Brad's Big Adventure

Finally, getting ‘the look’

Photos coming shortly

I mean, it just doesn’t get any better. Amazing venue. Iconic. … just amazing. It didn’t take that long to get to Nashville and we went ahead and got some city parking right next to the Ryman Auditorium. It was like $30 or $35 and we just, ‘Hell with it. Who cares at this point?’ Back in Austin, Texas, parking was at a premium. We pulled into a lot and the guy asked for $60, so we left and drove around forever looking for a spot. There’s nothing even remotely available there, everything was so expensive. Finally, I’m like: ‘I want you to drive down that street that Austin City Limits is on.’ I joke about this all the time with wife Kelly. I tell her I already know there’s a parking space there. I have visualized it. So just go find it and park the car there. So I said, ‘Bob just go there.’ And we got a space! A spot literally within a block on the same street and sure enough it was free. We checked out a few Nashville bars, and I took several photos and videos. We watched this old couple dance for probably an hour. Then we took the tour of the Ryman Auditorium. It was a little pricey, but they take you backstage, you see all the green rooms, and they’re all named after famous musicians. There’s the Johnny Cash room. And there’s a June Carter one. I want to say there was a Roy Acuff one and one for Hank Snow. And Minnie Pearl; there’s a really classic shot of Minnie Pearl with the price tag hanging off … Once we went into the auditorium on the tour I got to really study the inside of the Ryman and they allowed me to go on stage. The staff was so kind; there’s just something about these regions of the country where it’s a different tone. Some of it is more genuine than other places. When I went in that night I already had kind of an idea of what I was going to do a little bit. I know this one shot at the very end I was gonna get that might have been my favorite of the night. From the seats that we had up in the balcony, there was this angle shot, and there were lights on the radius of the balcony. And there’s just this nice hook of lights and then the runway, so you can see where you’re stepping. There’s all these sprinkling of lights coming up toward the camera. And it was just a nice shot I stumbled onto. Unfortunately, there was an issue with my press credentials that night. It ultimately got straightened out, but I didn’t get inside until a few minutes before the show. I’m kind of checking things out with the photographers there and everybody’s happy and friendly. It’s a very spirited crowd, like in Austin. I know my spot; I know where Buddy’s gonna go and so I get all set up for that first song and the band starts up and here we go. And I thought to myself, I hope Buddy will finally interact with me because he has totally ignored me these first three shows. They come out and he goes to break, of course, to stage right to do his first guitar solo and looks right at me and stops, and this huge smile comes on his face and he gives me that look like, ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ After the show, I tell someone, ‘He finally acknowledged me.’ And they said it was the first show that they’ve done where they haven’t had a spotlight on them. That was the whole reason Buddy couldn’t see me; he couldn’t see past the edge of the stage. But then when he finally could see he just lit up like a Christmas tree. It was just like old days. And yeah, he came right out to me and did a nice solo and was just awesome. When Buddy first walked out and the people stood, not everybody was starting to stand and I turned around and raised my hands, and people started standing up and more and more and the whole place was standing and I just kept waving my arms. The people were roaring, and I turned around and Tom Hambridge, Buddy’s producer who also plays drums in the band, looks at me and points a stick and we start to laugh. In Nashville, Buddy came out and the crowd gave him a good one-minute ovation. Austin was two solid minutes. Buddy was very moved by the whole experience each time. Afterward we hung out just a little bit with the band. Not too long. We’re just all getting older, I guess. We all kind of turned in early every night after shows.