Welcome to my Kill to Get Crimson 2008 tour blog!

My name is Isaac, 30 years old from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. I have set this blog up for the purpose of documenting the journey I am taking following Mark Knopfler’s Kill to Get Crimson tour in North America, in the summer of 2008.

The North American leg of the tour, as well as my journey, begins June 24th in Morrison, Colorado and ends on July 31st in Miami Beach, Florida.

Even though I intend to write on a daily basis, publishing the stories onto the server would be tricky. After all, we’re talking about vast distances which will be primarily crossed by driving, and there is no way for me to predict the availability of Internet connection throughout the way.

So… make yourself at home and feel free to drop a comment.

Yours,

Isaac

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA

Wow, today was a very long driving day. And of course, since it’s my first time ever driving a convertible car during the day time, I completely neglected the concept of “skin protection” and, 7 hours later of driving in the sun from L.A to Berkeley, my skin is burnt and I am tanned beyond recognition.

I am lucky enough to have been born in a pretty sunny country (Israel), and I am naturally tanned anyway, so the damage wasn’t that bad. But still, it hurts.

Getting out of Hollywood Hills, where I stayed after the concert in L.A., was pretty smooth as it was a Saturday morning. It’s amazing how everything changes as soon as you leave the Los Angeles metro area. The air becomes softer and cleaner; people become nicer; all and all, it feels more… how to say it… warm and cozy.

I remember when I first drove from LAX to the Travelodge in Hollywood Hills, I thought I’m driving into a slum. That entire area (North Vermont Avenue, near the park) seemed very odd to me, very different from what I expected. I entered the Travelodge lobby and asked the receptionist: “Excuse me, but am I in a rough area of town?”

Few words exist in the English language to explain the surprise and shock on his face when I asked him that. “No, this is actually a very good area” he said, going on to tell me about the whopping awesome deal they have there—$110 for a night (!), in a motel that in Ontario I’d probably pay $50–60 max. But what the hell, I didn’t want to start wandering around looking for a place to stay, so I paid the fine and stayed there. Also, it’s within walking distance to the park.

Anyway, back to my Saturday experience. I had my breakfast in a cute little place called “Side Street Cafe”, owned by Shelly Benton & Suzanne Hullinger, in Newbury Park, north of Los Angeles. The friendliness of the staff reminded me of my home town of Waterloo, Ontario—small‐town atmosphere, great friendly people. It was a pleasure, and the food was really good. Very recommended.

Then started that long drive to Berkeley, during which I insisted to have the roof tucked in and have the sun torture my face, shoulders and arms. I drove a little bit alongside highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, which was beautiful. Very similar views to the ones you get when you drive along the coast of Cape Breton Island in lovely Nova Scotia, except that in Nova Scotia you can never be absolutely sure about the weather and the water is forbiddingly cold so you can’t swim there at all.

Driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, I saw what everybody considers to be California—young people (well, I’m young too… I think… is 30 too old?), good looking people, amazingly beautiful girls holding surfboards. These people seem to be having fun. I wouldn’t mind being lucky enough to own a beach house along one of those beaches, these guys must be making gazillions of dollars. After some swift calculations and consideration of my financial status and goals in life, I decided that maybe it’s better to keep the house I own in Ontario (which pays for itself) than selling it and getting into debt that will last approximately 500,000 years. So I moved on and skipped all “for sale” ads.

About a hundred miles north of the L.A. metro, the road really becomes desert‐like. There’s nothing along the way except for some restaurants and fuel stations. Rather boring drive, which becomes much more interesting as you approach San Francisco.

I didn’t get to spend too much time in San Francisco, unfortunately. I had to check into my hotel (Super 8 Motel in Martinez—very recommended) and hurry to the concert.

I arrived at Berkeley. What a lovely little town! Very similar in nature to some parts of Tel Aviv, except that the people are completely different and the area is very hilly—you can’t drive for one minute without encountering uphills and downhills.

People told me, before I went on my trip, that Berkeley is some sort of a “hippie” town. Well, that’s correct. And you can see that by looking at the people who arrived at the venue. Nice people, dressed like, speak like and behave like we’re still in the 1960’s—which is not bad at all, but just a little peculiar.

The venue itself is far from being extravagant. Very basic. If it was in any other city, I would complain. But the venue itself matched my perception of Berkeley—nothing too fancy, “take it easy” kind of attitude. The staff was great. I really disliked the fact that there was some sort of a fence separating the first row (where I was located, right in the middle) from the stage, even though the stage is about 8 feet tall. I couldn’t see any reasoning behind it.

Jesca Hoop went on stage, this time with only one backup singer (one of the two girls that went on stage with her in the previous show in L.A). Jesca’s music and voice seemed very “compatible” with the crowd. The crowd loved her, and she didn’t hesitate to mention that it’s mutual.

Few songs later, then the intermission, and then it’s Paul Crockford again making the announcement about recording policies, with his brilliantly‐sarcastic “Enjoy the show” at the end. I actually happen to like that speech. It’s short and to the point, and Paul’s “authoritative” voice really gives you the feeling that you don’t want to be recording anything here because this guy means business.

That didn’t prevent a certain person from attempting to record the show. Halfway across the show, Mark suddenly pointed his finger towards a person in the crowd. Nobody understood what the heck is going on, but being in all previous shows, I kinda had the feeling that he located a recorder and got a little pissed. A few seconds later, security approached that guy and I think he was kicked out of the venue but I’m not sure.

The show itself was very good. The sound was awesome and the set list identical to that of L.A.

The crowd seemed to have loved the show. especially the Dire Straits hits. Sultans of Swing seemed to have extracted the very best of that audience as not even one member of the crowd was seated.

Usual encore—4 songs—and now it was time to find a way to get out of there with my car. That venue is not car‐friendly at all, which goes pretty well in line with this town’s attitude of “Don’t Drink and Drive—Just Drink”. $20 for parking! and exiting that venue with a car was a nightmare, even when using a GPS and instructing it to find a detour around all busy intersections. Took me about 30 minutes before I left Berkeley.

Next show is in Jacksonville, Oregon. I’ve never heard of that place before. When I told people that the show is in Jacksonville, Oregon, they corrected me and told me “you mean Florida”. I had to convince them that there’s a Jacksonville in Oregon as well and that there are concerts there.

See you guys soon!

--
Isaac

1 comment:

Esg said...

Shalom, and thanks for the review !!