Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Santa Fe Brewing Company: The Best Tour of a Dispenser of Spirits Ever

In New Mexico with Volkswagen this week I was reacquainted with Santa Fe Pale Ale.

From its name you may not be surprised to learn it's crafted by a small New Mexican brewery: the Santa Fe Brewing Company. It's the state's oldest microbrewery.

Before they moved it to Santa Fe proper, the brewery was in a metal building in a tiny crossroads community called Galisteo about 25 miles to the south.

To call Galisteo a crossroads 15 year ago isn't an exaggeration. There really wasn't much there. Even finding the brewery when several of us went to tour it was difficult. It was down a dirt cart path with just a small sign showing the way.

We went for a scheduled tour that it conducted on the weekends. As it turned out, the five of us joined a young couple from Albuquerque for the early afternoon walk through.

Arriving at the appointed time, we were greeted at the door by an older gentleman wearing a ball cap, bib overalls and a flannel shirt. Smiling revealed six or seven teeth.

"Ya here for the tour?" he gushed as we walked in the door. We responded in the affirmative.

"Well, let's get to it then," he continued. "What ya have over there," he said pointing, "is where we make the beer. Over there," his gnarled hand moved to the right to several huge copper tanks, "is where we store the beer. And that over there; well, that's our capper where we cap our beer."

Smiling at us he shouted, "Now, who wants a beer?"

We spent the next two hours drinking free beer. I've toured dozens of microbreweries, distilleries, and wineries; Santa Fe Brewing Company was the best of them.

Although its Pale Ale was the only one of its beers retailed in stores or restaurants, it made several brews that it sold out of its back door. Evidently the federal label-approval process is so cumbersome and expensive that many microbrews are never retailed beyond the brewery.

Eventually we climbed back in the car and left, but it wasn't because we were pushed out the door. I think we could have stayed well into the evening. Probably only the tour guide/bartender's wife calling him home for dinner would have ended our swill fest.

It cemented my love of Santa Fe Pale Ale, which is every bit as good as I remembered it.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Battleship": Game? What Game?

My Red Box rentals have slowed considerably.

I gave myself a Blue Ray player for my birthday that has WiFi. I joined NetFlix and pretty much have just downloaded movies that way.

Part of justifying the $8 I spend on NetFlix each and every month is not spending $2.50 every Saturday night (Italian Night at Casa de Heaps) renting from Red Box. I have managed to adhere to this policy quite successfully.

I also joined Amazon Prime. That's another $6 a month. I got a month's free trial for that and will probably cancel it before I actually have to start paying for it. One of the reasons I joined was that you can get free two-day shipping on some items purchased on the site. To date, I have only found one thing I had any interest in ordering that qualified for the "Prime" shipping. It's on back order and I hope it ships before I cancel the membership.

Otherwise Prime is more of a membership thing that allows me to download $3 or $4 rentals. Red Box is cheaper.

I wanted to see "2016" and rather than spend $4 at Amazon to download it, I spent $1.20 at Red Box. As long as I was going to Red Box, I decided to find a second title and rented "Battleship."

"Battleship" didn't do well at the box office. No doubt its tie-in to the game Battleship didn't help. I read one review that said if the producers had chosen a different name and downplayed any relationship to the game, it probably would have done much better.

In reality, the movie's only relationship to the game is that Hasbro evidently underwrote a significant piece of it. There was one battle sequence where the good guys used a Battleship-game-like grid to attack the bad guys, but I would have never made the correlation had the movie been called something else.

It's strictly a sci-fi escapism film totally implausible in virtually every respect.

Here's the 411: Scientists on earth discover another earth-like planet in a far-off solar system that may support life. They establish a communication system in Hawaii to beam radio signals to this planet. A couple of years later, residents of this planet arrive in the Pacific to take over or destroy -- we don't know for sure because they never communicate with earth -- the planet.

Our hero in all of this is a goof-off who is only in the Navy because it was that or go to jail. His brother, a naval officer, somehow gets him into the Navy and assigned to the Pacific fleet in which he commands a destroyer. Our hero runs the battle room in another destroyer.

The brother is "Erick" from the "True Blood" TV series on HBO. It's the first time I've seen him in any other role.

