Review of the first concert at Snapdragon Stadium

The San Diego Union-Tribune has a review of Saturday’s show: “Jimmy Buffett and Jason Mraz turn Snapdragon Stadium into a giant beach party, 8 miles inland

Jimmy Buffett and Jason Mraz have each performed numerous times in San Diego over the years — Buffett since the early 1970s and native Virginian-turned-Oceanside resident Mraz since the late 1990s. But Saturday night was the first instance in memory at which either played second fiddle here to a large, new, outdoor concrete edifice.

Longtime Buffett collaborator Mac McAnally was, in fact, the first artist to perform at Saturday’s concert. The show had been pushed back from its original date last October, after Buffett was hospitalized for undisclosed reasons.

“We finally made it!” Buffett, clad in a track warm-up suit, told the cheering audience. “Thank you for waiting.”

Prior to his first number, “Blame It On New Orleans,” McAnnaly said: “We are honored to kick off the inaugural concert at Snapdragon Stadium.”

Buffett and Mraz delivered crowd-pleasing sets with their respective bands, each of which performed with a winning combination of polished precision and festive celebration.

Mraz and his brassy band performed tender ballads, funk-fueled romps and the disco-styled “I Feel Like Dancing” with equal poise and verve. He gave some extended solos to his musicians — something rarely heard in a stadium setting — and tenor saxophonist Carlos Sosa and guitarist Molly Miller were especially impressive.

Buffett opened with the tropical-flavored “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes,” the title track of the 1977 album that propelled him from cult status to stardom. He concluded a bit more than 90 minutes later with an animated version of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Southern Cross.”

In between came 16 other songs, including such favorites as “Fins,” “A Pirate Looks at 40,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and the inevitable “Margaritaville.”

Buffett fondly recalled his first gigs here, 40 years ago, “at a coffee shop at SDSU” — the now-defunct Back Door — and sprinkled in a number of local references during his set. (Mraz in turn gave a shout out to Java Joe’s, the Ocean Beach coffee house where he got his start.)

Where Snapdragon faltered Saturday was in the extremely long wait times for concertgoers to purchase food and, more often, drinks.

While there’s no known scientific study, so far, that confirms Buffett’s fans consume significantly more alcoholic beverages than college football-game attendees, the inordinately long lines at his concert here suggest that may well be the case.

And Buffett, a billionaire whose empire includes more than one alcohol-related product, was happy to toast the crowd in song, at one point ad-libbing the lyric: “What would Jimmy Buffett do right now? Go to the Belly Up and buy you a drink!”

One thought on “Review of the first concert at Snapdragon Stadium

  1. As an employee I honestly believe that we did an awesome job considering the number of people and the many new add-ons for the concert such as seats and pop up bars on the field. Being the first concert we learned from things to make the next one better. Giving a shout out to all employees @ Snapdragon Stadium. I think we’re pretty awesome.

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