Dave's Cruise '09

Dave's Caribbean Cruise 2009

Page 5- Saturday 7th
St. Barth- Jimmy Buffett Concert

On the cruise today the boat was in Fort-De-France, Martinique from 8am to 3pm. If I had to miss a port, this was a good one. Doing my research, what I would have done here is hire a taxi to go to Les Salines beach on the south east area of the island, and on the way stop at Josephine's house and La Diamant for photos.
Budget Travel article on Martinique

So how did this come about?
For some reason my gut instinct kept telling me to eyeball the margaritaville.com tour dates site (would have been even smarter to have researched beyond that). Sure enough three days before leaving for the cruise this St. Barth date popped up, and of course I was already going to be in the Caribbean, so I had to act on it. Much like seeing U2 in their hometown of Dublin, and in line with the need for more extreme travel experiences, seeing Buffett in a more unique, tropical venue was one for the ever important "life resume."
It was a ton of work to put the logistics together, and some complimented me on even thinking of being able to separate from the cruise- I actually thought that was the intuitive part- heck the boat had me most of the way there.

My Buffett concert list:
Caribe Musical in Bayfront Park, Miami 1988
Miami Arena 8/5/89 Off To See The Lizard

Gainesville, FL 1/24/91 Jimmy's Jump Up
Jacksonville, FL 1/21/92 The Outposts Tour
Tallahassee, FL 4/15/94 Fruitcakes
Charlotte, NC 2/14/98 Havana Daydreamin'
Jones Beach, NY 8/6/98 Don't Stop the Carnival
Houston, TX 2/15/01 Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays
Honolulu, HI 10/4/07 Bama Breeze
Frisco, TX 4/26/08 The Year of Still Here
Frisco, TX 4/18/09 Summerzcool

The outside of room #4

The beach area right by the hotel.

Fly Winair 10am SXM to St Bart SBH, around $200 round trip.
There are several options to get over there, including two ferry companies. They are reasonable at about $65 round trip same day, but if you have to move to an open return it is more like a $120. Also the passage is supposed to be in relatively rough waters.
There were some return boat trips specifically for the Buffett show but these were all sold out.
So the flight seemed like a good option, but when they added on taxes it became VERY expensive for a 15 minute flight.

Here we see St. Barth.
This airport was fairly unique as well in that like St. Maarten there is a beach right at the end of the runway, and the plane also has to land at a VERY steep angle.

Saint Barthelemy

Even the free booklets were like high end fashion magazines.

A typical inhabitant.

Le Manapany
#2 of 7

This was a pretty big deal. After confirming the cruise would let me go, I immediately booked my flight then went to book a hotel. Well, apparently rumors of this show had been circulating for months, and not only were the hotels in Gustavia for around $100 I was looking at sold out, but it was said that every hotel room on the island was already sold. Up until right before getting on the boat I was feverishly sending e-mails or calling every hotel on the island. The plan I came up with was to hang out at bars until they closed, then try and snooze in a hotel lobby or the police station until the ferry station would open up for the 7:30am ferry, the first way out...
Luckily late Monday I got an e-mail that I had found a room. A fair amount of money at 160 euro, but it was a really nice property and still considered low end pricing for this island. Also included transfer from and to airport (really only about a 5 minute drive).

A couple from Pennsylvania that was on my flight in, Mary and Rob, had trouble with their reservation at the hotel, but luckily it worked out. We have a lot in common and they were my buddies for the trip.

Anse des Cayes

At the beach I spoke for quite a while to this Floridian and Longhorn fan Jodi, who had even been to the Anguilla concert. Seemingly everyone we spoke to was here for the show, and I was concerned it might get packed out.

A good club sandwich for lunch.

Tour of my hotel room #214
It had a huge living area with a great view, and then an air conditioned bedroom area with huge bathroom.

Landing strip

Gustavia map

Event info

Sound check- here you see Michael Utley and Mac McAnally.
Video of bandmembers driving to the sound check here.

We started waiting around 3pm.

Mary and I got into the Le Select t-shirt store for some souveniers, but unfortunately we ended up losing them in the melee at the show.

Here you can see some of the crowd and the megayachts parked right on the quay.
I am guessing there were perhaps 300-400 hard core Buffett fans that came in and were waiting for hours, and then locals filled in packing the place to about 4000, about twice the number of the 50th anniversary.

A cool homemade shirt for the journey.

We finally get our order placed for our cheeseburgers.

6:00 pm: Gunslingers Steel Band on the quay in Gustavia

After waiting over an hour, and just before the madness of the crowd moving up, we get our cheeseburger in paradise.

8:00pm: Jimmy Buffett on the quay in Gustavia

Intro and Lage Nom Ai
Research says this song was inspired by the book Legends of the Fall (which also inspired the movie I like of the same name).

There was a girl next to me that was probably 10 years my junior, and as you can hear on the video she knew every word to this song, which is one I wasn't very familiar with from an album in 1995. Good to see Jimmy truly is still reaching across generations.

Best "seating" I've had at a Buffett show, the second row.
From when we were waiting we started in the second row. They had an area fenced off for the steel drum band, which they moved forward to the stage between them and Buffett. It was a poorly managed cluster f*ck, with everyone agitated. I was able to fight to maintain the second row, but everyone was jammed in like sardines and the humidity was merciless. Then cold rain started coming down and absolutely drenched everyone and everything. Thankfully the show started on time, with more pushing and shoving from there.

Son of a Son of a Sailor
In the lead in Jimmy says this song was written here in St. Barth, and was partially inspired by his grandfather.

Cheeseburger In Paradise
"According to Buffett's Margaritaville web site, the myth of the "cheeseburger in paradise" was inspired by a boat journey Buffett once took in the Caribbean. Buffett states that while subsisting on canned food and peanut butter, he envisioned eating a "piping hot cheeseburger". He reports that upon finally arriving in Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, he was surprised to find a restaurant serving American cheeseburgers: ...we gave particular instructions to the waiter on how we wanted them cooked and what we wanted on them -- to which little attention was paid. It didn't matter. The overdone burgers on the burned, toasted buns tasted like mana from heaven, for they were the realization of my fantasy burgers on the trip."

Brian and Melissa, fans from Greenville, SC we made friends with.

Bankie Banx from the Anguilla show joins in for the encore songs.

Closing ceremony

I was able to find Rob and Mary, and we got to watch the band leave by boat.

Somehow during the show Mary had a bit too much to drink, so Rob and I dragged her (and five lawn chairs) back to the hotel. So despite our talk of meeting/stalking Jimmy and then 3am swims in the ocean, we were in our rooms by 11pm. The next day we saw Brian and Melissa at the airport and they heard Buffett was showing up at Le Select at midnight. Need to find out what happened.
I did find on the web that Sunday Jimmy did make an appearance at Le Select.

NY Times
St. Hazards photos from the show

Videos from others:

Crew driving to sound check

Backstage and Cheeseburger In Paradise

Backstage video of the band and Turn up the heat and chill the rose'

Turn up the heat and chill the rose'

Waiting in Vain


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