I have gal pals who will see this movie -- that otherwise they'd never waste their time on -- solely because this guy is in it.

When his ship is shot out from under him, our hero nearly single handedly defeats the aliens by transferring what's left of his crew to the USS Missouri. Working with several former members of the Missouri's crew that work as tour guides for the ship, our hero -- no idea who the actor playing the part is and not motivated enough to research it -- defeats the highly advanced aliens, wins the girl and gets a promotion.

Despite my less than enthusiastic description of the film, I liked "Battleship." Lots of action and a movie ideal for Blue Ray.

It was well worth the $1.20.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Young, Dumb Guy's Wine Tasting Tour

Ahhh...the silly things we do when we're young and dumb.

The year was 1987 or so and I was having a blast working at the Boca Raton News in South Florida.

My years there were pretty much the best of my working life -- particularly the first four or five years.

I was roughly 10 years older than most of the coworkers I hung out with. A few were older than that and one or two were even older than I; but for the most part, I was the senior member and more often than not ring master of the circus.

We were the envy of many and the nemesis of others at the paper. We didn't didn't care one way or the other; we were just having a blast.

Paychecks were less than motivating, but we managed to have about $100 a week in fun and that made the pay easier to swallow.

In the spirit of making the most of things, a couple of us came up with the bright idea of taking a weekend and visiting all the Hooters restaurants in South Florida.

A relatively new chain, most of the stores at that time were concentrated in Florida with the original being in Clearwater.

Our plan was to leave Boca Raton on a Saturday morning with stop No. 1 being the Ft. Lauderdale store. Our schedule then had us sprinting across Alligator Alley to Florida's west coast where we would hit the Hooters in Naples, Bradenton, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Tampa on the first day.

We were to overnight in Tampa and then continue on to the Lakeland and Orlando stores on Sunday before running down the east coast to the West Palm Beach Hooters on Sunday evening.

We judged the Hooters in Jacksonville to be a bridge too far. In fact, we scratched Miami from itinerary as well.

We rented a Ford Windstar minivan and loaded it up with five guys with way too much time on our hands. It's what happens when everyone is single and an apartment dweller with no weekend chores or responsibilities. (Those were the days.)

What a wild 36 hours!

When we finally arrived at the Bradenton store, it occurred to us to mention to the manager the mission in which we were engaged. This prompted him to call several of the servers over for photos. We also got a few freebees in the way of wings and beer. Before departing he asked where we were going next. We told him St. Pete, and he wrote a note for us to pass on the the manager of that store.

This happened at every Hooters from there forward.

Rolling back into Boca Raton around 11 PM on Sunday night, we were whipped. It was over 500 miles and who knows how many pounds of chicken wings? We even got our security deposit back on the minivan rental.

Now I hit wineries in Napa and distilleries on Kentucky's Bourbon Trail. But none of those outings hold a candle to the Great Hooters Pilgrimage of 1987.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Steelers Batting .500 So Far

Here we are in week eight of the NFL season and I have been uncommonly mum on the Steelers. This has nothing to do with their rather lackluster record to date, but has much to do with my travel schedule.

I've been on the road a lot.

I've only seen three of their six games. Also, when I've been home, I've had so much writing to do -- the kind I get paid for -- that I haven't had the energy or motivation to do much blogging.

With six games and a bye week under their belts, the Steelers look less than stellar. I'm not yet in panic mode, but things are going to need to improve for them to elbow their way into the playoffs.

Helping them attain their 3-3 record, their losses and wins have been against NFL also-rans. Every team they've played this season has about the same record as the Steelers, telling me that their record pretty accurately reflects their ability at this point. I know they are better than that. They are certainly better than the Titans and the Broncos. Something has to give.  

As usual two or three starting offensive linemen have either not started or been knocked out of just about every game in the first quarter or so. Someone in PA needs to figure out how to genetically develop sturdier 300-pound linemen. These guys go down like $20 hookers during Fleet Week.

Polamalu has missed more than he has played so far and he's going to be out again this week against the marginally more mediocre Redskins. I am convinced this will be his last season at Pittsburgh. I just don't see them hanging on to him if he sits out most of another season. This calf injury appears chronic. No amount of recuperation time seems to help. I think he's only played one full game this season, but then I've missed a few of them.  

