Which brings us to Sunday night, where we were able to find two seats for Mac McAnally’s fourth and final sold-out show at the Key West Theater. Mac, as many of you Parrotheads know, was Jimmy Buffett’s right-hand man on stage as a member of his Coral Reefer Band. Mac’s two-man shows, with fellow Reefer and percussionist Eric Darken, have been a healing tour mixing in plenty of Buffett songs, with Mac’s own, and lots of stories through 40-plus years of collaboration with Buffett.
If you’re not familiar with the Key West Theater on Eaton Street, imagine going to a show in your neck of the woods with table service and every seat close enough you can almost see the brand of glasses the performer is wearing. Mac has referred to Buffett as an older brother, one who believed in him all those years ago and helped him become the widely recognized artist he is today, especially by the artists themselves.
In August, when Mac was wrapping up a studio session for George Strait’s new album, he got the call he never wanted to get. He was told Jimmy only had days left, and Mac needed to get to New York now if he wanted to say goodbye.
Landing in New York, Mac drove to Jimmy’s house in the Hamptons. Entering the room, he saw Jimmy surrounded by family members. Jimmy, with the biggest smile on his face, waved Mac over and said in a quiet, raspy voice, “What a hell of a ride … keep the party going.”
Mac, caught up in the emotion of the moment, was lost for words when someone passed him a guitar, and he began playing the first song they collaborated on all those years ago, “It’s My Job.” Jimmy listened, and they shared a moment no one in that room will ever forget. Neither will anyone else that night in the Key West Theater.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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