So two days before Friday, which would be Wednesday, my friend Richard got hold of two free tickets to see Jimmy Buffett at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, New York. These were great seats: Orchestra, Row S, Seats 1 and 2, $156 apiece. When he called me, it was a given: We were going. I mean, hell, this is Jimmy Buffett, king of the Laid-Backs, ambassador of the Conch Republic. The only catch? Richard wanted to watch from his boat, anchored in Zach’s Bay, next to the amphitheater, where Buffett fans with boats raft-up and party. So we ditched the tix idea and planned a boat trip.
Sure, the scene in the arena is fun. Imagine navigating through 15,000 land-bound Parrotheads gathered in one parking lot. It’s like running through a forest of Hawaiian shirts. Or no shirts. It’s all encouraged, along with leis, skin that’s never seen sunscreen, beer, margaritas (Buffett’s “Margaritaville” is the Parrothead anthem), meats grilling, foam parrot hats, and generally an affinity for the island life and for any gently rebellious behavior toward city living.
I’m a Parrothead. But like Buffett, I am also a die-hard boater. If given the choice, who wouldn’t want to go by boat? Here’s what it’s like.