The only thing that's keep the Steelers nose above the water line is that they beat the Bengals last Sunday in their only division match up so far this season. Steelers and their fans everywhere owe Houston a big shout out for clipping the Ravens wings last Sunday keeping their record from going to 6 and 1.

Once again, Baltimore is the team to beat in the AFC North.

As we creep up to the midway point of the 2012 season, I haven't lost hope. Against Cincy last week were some flashes of brilliance after a wobbly first quarter. Jonathan Dwyer -- as one of my Steelers texting buddies remarked -- looked like a new Bettis. Wouldn't that be something….  

If at least a quorum of starters can stay healthy, Steelers have a chance. I'll reevaluate after their first meeting with Baltimore.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Some Pappy Van Winkle, A Little Oil Poached Halibut, and A Redesigned Nissan Sentra and Pathfinder: Just Another Day in Napa

You may find it odd that I often don't know exactly where I am going to end up when embarking on one of my auto events. This is particularly true when they follow one another in machine-gun succession as they have this past month or so.

I tend to be more concerned about departure times and departure airports -- am I leaving from Atlanta or Greenville/Spartanburg? -- than I am about exactly where I will end up. I also must fuss over the number of days I will be gone so my underwear count reflects those needs. I often have to make some sort of special arrangements for switching cars with the vendors that do that for the car companies.

All of this effort concentrated in logistics doesn't afford much time to dwell on the specifics of my destinations.

So I was both surprised and pleased when my West Coast Nissan trip for the redesigned Sentra and Pathfinder took me to Napa Valley.

Actually we spent the first night in San Francisco and piloted our way to Napa on the the Sentra ride-and-drive the next day.

The Solage Hotel and Spa in Calistoga -- our Napa quarters -- is located on the Silverado Trail, the Valley's main drag through the region's wineries. I glimpsed the Silver Oak tasting room with my nose pressed against the passenger window as we made a couple of passes by it. Raymond Winery -- another favorite of mine -- was also nearby. I didn't get there either.

Guest rooms at Solage are actually stand-alone cottages. Arranged in a rat-maze layout that would confound a Sacagawea-less Lewis and Clark, the cabins assigned to my driving partner and me defied locating even with a map of the grounds. I had visions of the Donner party and was glancing around for a rock in case I had to make dinner out of my buddy if the going got really tough when a helpful resort employee pointed out my cabin immediately behind me. She then walked my buddy to his cottage.

By the third or fourth time I made the trek to and from my cabin to get to the restaurant or hospitality suite, I had the route mastered.

After dropping my gear off in my cottage, I accidentally stumbled across Nissan's hospitality suite. It was my intended destination, but only dumb luck got me there the first time I went looking. It was there I learned that the resort's bar had on hand some Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. Arguably the world's best whiskey and certainly the world's best bourbon, it is all but impossible to find.

Crafted at the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery near Frankfort, KY, it is produced in such small quantities that the number of bottles distributed to some states can be counted on your fingers. A bottle of 23 year old can cost northward of $300. Quite frankly, the only way to score a bottle is to make some liquor-store owner your best buddy and hope he receives one of the precious bottles allotted to his area, and doesn't want it for himself.

The distillery's motto: We make fine bourbon. At a profit if we can. At a loss if we must. But always fine bourbon.

I love these guys!

Upon hearing that Pappy's was available at the bar during an afternoon conversation with Tom Smith, director of marketing for Pathfinder, I kidded him that his expense account was going to take a beating after dinner that night. He laughed politely and then collapsed into a chair to phone his banker.

Dinner was at the Napa Culinary Institute of America occupying the old Christian Brothers winery building. After learning how to prepare Oil Poached Halibut  from Chef Steve Ruggenberg -- as humorous as he was instructive -- we adjourned to the Barrel Room for an outstanding dinner.

Then it was back to the Solage's bar for a nightcap.

Our group numbering 20 or so congregated on the patio. I walked inside and asked the bartender to pull down the three bottles of Pappy's on hand so I could photograph them. As you can see, they had a bottle of the 23 year old, the 20 year old and the Rye. I returned to my glass of Taylor 20-year tawny port outside.

