Friday, April 20, 2012
Review: Jimmy Buffett pre-concert tailgates were sparse, but concert was packed (April 19)
By most accounts, the venue was an improvement.
DALLAS Jimmy Buffett fans leisurely made their way to Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas on Thursday -- the first time in five years that the concert didn't take place at Frisco's FC Dallas Stadium. Whereas the Frisco event had a carnival-like atmosphere that attracted 30,000 people, many who didn't go into the concert, the Dallas event this year was much more like the laid-back beach party Buffett sings about.
A few hours before showtime, only a handful of really elaborate RV set-ups were blaring Caribbean tunes and playing parking lot games. The majority of the thousand or so tailgaters lounged in hammocks or worked the grill; one woman calmly read a book in the back of her SUV, sipping a fruity drink. The fact that the concert fell on a Thursday instead of a Saturday probably also contributed to the late start.
Last year in Frisco, thousands of RVs set up 36 hours before the concert, and thousands more spent the night after the concert sleeping in campers or in the backs of their cars. The parking lot party boomed on well into the early morning hours.
Despite the smaller crowds before the 2012 Buffett show, many people said the party at Gexa was better. Free parking didn't hurt.
"You've got camaraderie here -- more actual Buffett fans here than you did in Frisco," said Jerry Dale Dobbs, who proudly showed off his friend's decked-out trailer to passersby, pausing for several photo ops. A hardcore Buffett fan, Dobbs said he and his friends wouldn't return to Frisco if it were held there again this year. He had a bad experience after the tires on his car were slashed late one evening last year.
Many other tailgaters seemed surprised by the relatively calm crowd, which eventually swelled about an hour before showtime. And as men in coconut bras and women dressed as pirates made their way into Gexa, there was hardly any room to spread out a blanket inside the concert venue.
The Dallas show was focused on the concert, where the biggest of fans came early and stayed late. The others? Well they were just there for the margaritas.
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