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I have never been to a country concert before but have always loved Brad Paisley’s music. I think it has something to do with the mean guitar playing and hilarious songs. Anyway, when he rolled into town (Tampa) I saw his show at the fairgrounds Amphitheatre.

In country fashion, my wife and I parked in the mud/grass parking area and trekked for what seemed miles to get to the gate. The closer we got to the gate the more happy drunk people and scantily clad country girls we met, dancing in the backs of pickups and flipping burgers on the grill. Lots of American flags waved, some Confederate flags, and merry people gave us “high-fives for no reason, yeah!”

Oh, man. What a trip.

The first act was Charlie Worsham, never heard of him, but he did say he was going to come back someday and sellout the amphitheater. I like enthusiasm. I hope he does it. Next was Leah Turner who I did not like. She didn’t have stage presence and I didn’t like her songs. My wife and I left after a couple songs to explore the commons and to people watch.

We found out it was actually somebody’s job to stand in the women’s restroom and to hustle people through it like cattle. “Stall three is open! Stall three! Keep it movin’ people! Stall three!” Haha…I wonder how one gets stuck with that job.

We split a Frappuccino from a coffee stand that was surprisingly tasty. Then we people watched and went back to our seats when Randy Houser took the stage. I’ve never heard of him, but did recognize a couple of his songs. Everybody went crazy when he covered Garth Brooks Friends in Low Places. The last song of his set was kick butt. It sounded more rock than country. Overall, the Mississippian put on a real good show.

Techs ran around dismantling the stage and then built it up again. A giant backdrop screen showed an animated NASA space shuttle getting ready for launch. The shuttle launched into space when Brad took the stage with the song Moonshine in the Trunk. (I think that was the name of the song, the new album hasn’t been released yet so I can’t confirm that was the song I heard). The second song he played might possibly be my favorite of his–Ticks. Years ago I even learned it on guitar and sang it to my wife when we were dating (it’s amazing to me she was able to resist my charms for as long as she did).

The concert rolled on with Brad taking out the best of the best. It was like watching a greatest hits concert, which I loved. I can appreciate a guitarist that plays the songs the fans want to hear most. For those of you who don’t know, Brad Paisley is a spectacular guitar player. And those skills are put on exhibit at his live shows as he tears through his set. He even did a flawless cover of Van Halen’s Hot Teacher, doing all the guitar work himself.

So yeah, the concert was great and it was one of those things that I have been wanting to do for years, but never got around to doing. It’s a shame how many people (myself included) have a long list of “gotta do” things and never get around to doing it.

It brings me to my first bit of Florida Explorer principles…

Florida Exploring Advice

How to find the time to get out, have fun, and enjoy life

Okay, part of the reason I was able to achieve a years-long wish of seeing a Paisley concert was because I got out of the apartment and did it. What?! That’s easy and not even real advise!” one might say. Maybe it doesn’t sound like it, but think about. How many evenings have you spent at home when you could have been elsewhere checking off something from that internal “gotta do” list that we all have bouncing around in our heads.

Some of the things are big and some of them are small. On my personal list I have things ranging from thru-hiking the Florida Trail to checking out a local state park. Both things I really want to do, one easy one difficult. For those easier, low-lying fruit kind of things all we need is a day, half-day, or a single evening. So we all have the time, it’s just a matter of saying, “I’m going out today, dang it!”

Every time there is an action that we want to do that requires a reasonable amount of energy there is another part of our brain telling us that we should stay in, take it easy, watch a season or two of House of Cards.

If you go out and start doing some of these things you’ve been dreaming of doing, you’ll be having a lot more fun and will be living a much richer life. Most likely if you have nostalgia for certain parts of your life it was because you were out there doing things.

So think about the things you’ve been wanting to do while in Florida…check out a theme park? Go to a new beach? Explore St. Augustine? Country concert? Whatever it may be, put it on that internal list of yours, or even write it out, and get out there and do it the next time you have a day off. You will be rewarded with rich new experiences and a better day than simply staying put.

Featured Image by Maxo

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