How a lifetime sailing the seas helped Jimmy Buffett find his footing in a pandemic

Howard Cohen, Miami Herald on

Published in Entertainment News

MIAMI — Perhaps it’s a blessing for performer and fans alike that Jimmy Buffett is really the “son of a son of a sailor” he wrote and sang about way back in 1978.

For a person whose reputation as a performer has kept him one of the music industry’s top touring acts since the 1970s despite the shifting tides of taste and trends, Buffett has learned from a lifetime of sea voyages how to navigate being grounded during the COVID pandemic and righting the touring vessel again.

Buffett, who turns 75 on Christmas Day, finds his way back to the stage with his Coral Reefer Band for his first full-scale concert touring presentation since the pandemic began nearly two years ago. Buffett performs Thursday at the iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre near West Palm Beach.

“We were supposed to be here last December, even before that. So it’s been a long time that we were ready to come to Florida. But it sure is good to get back, you know, between everything that’s happened,” Buffett said in a telephone interview with the Miami Herald.

“Everything,” of course, being the global pandemic and it’s ongoing challenges.

“Everybody had to go through the experience,” Buffett said. “There’s a couple things that I take out of it. The first thing was, if you really look back over it and cut through all the bulls— that’s out there and the craziness of the political and everything else that is going on, what it boiled down to me was as somebody that has made their living performing more than anything else until I got lucky in other areas, I always consider that performing is my best quality. And that’s what I really love to do.”


Here’s more of what Buffett has to say about his concert tour:

Q: How do you adjust to no concerts and now life on the flip side, to borrow your title, to getting back out there before full houses on a concert tour?

Buffett: “What happened to me was I sat down and I thought, this is the first time that I can remember — and I’ve only been here 75 years — in the history of the world I can’t remember a time when fun was shut down on the entire planet earth. And I just started thinking that fun is that little piece of contentment that everybody can share, that keeps us from going back into being the tribalistic people from which we came. We can spawn art and literature, those kinds of things. It’s just that little scene between tribalism and not doing anything.

“So when that went away that was a big deal. And so I had to think of it in those terms. As a sailor, I went to my experiences of offshore sailing. When you get over the horizon and now the east coast of Florida coastline goes away and you can’t see Bimini yet, your stressors are that you’re out there by yourself. You better be ready for anything when you do that.”


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