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Reviews : Jimmy Buffett's Fans Outshine Him

June 22, 1989|STEVE HOCHMAN

Here's a tip: Next time Jimmy Buffett comes to town, buy stock in garish tropical print shirts.

That--along with caps sporting shark fins--was definitely the fashion statement Tuesday as Buffett, pop's foremost nautical nabob, and his Coral Reefer Band played the first of two nights at the Universal Amphitheatre. (The crew also docks at the Pacific Amphitheatre for shows on Friday and Saturday.)

Would that Buffett's music were as colorful as his fans' attire. Tuesday's offerings had the general hue and consistency of a pina colada. In nautical terms, Sailor Jimmy is a dead calm.

Yet the audience made the show seem like a rowdy frat party. What was all the shouting about? Apparently these people find Buffett's gift for clever (though hardly insightful) turns of phrases and the notion of floating in the Tropics something to get excited about. But that paradox almost makes sense: It's just the kind of "go-figure" occurence that Buffett likes to write about.

The most impressive thing about the second-billed Neville Brothers was how the New Orleans institution got the predominantly white audience to sing and clap along on its tribute to civil rights spark Rosa Parks, perhaps even connecting with the idea that "our freedom fight" was as important to whites as to African-Americans.

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