AL.com has a review of last night’s show: “How did Jimmy Buffett please his audience in Birmingham? Let us count the ways.” — Review rating: Four out of five stars.
Buffett, 65, and his 12-member band, the Coral Reefers, hadn’t played in Birmingham since November 2001.
Those Alabama roots provided a welcome focus for Buffett’s headlining set, which lasted about two hours and 20 minutes. He recalled his past in Mobile, inserted Birmingham into various song lyrics, praised the state’s football champs and generally acted like a proud homeboy. Buffett made sure to highlight another Alabama guy in the band, guitarist-singer Mac McAnally. Photos of Alabama were part of the stage design, displayed on a huge screen behind the performers.
Buffett’s playlist, nearly 30 numbers strong, clearly was made for the occasion. It included “Bama Breeze,” “Pascagoula Run,” “Back Where I come From,” “Stars Fell on Alabama,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Birmingham” and “Southern Cross.” Chris Fryar, a Gardendale resident and drummer for the Zac Brown Band, made a guest appearance on “Knee Deep,” playing percussion.
A surprising treat popped up in the middle of the show: Matt Hoggatt, a musician from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, emerged to sing “Dear Jimmy Buffett,” an original that aced a contest in American Songwriter magazine. Buffett sat nearby, cheering him on, then responded with a freshly minted song of his own, “Hey Matt Hoggatt.” What could be more fun, or more gracious?