Jimmy Buffett brings 'Songs From St. Somewhere' tour to Tampa

Jimmy Buffett brings 'Songs From St. Somewhere' tour to Tampa

mclear@bradenton.comApril 17, 2014 

Not too many performers can claim a more loyal following than Jimmy Buffett.

For some reason they're called Parrotheads. Probably all the Parrotheads know why, and probably no one else cares.

They turn out in force for every Buffett concert, and they'll no doubt pack the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Saturday when their man brings his "Songs From St. Somewhere" tour to town.

Parrotheads share some common traits with Deadheads, those resolute hippies who followed the Grateful Dead around the country. They're both harmlessly cultish groups who live for music that almost everyone outside their ranks finds profoundly annoying.

The Parrotheads favor margaritas and beer over the illegal substances that Deadheads seemed to choose. And the white stuff on a Parrothead's face is likely to be salt.

But there are some other differences as well.

Deadheads are almost instantly unrecognizable, even away from concerts. Tie-dyed shirts, sandals and unfashionably long hair are only a couple of obvious traits.

Parrotheads walk among us, virtually unrecognizable. They're lawyers and accountants and dentists and they don't go around talking about their devotion to a multi-millionaire businessman who extols the virtues of wasting one's life getting drunk on a beach.

But there are some telltale signs for identifying a Parrothead in the wild. Just for fun, here are a few.

1. The skullet. Buffett's big hits came decades ago, and his fans have been following him since then. The men are losing their hair on top, but they're holding onto their youth by keeping it long in the back, as Buffett himself sometime has.

2. The "I'd Rather Be Sailing" bumpersticker. Even though no one has ever once see them on a boat.

3. The shirt choice. It's either a pristine Hawaiian shirt or a pristine T-shirt that says "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere." Often covering a second-trimester beer gut.

4. The credo. Parrotheads passionately advocate being laid-back. Especially the surly, hot-headed Parrotheads.

5. Flip-flops. If you see them anywhere but the beach, chances are they're on the feet of a Parrothead.

6. Big straw hats, which they didn't start wearing until after their stage-3 melanoma.

7. Calluses on the feet, cultivated for better sand-dancing at beach bars.

8. A collection of koozies, mostly festooned with lines from Buffett songs.

9. If you're still wondering of someone is a Parrothead, ask him what he thinks of Jimmy Buffett's cover of Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl." If he doesn't say it's an affront to all that is good and holy about popular music, he's probably a Parrothead.

10. Reaction to jokes about Parrotheads. They're self-effacing enough that they don't write nasty emails when a newspaper has some light-hearted fun at their expense.

Details: 8 p.m. April 19, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301, Tampa. Tickets: $46.50-$158. Information: 813-740-2446, www.livenation.com.

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.

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