A buffet of Buffett

Coral Reefers will light up amp with Fins

Shawn Lawless leads the Jimmy Buffett tribute band Fins to the Left, which returns to the Warren Community Amphitheatre on Saturday.

Jimmy Buffett’s show this summer at the Pavilion at Star Lake was canceled, which means Parrotheads haven’t had an area concert by the man who brings Key West to the North Coast since 2018.

Buffett might not be making local landfall, but four of the 11 members of his Coral Reefer Band will join Fins to the Left when it performs Saturday at the Warren Community Amphitheatre as part of the River Rock at the Amp concert series.

Fins frontman Shawn Lawless brings in the Coral Reefers to supplement his own band whenever possible for it River Rock appearance (in an unfortunate scheduling quirk, Fins played the amp in 2018 on the same date Buffett was at Star Lake).

“I was very heartened when I reached out to them,” Lawless said. “They have a very full schedule with Jimmy, but I was lucky enough they had this Saturday off.”

Playing with Fins will be steel drum player Robert Greenidge, percussionist Eric Darken and backup singers Tina Gullickson and Nadirah Shakoor. The same four band members joined Fins in 2019, the last time it played the amp.

Greenidge has been a member of the Coral Reefer Band longer than anyone except keyboard player Michael Utley, who also has played with Fins in the past. In addition to playing with Buffett since his “One Particular Harbor” album, he’s worked with such legends as John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson.

Darken has performed on the CMA Awards with Taylor Swift and Alison Krauss and recorded with country superstars (Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan), rockers (Bob Seger, Bon Jovi, Megadeth) and indie / pop artists (Ingrid Michaelson, James Bay).

Gullickson has sung with Buffett since 1995, and Shakoor previously was a member of Arrested Development and toured with Paula Abdul, Al Jarreau and Janet Jackson before joining the Coral Reefer Band.

Lawless described sharing the stage with Buffett’s band members as an “almost surreal” experience.

“It’s real honor to be on the stage with them,” he said. “They’re the best at what they do.”

Fins also will perform Friday at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts in Boardman, a show that originally was set for Fourth of July weekend but had to be rescheduled when Lawless’ flight from Florida was delayed.

That show just will feature Fins to the Left — Lawless, lead vocals; Chris Rossvanes, drums; Craig Peppy, drums and percussion; Robert Calhoun, bass; Chuck Hall, lead guitar; Bill Ebie, 12-string guitar; Doug Smith, piano and acoustic guitar; and Jeff Spencer, harmonica.

There may be a few surprises in the setlist, but it will be dominated by, “The songs you know by heart,” said Lawless, quoting the title of Buffett’s greatest hits collection.

However, for the first time, Fins will play a song that Buffett’s never performed. Saturday’s concert will include a tribute to original Fins bass player Giulio Savioli, who died in April.

Giulio had written some songs that were given to me 20 years ago,” Lawless said. “We were going to do one of his songs and never did, so we’ll do one of the songs he wrote on Saturday as a tribute to him.”

If you go …

WHAT: River Rock at the Amp — Fins to the Left (Jimmy Buffett tribute) and My Drunk’n Uncle

WHEN: 5:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday with gates open at 5 p.m.

WHERE: Warren Community Amphitheatre, 321 Mahoning Ave. NW, Warren

HOW MUCH: $8 adults and free for children ages 12 and younger. riverrockattheamp.com.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *


Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today