Before he gets back to playing the amphitheaters and arenas he’s packed for decades later this summer, Jimmy Buffett paid a visit to one of the first stages he ever stepped on.
On Monday night, Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band played a private show at Nashville’s Exit/In — 50 years after he helped open the iconic club.
As Exit/In co-founder Brugh Reynolds recalled, the club was under construction in the summer of 1971 when “this guy wanders in off the street.”
“He said, ‘Well, I play music,'” Reynolds said in a 2015 documentary for Uproxxx. “He went and got his guitar. I think he played a few things for us, and so Jimmy Buffett was the first act to ever play the Exit/In.”
A few months later, the then-fledgling Nashville-based country artist would take a fateful trip to Key West, and the rest is history. He’s never lost touch with Music City, though — a fact underlined by Monday’s guest list.
Country superstar Kenny Chesney joined him on stage, singing “Margaritaville” and “Back Where I Come From” [written by Mac McAnally]. After the show, Buffett came down to greet former Vice President Al Gore in the crowd.
Exit/In is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021. Opening on Elliston Place in 1971, the club also hosted early performances by Billy Joel, The Police, Tom Petty, R.E.M. and Steve Martin, and later became the heart of the city’s burgeoning rock scene.
Buffett and his band have been rehearsing in Nashville for their summer tour. They will return to town next month to play three shows at Ascend Amphitheater on July 6, 8 and 16.
Last year, Buffett topped Billboard’s Country Albums chart with his 30th studio album, “Life On the Flipside.” In 2019, he opened a Margaritaville Hotel in downtown Nashville.