As I sat be-essing with some of my comrades in arms, the siren call of 23-year Pappy rang in my ears. You should have a good idea how this bit of the story ends. Needless to say,  I did perform the "happy boy" dance to the shock of my peers.

I'm not a professional taster -- a gifted amateur, yes; a professional, no -- so adequately describing the taste of this light-brown elixir is beyond my meager talent. But I can tell you that the main flavor was caramel and it was as smooth as Howie Mandel's head.

People standing seven or eight feet away said they could smell it; it was so full bodied and rich.

Speaking of rich, I won't tell you what that two ounces cost, but at $300 plus a bottle, dispensed in 2-ounce portions in a high-end resort settled in one of the most exclusive regions of the country, I'll let you do a little math in your head. Needless to say, it was a lot.

Having just sampled Woodford Reserve's Double Oak Bourbon -- a fine bourbon in its own right -- the week before at a Buick program in Louisville, I can say that Pappy's is worth every penny of its premium price.

When finished, I carried the empty glass back to my room. The next morning before heading to breakfast, I sniffed the empty tumbler; the rich nose was still present and the exceptional taste came flooding back.

Calling this magic liquid "orgasmic" isn't an overstatement. It's just that damn good.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bourbon-Infused Beer and A Turbo-Infused Buick: My Latest Trip to Louisville

I had a wicked two days of micro-beer drinking in Louisville last week. I'm more of a wine sipper, er, gulper these days; but when faced with several micro brews that I can't get at home, I'll go the hops-and-barley route. More on that in a graph or two.

Because Buick paid to haul me to Louisville, I feel compelled to make mention of the $29,105 Verano Turbo -- an all-new model. I don't mention it grudgingly; it is a fine little car. It is, after all, the king of the hill of Veranos.

Here are the highlights: Its 2-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine pumps out 260 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. It comes connected to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed, driver-shiftable automatic transmission. The price is the same regardless of the transmission. Zero to sixty takes 6.2 seconds and the EPA estimates you'll get about 30 mpg on the highway.

The cabin is comfortable and quiet. What the heck else do you need in an entry-level compact sedan?

Buick is kicking it as far as sales are concerned and Verano is its best-selling vehicle.

Buick put us up in the 21c Museum Hotel. This is a hotel run by members of the Brown family, as in Brown and Forman -- the folks who make some really good bourbon.

The hotel is at Seventh Street and Main.

It's a funky sort of joint. You realize that immediately upon stepping into the lobby as you gaze at the sculptures of naked little boys with their willies and everything. Apparently art is in the eye of the beholder.

Four blocks east is one of the micro breweries associated with the Bluegrass Brewing Company (BBC). There are three in town.

I know the BBC from drinking its Bourbon Barrel Stout in tiny Floyd, Virginia on a trip researching a travel story for AAA. I stumbled across it in a pizza joint. I was smitten.

My buddy Ray scooped me up at Louisville's Standiford field upon my arrival. I chowed down on a Hot Brown at Captain's Quarters on the Ohio River in Harrod's Creek. From there it was on to the BBC in St. Matthews -- a suburb of Louisville.

I was stoked. This would be my first chance to drink a little Bourbon Barrel Stout since my Floyd visit.

Not only was the stout everything I remembered it to be, we had a terrific bartender. I like bartenders. In fact, I consider myself a sort of bartender expert. I doubt anyone will argue with that self assessment.

Our bartender's name was Heather. She was friendly, funny and outgoing. Drawing beers isn't a taxing feat for a bartender, but she did it with a flair and seemed to be genuinely into her work.

The stout was everything I remembered from my Virginia experience. Full bodied with a hint of caramel and, of course, bourbon. Outstanding!

After downing a couple of beers -- and buying a BBC T-shirt -- we walked next door to a joint called Drake's. There I discovered a beer called Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale made by the Alltech Brewing Company in Lexington.

It' reminded me a little of the Caramel Crème Ale I had just tried at the Due South Brewing Company in Boynton Beach, Florida with a little bourbon kick.

Leaving Louisville, I was off to Tucson -- home of my buddy Jose. My flight arrived just before noon. We had lunch in a great Mexican joint where we ate several months ago on my last Arizona visit. We adjourned from there and headed to the Nimbus Brewery. This is a hole-in-the-wall brew pub in a warehouse district. I love it. Downing a couple of beers and buying a T-shirt, my business was done.

