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Jimmy Buffett Plays Paris Shows: "I'm Getting Back to My Roots"

September 22, 2008 11:55 AM ET

Over the weekend, Jimmy Buffett helped kick off fashion week in Paris by bringing the Parrothead nation — decked out in grass skirts, coconut bras, Hawaiian shirts and goofy homemade hats — to the city of lights for two shows at the legendary New Morning jazz club. Loyal fans flew in from all over the world for the pair of intimate gigs that reminded Buffett of the "days when this was as large a crowd as we would see."

Buffett first came to Paris 34 years ago, at the behest of some friends in Key West, Florida, that were working on a film with a French production team. "Paris had been on my song line since I was a kid reading Fitzgerald, Gertrud Stein and Hemingway — I just had to figure out a way to get there," he says. The movie needed a soundtrack and Buffett wound up spending the summer living in a castle an hour outside of Paris, "learning the language and the bohemian lifestyle." He has been coming back regularly ever since.

The two shows this weekend each had a feel of its own as Buffett and the Coral Reefers worked through diverse set lists that drew from his entire catalog and covers that included the Grateful Dead's "Scarlet Begonias" and Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35." While the Parrotheads reveled in hearing apropos cuts such as "Coast of Marseilles" and "Frenchman for the Night," it was the classics "Cheeseburger in Paradise," "Fins," "Volcano" and "Margaritaville" that rocked the New Morning. Throughout the shows Buffett bantered with the delegations that had trekked in from New Zealand, Italy, Brazil, Norway and even Abu Dhabi. "I'm just getting back to my roots as a troubadour and bar singer," Buffett says of the experience.

Answering the chants for "one more song," Buffett concluded both nights much the same way his career began — onstage by himself, in a small club, playing a great ballad. It was the moment the faithful had waited for all evening. The magic of Buffett is that in five minutes he can transport a crowd back to a 1960s Bourbon Street bar or the Quiet Knight in Chicago where he found the inspiration for his final song, "He Went to Paris." Buffett promised the Paris shows would become an annual engagement and also said to expect more interesting gigs in 2009. He returns to the U.S. on October 16th in San Diego, California, for a four-show mini West Coast tour.

Jimmy Buffett Paris Set Lists:

Night 1 - Friday, September 19, 2008

"Brown Eyed Girl"
"Coconut Telegraph"
"Fruitcakes"
"Miss You So Badly"
"Knees of My Heart"
"Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes"
"Grapefruit Juicy Fruit"
"Volcano"
"License to Chill"
"Come Monday"
"Son of a Son of a Sailor"
"Autour du Rocher"
"One Particular Harbour"
"School Boy Heart"
"Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw"
"Music for Money"
"A Pirate Looks at Forty"
"Cheeseburger in Paradise"
"Southern Cross"
"Margaritaville"
Encore:
"Fins"
"We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About"
Solo:
"He went to Paris"

 

Night 2 - Saturday, September 20, 2008
"Stars on the Water"
"Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude"
"Gypsies in the Palace"
"Jamaica Mistaica"
"Pencil Thin Mustache"
"Volcano"
"Son of a Son of a Sailor"
"French Man for the Night"
"Cheeseburger in Paradise"
"Scarlet Begonias"
"Banana Republics"
"Making Music for Money"
"Boat Drinks"
"One Particular Harbor > La Vie Dansante"
"Pirate Looks at Forty"
"Last Mango in Paris"
"Southern Cross"
"Margaritaville"
Encore:
"Fins"
"Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"
"Coast of Marseilles"
"Beatles Medley"
"It's Five O'clock Somewhere"
"Brown Eyed Girl"
Solo:
"He Went to Paris"

Related Stories:
Jimmy Buffett's Expanding Empire: A Guide
Q&A: Jimmy Buffett - Not Wasting Away

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