Tropical rocker Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers take the stage at Alpine Valley Music Theatre on Aug. 25. (Lisa Smith photo)

Buffett brings beach party to Alpine Valley

By Lisa Smith

Correspondent

With beach balls, boat drinks and bikinis aplenty, the scene at Alpine Valley Music Theatre on Saturday looked more like a day at the beach than a concert at the outdoor amphitheater.         Jimmy Buffett brought his “Lounging at the Lagoon” tour to Alpine Valley Music Theatre for his 19th show at the famed venue.

The 65-year-old rocker’s return attracted Buffett fans, known as Parrotheads, from far and wide for a just over 2-hour set of island tunes.

Buffett told the nearly 27,000 colorful concertgoers who filled Alpine’s grassy hills that there’s a reason he keeps coming back – “This town knows how to throw a party.”

With Alpine Valley’s gates opening at 1 p.m., partiers spent the day tailgating during the unofficial pre-show party.

From giant inflatables to homemade tiki bars, diehard fans put in a lot of time and effort to create the perfect tropical backdrop.

The standard attire for most concertgoers was Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts.  However, some Parrotheads took their outfits to the extreme with fans dressed as land sharks, pink flamingos and sea captains.

Many concertgoers said Buffett and his music represent a much-needed escape from the stress of everyday life.

After 20-plus shows, Charlie Smith of Mukwonago said the Parrotheads flock to the shows for the experience.

“Every time I listen to him I’m transported to the tropics.  It’s an attitude, a relaxing way of looking at the world.  It helps me remember not to take life too seriously,” said Smith “He’s the reason I learned how to play the guitar.”

For some fans, the show is life changing.

Lori and Bill Chronis of Mukwonago met at a Buffett show and are now happily married.

Rob Reinders of Merton surprised his wife, Cindy, with an official renewal of their wedding vows in the Alpine parking lot before the show.

“My friends and I have been going to see Buffett for the past 10 years. We always have a big group and I couldn’t think of a better place to celebrate,” said Reinders.

People, young and old, came to enjoy a day of carefree fun, many beginning their own annual Buffett concert traditions.

Only time will tell if Buffett will return for a 20th show next summer, but in the meantime his fans plan to keep their fins up and “keep living your life like a song.”

 

 

 

 

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