About the only thing missing from Jimmy Buffett's annual lawn party at Merriweather Post Pavilion this weekend was his trademark walrus moustache. Backed by a rousingly festive rock-cum-steel drum band, the clean-shaven singer again celebrated life as an endless vacation, a notion that the crowd feverishly embraced.
And you can chalk up the size of Saturday night's capacity crowd to word of mouth. For while Buffett hasn't exactly lit up the record charts in the '80s, his concerts are still de rigueur for would-be beach bums.
Not that there weren't some silver moments along the way. For all the success of "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburgers in Paradise," songs that still elicit romping ovations, some of Buffett's best songs are ballads like "A Pirate Looks at Forty." He added another reflective tune to the list, "That's What Living Is to Me," one of several songs he played on acoustic guitar with little or no accompaniment.
Mostly, though, Buffet sang of life in the fun lane, turning out one steel-drum-ringingly sunny anthem after another. Several of the band's stalwarts, including harmonica player Greg (Fingers) Taylor, keyboardist Mike Utley and percussionists Robert Greenridge and Sam Clayton, joined Buffett and recent recruit Marshall Chapman in making sure the crowd's spirits never flagged.