If you've never been to Louisville, it will blow you away. I'd be living there now if Greenville hadn't grabbed me.

I'm guess I'm fickle.

But there is nothing I like better than hitting micro breweries in far-off lands.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Little More Air Time or How the Natives Really Pronounce Louisville

This has shaped up to be a whirlwind week. I'm sitting in the Louisville airport waiting for my flight to Atlanta on my way to Tucson.

Buick brought me here to drive its new Verano Turbo and 2013 Enclave. I love it when someone else pays for my ticket to fly me to a place I'd gladly spend my own money to go to. In fact, I'll be coming back to Louisville for Thanksgiving.

I only lived in Louisville for about 15 years, but I consider it home. I graduated high school here and my parents are buried in its Resthaven cemetery. Louisville just makes me happy. If I hadn't moved to Greenville, SC, I'd probably be living in Louisville. It was No. 2 on my list.

For two days I've listened to Buick internals kidding about how they have learned to pronounce the city's name like a native and then mispronounce like they've never heard a native say it. For the record, to pronounce it like a native it's two syllables: "Loo-vuhl."

Here endeth the lesson for the day.

Tucson is another place I've spent my own money to visit. I have a good friend who moved there from South Florida about six years ago. He'll be picking me up from the airport. After eating lunch we'll hit a microbrewery or two. Let the adventure continue.

Lexus is paying the freight to get me to Arizona. What are the chances of back-to-back carmaker events each taking me someplace I really want to go?

Delta upgraded me on this first leg of this journey. My chances of being upgraded on my return flight will be about 30% better than they are right now. The flight from Atlanta to Tucson will push me over the crest of the next tier of Delta's Sky Miles program. I'll exceed 75,000 miles flown with them for 2012. That will make me Platinum -- a status I haven't enjoyed for six or seven years. And that was before Delta sucked up Northwest and Platinum was its top Sky Miles status. Of course, Platinum used to require 100,000 miles and included a free Crown Room membership.

Ahhh, those were the days.

Now Platinum just means a couple of extra free-drink tickets and a boost up the upgrade list.

Oh, well….

Stay tuned for more on my Loo-vuhl visit.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Bottle of Red, A Bottle of White: Conundrum Now in Two Flavors

I'm sort of partial to wine. It's my drink of choice, truth be known.

Sure, I still like a good bourbon or tequila. And if some special occasion presents itself before noon, it's not unheard of for me to mix a little vodka in my OJ.

Of course I still enjoy beer.

But I prefer wine in most circumstances.

I'm more of a red wine drinker than white, but I do like white as well.

My white wine taste evolved from Lancers and Blue Nun Liebfraumilch through chardonnay to finally come to rest on sauvignon blanc.

I like the citrus finish and dryness of a good sauvignon blanc. I can still drink chardonnay or a good Albarino -- I mean, I'm not a wine snob -- but I just prefer sauvignon blanc.

If I'm not drinking sauvignon blanc, though, I'd just as soon drink Conundrum as anything. No one outside of the winery is sure just what's in it. It's a blend, you see. And the participating grapes are a close-kept secret: a conundrum of sorts.

It's a little too sweet to keep me a loyal follower, but I like it from time to time.

Crafted by the Wagner family, owners of Caymus vineyards, Conundrum is about as close to chardonnay as you can get without it being, well, chardonnay.

I have friends in Florida who gulp the stuff by the case. I enthusiastically throw myself into the fray when I am visiting. It's only polite.

On my last Florida trip, I experienced Conundrum Red for the first time. Like the white, Conundrum Red is a blend of of unknowns. Full fruited, it is quite tasty. In fact, in my less than sophisticated opinion, Conundrum Red is a better red than Conundrum white is a white.

High praise, indeed.

My advice is to keep an eye out for it and give it a try. The bottle I shared came from Total Wine and was priced around $23.


Friday, October 5, 2012

My Black Lincoln MKT: Herman Munster Would Be Greener with Envy

Ford was kind enough to lend me a Lincoln MKT for the duration of my recent visit to Florida. It was waiting for me when I walked out of the terminal at Palm Beach International.

