This is why I don't use fire in my flair anymore. The bartender sounds like quite the rocket scientist.
I understand the appeal. I really do. I performed flair shows at Kahunaville for two years, and even though I spent weeks and months learning some ridiculously difficult flair moves, our simple fire blast always got the biggest crowd reaction. Yeah, it's kind of cool to see four people blow a big collective fireball. And it's even cooler to see someone juggling three bottles while someone blows a fireball off the flaming one balanced on the juggler's head. I love watching that, too. But spitting fire requires little skill. And definitely less brains.
I'm conflicted, because a truly fantastic bartender I work with performs a brief two-bottle routine most Fri/Sat nights, while both of the bottles are lit on fire. And he showcases some great skill in his two bottle routine. But people aren't reacting to that. They're reacting to the fire. I think even he would admit that if the bottles weren't lit, the crowd wouldn't take as much interest. Which sucks! I'd like to think the caveman in us isn't still mesmerized by the glow of fire, but I acknowledge that's just not the case. Until people can spot and appreciate real skill and talent like he (and Jeremy and I) love to showcase, bartenders like this will continue to burn people. And we'll continue to give the crowd what they want.