Jimmy Buffett kicked off his 2009 Summerzcool Tour Thursday night at sold-out show at Lakewood Amphitheatre.

The irreverent ambassador of carefree living played for more than 2 1/2 hours, included some surprises and showed no signs of slowing down more than 30 years after he recorded his first live album at the Fox Theatre.

Here are some "Buffett Bests:"

Best example of a loyal following: Bill Stewart of Milton was at his 50th Buffett concert. Why does he keep coming back? "Jimmy Buffett provides us with something the government doesn't - an escape from reality."

Best sign that the following is growing: Hawaiian-shirt clad Casey DeBrusschere, 7, and Curtis DeBrusschere, 4, were throwing beach balls around as the show started. The siblings were part of a three-generation contingent that stretched from Cumming to Sunset beach, N.C. Maureen Lungren brought her grandchildren “because it was time for them to experience Jimmy Buffett.” Unfortunately, Casey was sound asleep in her chair by the time Buffett played her favorite song, Margaritaville.

Jimmy Buffett with his parrotheads ham it up at the Lakewood Amphitheater


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Best surprise: Buffett has included new songs her wrote for the fans who come to the concerts. The new songs he played Thursday night: "Summerzcool," "Drink About" (which is on YouTube) and "I feel like Surfin' in a Hurricane."

Best line of the night: Buffett tells stories, cracks jokes and generally has a lot of fun on stage between songs. His best comment, to a very large and very loud crowd: "Thanks for coming out and refusing to participate in this recession. If you can't have fun, what's the point."

He also gave a heartfelt shout out to his Atlanta fans. Buffett's star really began to take off after he recorded "You had to be there," a live album taped at the Fox Theatre and in Miami. "Thank you Atlanta," Buffett said near the end of the show, "you were here long before many others."

Best line change: Buffett always tweaks some lines in his songs, usually to acknowledge the town he is in, but some tweaks reflect current culture. The whimsical song “Manana” includes a reference that Buffett hopes that his songs were never covered by Anita Bryant, an anti-gay advocate. Thursday night, he changed the line to “I hope American Idol never ever covers one of my songs.”