Even though he’s sung his catchy “Trop Rock” tunes thousands of times over the past 30 years, and the man himself once requested that he and his bandmates fill in for his Coral Reefer Band at a private show, Jeff Pike still describes Jimmy Buffett as an acquaintance.
“I wouldn’t go as far as calling us friends,” says Mr. Pike, the lead singer, guitarist and founding member of A1A – The Official & Original Jimmy Buffett Tribute Show, the next band to be featured in Harrisburg Town’s Rockin’ the Burg concert series. “I don’t see him very often.”
That Atlanta native had played alongside Mr. Buffett before, many years ago and not too long after forming his tribute band in 1991. But the private performance put on during the 2016 Masters Tournament at the famous Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia marked the first time that his entire entourage had the opportunity to share the stage with the “Margaritaville” musician.
“It was the first time that A1A had done a whole thing like that,” recalls Mr. Pike, adding that they performed on a wooden outdoor stage for about two hours. “It was great.”
Next Stop: The ‘Burg
While chances are slim that Mr. Buffett will join A1A when it takes the stage at Harrisburg Park at 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 10, attendees are all but guaranteed to hear many, if not all, of his most famous tracks.
Those include “Cheeseburger In Paradise,” “Why Don’t We Get Drunk,” “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” “Son of a Son of a Sailor,” and the aforementioned tune named after a popular tequila-infused mixed drink that can be served either frozen or on the rocks, and with or without a salted rim.
“Parrot Heads want to hear “Cheeseburger In Paradise,” “Margaritaville” … there’s about 12 or 13 songs that you have to play,” explains Mr. Pike.
As is already known by most Parrot Heads – what the biggest and loyalist Buffett fans call themselves – A1A’s shows are always high-energy, even when the band consisted of just Mr. Pike and friend Scott Nickerson, the founder of the Atlanta Parrot Head Club that celebrated its 30thanniversary on July 12. To mark the occasion, Mr. Nickerson, a percussionist and harmonica player who left A1A several years ago for health reasons, made a guest appearance at the performance.
For the Harrisburg show on August 10, Mr. Pike will be joined by six other members of A1A. For those out of the know, the band is named after the state highway that runs from the Florida-Georgia border all the way south to Key West and, naturally, it is also the name of Mr. Buffett’s fifth studio album.
What Else To Expect
An accomplished entertainer and songwriter – Mr. Pike has recorded five CDs of original music in addition to being the face of A1A – he promises an entertaining and upbeat evening at Harrisburg Park. Both hardcore Jimmy fans and those who only know Mr. Buffett as “The guy who sings Margaritaville” will have a hard time not singing along or, in the very least, swaying side to side like a palm tree caught in a crosswind.
“I don’t dress like Jimmy, and I don’t act like Jimmy, but that isn’t a problem,” Mr. Pike says. “We do all the hits that Jimmy does, and we’ll throw in a few reggae songs … and a few deeper cuts that Parrot Heads are likely to know.”
When asked what those mystery cuts could include, Mr. Pike responded: “I’m not going to tell you. Why would I do that and spoil the surprise?”
However, he did share that he often likes to mix in a few of Mr. Buffett’s slower ballads, and that his popular song “Come Monday” has always been one of his favorite songs to perform, no matter how many times he has played it before.
“It’s just a beautiful song – I was in the seventh grade the first time I heard it,” he said. “That’s a hard one not to play. I never get tired of singing that one.”
Showtime & Ticket Info
The August 10th show starts at 7 p.m. and is expected to run about two hours. The opening act, In-A-Chord, will perform from 6:30-7 p.m.
There is no cost to attend and tickets are not required.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets; alcohol and tobacco are prohibited on park grounds. There will also be food trucks and activities for children, including an inflatable and outdoor yard games.
For more information, please visit www.harrisburgnc.org/419/Rockin-the-Burg.
Odds & Ends
- A1A performs between 30 and 50 concerts a year, a mix of private and public shows.
- Jeff Pike and his band won a Jimmy Buffett Sound Alike Contest sponsored by Margaritaville Records in 1992.
- A1A can travel with up to 12 performers, including a full horn section and dancing pirates. (The Harrisburg show won’t feature a horn section or said pirates – insert sad face.)
- Jeff Pike can trace his love of Jimmy Buffett’s music back to 1979, when he was a senior in high school and shortly after the release of the “You Had To Be There” album.
- At the risk of dating himself – a confession that perked up our ears – Mr. Pike says he immediately visited the closest Turtle’s Record & Tapes to buy all of Mr. Buffett’s music which, at the time, was available on cassette and, as an added bonus, on sale!