoustic guitar and casually opened for himself, much like he did in his early visits to the Cellar Door.
"Changes in Attitude" brought the first roar of recognition from the crowd, and soon the singer and his Choral Reefer Band had the Hawaiian-shirted multitudes gobbling down "Cheeseburgers in Paradise," wasting away in "Margaritaville" and "Havana Daydreaming."
Buffett skillfully contrasted the raucous crowd pleasers like "It's My Job" and "God's Own Drunk" with some of his most sensitive writing. "A Pirate Looks at 40" was haunting, and his "national anthem for war babies" entitled "We're Growing Older But Not Up" captured a similar poignancy.
In short, Buffett's concerts are like visiting an ocean resort after Labor Day. It may not be the most exciting place to be, but it's a welcome and refreshing change of pace. He returns tonight.