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Fort Worth’s Coyote Drive-In readies its really big show with Jimmy Buffett

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Jimmy Buffett & the Coral Reefer Band

8 p.m. Thursday

Coyote Drive-In, Fort Worth

Sold out

liveatthedrive-in.com


Posted 10:13am on Thursday, Jun. 12, 2014

Ten seconds.

That’s how long it took Jimmy Buffett’s concert at Coyote Drive-In to sell out.

A month later, as Coyote co-owner Brandt Wood recounts the moment the 1,100 tickets went on sale, he can hardly keep the smile off his face.

“We might as well have been putting a 25,000-person show on sale,” Wood says, striking the table before him for emphasis. “So, as the clock started ticking to 10 [a.m.], you get these [updates] — Twitter’s live; Facebook’s live; million-person e-blast launched; waiting room’s starting to fill up; call lines are open; … the door’s cracked; the door’s shut! How many seconds was that? … It was like a NASA countdown; I get chills talking about it. It was one of the most visceral experiences I’ve ever been involved in.

“You’re inside of it — you’re in the space shuttle; the engines are going; the gantry releases — airborne! It was amazing! I want that again — it was adrenaline.”

And just weeks before the big show, which will be broadcast live to more than 80 drive-ins across the country on June 19, the offices of Brandt and Brady Wood’s Woodhouse production company headquarters in Dallas indeed resemble a mission control of sorts. (The company was formed in January, although the Wood brothers have extensive experience in the music and hospitality industries, reaching back to Deep Ellum’s halcyon days in the ’90s.)

An enormous map of the United States hangs on one wall, stippled with pins marking the participating drive-ins and Post-It notes detailing when the sun is expected to set from Maine to California. A massive whiteboard is mounted on the opposite wall, with all manner of checklists scrawled across it in dry-erase marker (acquiring “hay for horses” is a task yet to be completed).

This particular rocket’s fuse was lit last year, when Wood and his brother, Brady, first pitched the idea of a drive-in concert to Buffett, who, according to Wood, immediately jumped at the chance. (Buffett didn’t respond to multiple requests by DFW.com for comment.)

“We’ve been friends throughout the years,” Wood says of Buffett. “We [the Wood brothers] were enthusiastic. ‘Let’s pitch to him something great.’ 

The end result, which is being co-produced with Austin-based C3 Concerts, is a landmark event, not only for Fort Worth, but for Buffett as well, who in all his years of touring, has never performed at a drive-in theater.

The concert will be broadcast live across the country with an assist from DirecTV as a one-night-only happening. (Wood says, as of now, there are no plans to rebroadcast the show.)

Gates open at 2 p.m. Thursday, and although there’s no opening act per se, Wood says local duo Whiskey Pants will be performing in Coyote Drive-In’s canteen prior to Buffett’s performance, beginning at 8 p.m..

Coyote Drive-In will be spiffed up for the occasion, with vintage cars parked near the stage and the trees on-site festooned with lights. Wood says the design team is taking some of its inspiration from marquee shows of yesteryear, like the famous Louisiana Hayride concert series, broadcast on radio and TV from Shreveport in the ’50s and ’60s.

“The show has been built to look — there’s not going to be tons of scrims and embellishment,” Wood says. “You’re going to see a hand-painted tapestry. We’re lighting all the trees, lighting the cars — it’s going to look like you’re at the drive-in.”

Wood says this Live at the Drive-In concert is only the beginning, although what’s next isn’t immediately clear — nor will it necessarily be in Fort Worth.

“We’re gonna wait,” Wood says. “I think it’s just the prudent thing to do. I don’t think we’d build the network and not want to do it again. With Buffett as the artist who took a chance with us, how could a Bruce Springsteen or a U2 or a Zac Brown Band or a Kenny Chesney, the Eagles — how could they not say, ‘That’s amazing; that’s new; give us a piece of that.’ 

In other words, music fans, get ready for lift-off.

Preston Jones, 817-390-7713 Twitter: @prestonjones

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