Jimmy Buffett performed for the Phillip Morris conference Tuesday night under a tent at the Westin St. John while hundreds of would-be concert crashers lined the shores and villa porches of Great Cruz Bay.
Close to the beach, at least a dozen small craft, dinghies and even a fishing boat with a Tuna Tower seemed lashed together to line the shore to applaud and sing along to tracks from Buffett’s newset CD, "License to Chill," as well as old favorites like "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise." Fog horns punctuated applause and cheers rose from the crowd whenever Buffet began a song that was recognized.
For the first time in memory, there were security guards at the Westin restricting access to the resort’s main entrance and its service road behind the facility. We saw several people turned away, with no amount of yapping successful. One woman, carrying a 12-pack of Miller Lite, trudged back to her car.
The concert began about 10 pm and went nearly to 11:30pm. Nobody in the neighborhood seemed to mind the late hour.
We started out at a picnic table along the Estate Cruz Bay-owned dinghy dock. In the dark, Donna and I sat down and the couple across the table recognized us. We’d met them last weekend at the Battery, when we attended the Artists Association of St. John show. They are residents of St. John, moved here from Chicago two years ago – but he’s heading up a DC-based biotech company and so commutes back to the capitol two weeks each month. When he’s here, he works online
There were about 20 other people on the shore with us, some asking "Who IS playing." While we’d been expecting Buffett or even Tina Turner (! – another rumor), a reggae band (Cool Breezes?) opened the show. Then came Buffett, and for the Phillip Morris people – whose parent company also makes Miller beers – it was Buffet Time.
Amazingly, the sound down on the water was kind of soft, so we repaired to our house, Blue Tang, and its pool deck, quaffed a few Greenies, and had a marvelous, memorable evening.
Old music, new friends … ah, this island!