It was a 2013 variety, which means it sports a few design tweaks and a more powerful V6.

The Ford-produced canned photos you see here are only representative of the MKT I drove in that it was an MKT. However, mine was black rather than white.

I felt like Herman Munster tooling around in my very own hearse. I could have put on my hazard flashers, blinked my headlights a couple of times and stopped cross traffic at any intersection in Palm Beach County.

I worked for a mortuary the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college. I zoned out for a second at a traffic light and when I tuned back in, for an instant I thought I was suffering a flashback.

Otherwise, I can't find a negative nit to pick with this $46,000 luxury crossover.

It's roomy, comfortable, carefully screwed together and quite plush.

Unlike when I get a test vehicle at home in South Carolina and pretty much just hustle around Greenville with just me in the car, during my Florida trips, I cart around all sorts of people with ages ranging from 11 to 45. It means I gather an entirely different perspective on the vehicle.

The big hit with the MKT were the rear-seat inflatable seat belts. A $190 option, they inflate during an accident, spreading the crash force across a five-times wider area of the wearer's torso. When Ford explained them to several journalists in Dearborn over a year ago, the engineers claimed that not only would they reduce injuries in crashes, but, because they are more comfortable to wear, would be more widely used than traditional rear-seat seat belts.

We sort of scoffed at that idea at the time; however, everyone who climbed into the backseat of the MKT praised the comfort of the belts. Apparently the Ford engineers knew what they were talking about.

My test MKT had the optional 355-horsepower 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6. A terrific engine, it should never be passed up when available on a Ford you are purchasing. Fuel Economy was a very respectable 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10 days I drove the MKT. Not to mention the fact I could double park in the drop-off lane of any hospital or nursing home, of which there is one every two blocks in South Florida, without fear of a ticket. Bonus!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Brad Paisley and The Band Perry: An Unexpected Live Treat on My Recent S. FL Jaunt

My latest South Florida excursion is behind me. I left freshly painted walls as well as a hangover or two in my wake. I love being me!

Although it wasn't planned in any way, it so happened that Brad Paisley was playing at Coral Sky on my last night there. I've seen him two or three times over the years at the same venue. He puts on a good show, but I wasn't all a-twitter with the thought of seeing him again.

The crowds at his concerts trend much younger than most other country audiences. There are more falling-down drunks and dust-ups at his shows. The "more-falling-down drunks" part is really more speculation than research-based fact. It may just seem like more drunks. We had one go down right in front of us at last week's event.

It was one of those slow-motion events where he came stumbling along, seemed to get lost right in front of us, staggered back and forth a few steps and then started to go down. One of our group grabbed him, but it was like trying to trap a bead of mercury under your finger. He wobbled this way and that and then just sort of slowly fell backward as my friend continued to try to hold him up. As he lay in a heap before us, he found his cell phone and attempted to call some one. Eventually one of the venue staffers came up and ushered him away.

In any event, I like Brad, but I've seen him. But when the ticket is free and a bunch of pals are going, hey, ya gotta go.

I was particularly interested in seeing The Band Perry, which I've never seen in concert before. Have you seen Kimberly Perry? Of course I was interested in seeing them.

Although they've had some hits, the only song of theirs I was truly familiar with was "If I Die Young." I like it. I've seen the video and it's OK, too. But this is one of those bands that seems to have pretty good bones, but might go either way in the future. I wanted to get a look at them on stage and hear how they would fill 30 minutes around a couple of hit songs.

They blew us away. I must confess that until the concert, I had no idea it was two brothers and a sister that front the band. One brother is younger than 20. But these guys rock out.

They of course performed the two or three songs that have received some radio play, but also launched into Petty's "Free Falling" and Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls."

Kimberly Perry has every bit as much energy on stage as Kenny Chesney, and really gets the audience into the performance. Their 30 minutes was worth the price of admission.

And then Brad came out and put on the best show I've seen from him.

At one point he sang a duet with a hologram of Carrie Underwood and I would have taken a bet that she was actually there.

Paisley is one of those artists who you can't fully appreciate from recordings. I always forget what a spectacular guitar player he is until I see him on stage.

What a great night!