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Paul McCartney toasts Jimmy Buffett with margarita at tribute concert with all-star lineup

LOS ANGELES − In a night filled with wildly eclectic musicians honoring Jimmy Buffett at the Hollywood Bowl Thursday, Paul McCartney captured the range of the "Margaritaville" bard's impossibly wide web of global friendships and joy of living.

Entering the stage late in the "Keep The Party Going" tribute concert, McCartney, 81, spoke about being invited to Buffett's home a week before the party-loving singer/songwriter died of skin cancer in September at age 76.

"He was in a pretty bad way, but he still had a twinkle in his eye," said McCartney, who sat behind the piano to perform the song he had played for his dying friend − the classic ballad "Let It Be." In Thursday's performance, McCartney jammed along with the Eagles and Don Henley.

For the next and final song, McCartney joined music stars − as diverse as Sheryl Crow and Pitbull − for Buffett's signature "Margaritaville," with Sir Paul proudly hoisting a Las Vegas-sized margarita onstage.

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"This is a man with a margarita right here," said Mac McAnally, the longtime guitarist from Buffett's Coral Reefer Band, who served as "musical captain" for the evening.

Here's who else kept the Buffett party going in the star-studded concert attended by fans including Al Pacino, Courteney Cox, Larry David and Sean Penn.

Honorary Coral Reefer Sheryl Crow and Brandi Carlile rocked

Brandi Carlile performs at "Keep The Party Going: A Tribute To Jimmy Buffett."
Brandi Carlile performs at "Keep The Party Going: A Tribute To Jimmy Buffett."

Crow said she was "an absolute nobody" when Buffett hired her in 1989 to join his Coral Reefer Band.

"I know Jimmy is laughing his ass off," the singer said before breaking into "Fins."

"I need to see some fins!" Crow said, instructing the crowd to put up their “land shark” fins during the song. There were fins on stage, fins to the left and fins to the right.

Carlile spoke of bonding with Buffett over their mutual love of fishing ("that was our language") before belting soulful versions of two classics, "Tin Cup Chalice" and "Come Monday."

Snoop Dogg blows smoke at 'My main man Jimmy B' with 'Doggystyle' classic

Snoop Dogg performs at "Keep The Party Going: A Tribute To Jimmy Buffett."
Snoop Dogg performs at "Keep The Party Going: A Tribute To Jimmy Buffett."

Stage presenter Judd Apatow thought it might have been the suspicious smoking going on backstage that was making him hallucinate what he had seen on stage.

"I swear to God I just saw Snoop Dogg sing 'Gin and Juice' with the Coral Reefer Band," Apatow said.

It's true. The rapper and Buffett friend Snoop Dogg performed the classic song from his 1993 "Doggystyle" album in tribute to "my main man Jimmy B," singing the familiar words with the audience in between onstage puffs.

"Last time I saw you we smoked like there was no tomorrow," Snoop Dogg said from the stage before clearing out, leaving a cloud of smoke.

During the wide-ranging musical section that followed, ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro wowed with a solo version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and rapper Pitbull performed his classic "Don't Stop the Party" with four backup dancers.

"He’s the definition of what it means to unite, not divide," Pitbull said of his friend before belting the song he wrote, "Thank God & Jimmy Buffett," along with Jon Bon Jovi.

"He gave me fashion advice and hair tips," Bon Jovi said. “We all think we’re rock stars, but he flew his own plane to his own show. That’s a rock star.”

Harrison Ford revealed his ear-piercing origin story courtesy of Jimmy Buffett

Harrison Ford explained how Jimmy Buffett lead him on the path to getting pierced 40 years ago.
Harrison Ford explained how Jimmy Buffett lead him on the path to getting pierced 40 years ago.

Friends who were not able to make the concert paid tribute over video, including Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson, James Taylor and surfer Kelly Slater. NBA coaching legend Pat Riley laughingly recalled when Buffett was ejected from a Miami Heat game for calling a referee "a Parrothead."

Many friends spoke in person from the stage, including tennis legend John McEnroe, who talked about Buffett watching him play during his hotheaded prime.

"He told me, 'Relax, man,'" McEnroe said. "Of course he was right."

Harrison Ford spoke about "long boozy lunch" with Buffett and "60 Minutes" newsman Ed Bradley.

"I saw both of them had earrings, so right after lunch I got my ear pierced," Ford said. "That's how infectious Jimmy's coolness was. Enough for a then 40-year-old man to get his ear pierced spontaneously and infectious enough to create this world around his music. There's no other way to say it, there will never be another Jimmy."

Of course, the Jimmy Buffett tribute ended with 'Margaritaville'

Paul McCartney (center) holds up his margarita to Jimmy Buffett during "Keep the Party Going: A Tribute Concert to Jimmy Buffett" at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl.
Paul McCartney (center) holds up his margarita to Jimmy Buffett during "Keep the Party Going: A Tribute Concert to Jimmy Buffett" at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl.

Naturally, the night's final song brought the entire cast onstage to sing Buffett's national anthem of "Margaritaville."

"Jimmy Buffett would get a big kick out of this deal," McAnally said as the sprawling crew of musicians, friends and Hollywood stars took spots at various microphones. It was like a superstar karaoke, with Crow, Bon Jovi and Henley sharing the microphone for one of the signature "wasted away again in Margaritaville" verses.

By the end of the song, McCartney's margarita was nearly drained. But he was in no hurry to put down the glass as he walked offstage with a smile.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jimmy Buffett tribute concert: Paul McCartney, Eagles honor legend