Jimmy Buffett puts on free show at sister’s restaurant on Ala. coast; hundreds show up

By Jay Reeves, AP
Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Free show by Jimmy Buffett along Alabama coast

GULF SHORES, Ala. — Oil weary residents on Alabama’s coast got a boost from Jimmy Buffett, who put on an impromptu free show at his sister’s restaurant Wednesday evening, bringing in hundreds of fans.

He sang crowd favorites including “Fins,” ”Pascagoula Run” and “Volcano” during a more than two-hour show that had hundreds of fans swaying to the music and holding up bottles of beer in the night air at Lulu’s restaurant, owned by his sister, Lucy Buffett.

Word spread quickly through Facebook and the grapevine that the singer known for his love of the beach life was going to be on stage in Gulf Shores.

He and other singing stars had planned a Thursday concert along the Alabama coast to bring back tourists to the beaches stained by the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The show was postponed until July 11 because Hurricane Alex in the Gulf, which was hitting the Mexican coast late Wednesday, kicked up heavy surf, pushing oil farther inland.

A huge cheer went up during “Margaritaville” when he replaced the standard lyrics and sang; “I think it’s all BP’s fault!”

Buffett, who grew up in Mobile, sang more than he talked, but at one point bemoaned the damage from spill, which is being blamed for a 50 percent drop in tourism in Alabama’s beach towns.

“Thank you for coming anyway,” he said to cheers.

Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft said many in the crowd were local residents whose lives have been turned upside down by the loss of business from the oil spill.

“This is great. We have needed a boost so badly, and this really helps,” Craft said.

Craft said Buffett’s crew and band were in town for preparations for the show that was postponed, so the singer decided to join them for a show.

“I found out about it yesterday. They had to keep it sort of quiet so there wouldn’t be too large of a crowd,” Craft said.

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