Man, what a weekend. It started off with a surprise from Shira: tickets to see Brad Paisley in concert. In many respects, Brad Paisley is my favorite artist. I just visited YouTube and had no problem ticking off 18 songs that I thoroughly enjoy from him. Here, give them a listen. Country music is all about story telling and clever word play, and many of Paisley's songs nail this.
So yeah, seeing Brad in concert was a big deal. As if just being there wasn't enough, Shira bought tickets in the 100 section - we were soooo close.
The concert was great, and he played most of the songs I was hoping he would (though Little Moments, Mona Lisa and of course Waiting on a Woman would have been welcome additions). He tacked on plenty of guitar solos and signed autographs and otherwise interacted with the crowd while playing, all of which to me, added up to some impressive skills. But then again, what do I know. Maybe it's not that hard to play a guitar with a banana?
There were two warm up acts, Maddie & Tae and Tyler Farr. I didn't know either by name. I did recognize one of Maddie and Tae's hits, Girl in a Country Song, which to me is a solid country song. And Tyler Farr's voice is distinctive enough that I recognized a few of his songs, a number of which I've been enjoying on the radio. Farr did a truly powerful version of Hello Goodbye, a song that hadn't entered my consciousness till I heard him belt it out. Well done. Though I could have done without his comment, enough of that sissy crap, that seemed to undercut the song a bit. Though I get transitions are tough, and I'm sure he's still mastering how to go from his slow stuff to his rowdy stuff.
I can't help but feel a little like a fish out of water at a country concert. What, with being a Jewish city boy and all. I may not have had the cowboy boots or hat, but there was one thing that me and the rest of the guys at the concert could agree on: cargo shorts rock. Whoo!
All in all, the concert was great.
The other highlight of the weekend: taking a day cruise on a friend's sail boat. It was just about the perfect day to be on the water: clear skies, sunshine, yet cool enough that we didn't cook. I say just about, because there was only one thing missing: the wind. We did a bit of sailing with the meager wind offered, but spent most of our time motoring around. We ended up stashing ourselves in a little cove and using both a dinghy and a kayak to explore the area. That was truly a fun time, with amazing views, interesting birds and a family apparently trotlining for crabs to watch. There's just something magical about sitting on a boat, noshing snacks and kibitzing with friends. Fun times!
As if all that weren't enough, we even squeezed in a 4 mile hike in the Conway Robinson Memorial State Forest. While the chunk of forest isn't exactly huge, it was great to get out in nature. The signage along the trail explains how the forest is managed, and by managed, I mean strategically cut down. I suppose it's all about thinking long term and trying to shape growth for the long term good. Or it's pure hubris on man's part. Either way, it was a delightful hike.
Now I need a weekend to recover from my weekend. Yeeeehawwww!
Update: Oh, and here's some audio clips captured from the concert. Enjoy!