MANSFIELD — When one takes in a Jimmy Buffett concert, a beach party usually breaks out, and that was certainly the case Saturday night at a sold-out Xfinity Center, with plenty of bouncing beach balls tossed among the crowd.
Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band made yet another stop at the venue as part of their “Son of a Son of a Sailor” tour named after one of the singer-songwriter’s more popular tunes.
Buffett, 72, has performed at the amphitheater dozens of times since it opened in 1986, and it is believed he has paid more visits here than any venue in his career. In a rare hiatus, he played Fenway Park last year.
A bright and warm weekend day made for an opportune time for the legion of faithful and colorful fans known as Parrotheads, sporting grass skirts, shark hats and leis, to do what they are best known for, and that is to party.
The parking lots were opened early in the afternoon for plenty of tailgating after traffic jams developed and area parking lots began filling.
Kicking off with “License to Chill” and a cover of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl,” Buffett — who has become the guru of the beach bum gang with his tropical island music and lifestyle — and his bandmates, appeared to have as much fun as their fans.
“Grapefruit — Juicy Fruit” from 1973, had one of three guitarists playing a floor bass, and “Great Heart” was done in tribute to Johnny Clegg.
Buffett mentioned he has “sailed the waters up here a long time” before launching into “Son of a Son of a Sailor” from 1978, and the jumpy and keyboard-strong “Volcano.”
The frontman switched from his aqua electric to acoustic guitar for the beauty “Come Monday.”
“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” won a Grammy for country song, and the audience helped sing fan favorite “Cheeseburger from Paradise.”
“In crazy times, we’re an oasis to have a good time for a couple of hours,” Buffett remarked.
After a brief intermission that featured video switching from shots of sailboats and paradises to fans, Buffett took a seat and sang “Boat Drinks,” a song he said he wrote on a frigid night in Boston.
The stage was then turned into New Orleans’ Bourbon Street for a jazzy set, with “Pencil Thin Mustache.”
The eclectic musician’s material also touches on country, folk, rock and calypso, as well as other genres.
After the tranquil “Frenchman for the Night,” Buffett sang a new song, “Half Drunk,” that is slated to appear on a long-awaited album.
Following a steel drum solo by one of three drummers was the hallmark “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” from 1977.
Another new song, “The World Is What You Make It,” is a guitar-heavy rocker.
During “Fins,” fans made the fin sign with their hands. “I heard there were shark sightings out there,” Buffett commented.
“A Pirate Looks at Forty,” “Last Mango in Paris,” a cover of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Southern Cross,” and “One Particular Harbour” also found their way into the song list.
Ending the main set as usual was Buffett’s best-known number, “Margaritaville,” a Top 10 from 1977.
The encore included a cover of Sam Cooke’s “Another Saturday Night” and “Love and Luck.”
The band also featured three other guitarists, a trumpet player, and steel guitarist.
Buffett’s musical, “Escape to Margaritaville,” is going on tour this year.
Buffett has branched out into being a highly-successful businessman, author and actor.