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

Saturday, July 19, 2008

National Arts Centre, Ottawa, ON

Left home at about 11:30am. I had to drop by our client’s building first, to discuss some work-related issues with Jonathan. 20 minutes later I was on my way to Ottawa.

The drive to Ottawa was easier than I thought. There was a little bit of traffic entering the Toronto metro area but nothing too bad.

The road to Ottawa is pretty boring for the most part, but there are some stuff worth doing which I didn’t do today because I was in a hurry. I have traveled this road many times before, and every time I do, I stop over at that wonderful place called “Woodenheads Gourmet Pizza” (http://www.woodenheads.com) in the town of Kingston. This is one pizza-place you can never forget. It’s not a pizzeria; it’s an actual restaurant - a classy one, too - that serves all kinds of pizza, all prepared in a wood burning oven. It is so amazingly tasty that I felt very sorry for not being able to stop over.

Last time I was there, I was with my dad. I can’t recall what I ordered, but he ordered the one with the goat cheese and smoked salmon on it; I had a taste and couldn’t stand up because it was so delicious.

Next time you’re near Kingston, check this place out. It’s very easy to get to - right on the harbour.

The other thing worth doing is to take the Thousand Islands Parkway. As you drive on the boring 401, you can take exit 647 or 648 into the Thousand Islands Parkway, which runs parallel to the 401 but goes very close to the shore of St. Lawrence River. There are all bunch of tiny little islands that you get to see. If you enter the town of Gananoque, you can also take a boat tour through some of the islands. Very cool. There’s more than a 1,000 islands there - a little over 1,800 to be exact. A long time ago, the government sold those islands very cheap to some lucky people. Today each one is worth millions. It’s amazing to see a tiny island with a house in it and not much more. You have to sail your boat to go to the supermarket.

I was very hungry. I skipped breakfast, and decided I’ll eat only after leaving the Toronto area, to avoid any chance of being caught in traffic later on. I ended up buying a sandwich from Tim Horton’s. Another stop further down the 401 for some Starbucks and then driving non-stop to Ottawa.

On my way, I listened to my copies of Inamorata (Guy Fletcher) and Kismet (Jesca Hoop). I will write more about these two CD’s shortly.

About 30 km south of Ottawa it started to rain. Not heavily though. By the time I got to Ottawa, it stopped.

Found a place to park on the street, for free. Parking meters here run until 3:30pm (the Bank & Somerset area). From where I parked, it was about 10 minutes walk up Bank Street, another Starbucks, then 10 more minutes up Slater street and I got to the venue. I carried my backpack with me, as I had a strange feeling about leaving my car with my laptop parked on the street for 4 hours.

The venue, called “National Arts Centre”, is very pretty to look at from from the inside, though rather boring from the outside. Guy & Richard, in their blogs, will probably outline the history of the venue, so I’ll leave it to them.

I arrived early so I decided to inquire the ushers about my seat’s location. My ticket read “Row BB, Seat 2”. I already accepted the fact that I’m going to be at the second row, so I asked the usher whether he thinks my backpack would fit. He told me that I’m in the front row, so I shouldn’t have a problem.

Excuse me? Front row?

- “Yes. There’s no row AA anymore. We removed it.”

Gulp. And the seat? It turns out that the venue is divided to even-numbered and odd-numbered seats, so my seat was right at the center. Front-row center, once again!

I started a discussion with a couple sitting next to me who were very happy for their seats. The guy turned out to be a long-time MK fan, We talked for two minutes until some lady came and mentioned that it’s her seats that the couple is sitting on. It turned out that they had row B, not BB. Sucks to be them, there are very few things as painful as realizing you’re not really in the front-row center but rather a few rows to the back.

To the right of me, there was this guy who immigrated to Canada from Peru and was very excited to see Mark performing for the first time in his life.

Jesca Hoop started at 8:00pm, wearing something slightly different this time. Same jeans, different top. Still a beautiful lady. She gave a very good show. Some guy from the crowd asked her to play some Metallica for him, a request she has politely declined.

During the break I decided that I want another T-shirt, a different color this time. I met Jesca there, who recognized my face (but forgot my name). I asked her a few questions that came to mind after listening to her CD twice in my car. Great talking to Jesca. Such a warm person.

Show started at 9:00pm in this beautiful venue with awesome, awesome sound. After two shows in open air, with high temperatures and insane humidity, the band seemed very happy to play indoors. They appear to play more peacefully when the temperature and humidity level are bearable. The concert went smooth with great work by everybody. I could notice everybody improvising today, which was great. Matt’s piano work during Romeo and Juliet was great, Glenn’s bass work during Sultans of Swing was great, John’s whistle work during What It Is and Sailing to Philadelphia was great (improvised in ways I haven’t heard yet on this tour), Guy doing some fantastic keyboard work and Richard just being amazing as always, introducing his unique guitar tone and perfect usage of the tremolo exactly when & where it’s needed. Hell, I could even notice Danny changing his drumming sequences from time to time. And of course there’s Mark to always change & shift stuff around.

Fantastic show. I’m sure the band would consider this to be one of their best shows so far in the tour. It was very well orchestrated.

No special occurrences in this show, except for something not working right when Mark was about to play Song for Sonny Liston (stage crew worker came by and fixed it instantly and got some good cheer from the audience). Extremely funny was Mark’s comment when introducing Matt. “This guy can play anything, from Oscar Peterson (?) all the way down the food chain. All the way to me.”

At the end of the show, when everybody cheered, I handed Richard a Harvey’s gift card. I actually bought it the day before and intended to ask the stage crew guys in Toronto to hand it to him (there was a fence in that venue that prevented access to the stage), but it didn’t work out. Richard seemed to be very happy. I was also happy to do my part to end world hunger.

After the show, I started driving towards Boston and decided to spend the night in Montreal. Found a motel that charges by the hour (…), what a huge mistake. That’s why I’m still awake at 4:30am, noise all the time. And it’s not the kind of interesting noise that you’d expect from a by-the-hour motel. Some people just making noise.

Screw them. I’ll be out of here in 3 hours.

Off to Boston soon. I’ll spend the night in Boston, and drive to Syracuse early morning on Sunday.

Later,
Isaac

4 comments:

Morten said...

...Having a great time here catching up on your Toronto and Ottawa entries. Congrats on the meet and greet invitation - good news indeed. Enjoy it....

Julie said...

Isaac,

How exciting to receive the M&G invite from Guy! I do think you are deserving.

I have to admit that when you first announced your quest on the MK forum that it did have stalker overtones, but you have represented all of us as a true gentleman--respectful and enthusiastic, and even eloquent. Who knew? Sow civility. Harvest unknown rewards.

I'm sure your time with Folk Shag will be too short. I'm looking forward to your blog entry following the Boston soirée.

I wish you the best with the rest of the adventure!

Julie
Salt Lake City

Isaac said...

Hi Julie,
Thanks for the kind words.

Well, I don't blame you for thinking that I'm a stalker. I realize that what I'm doing is not very common...

I hope I'll get to write about the Boston show (and some other things I'd like to write) tonight after the show. I have slept for a grand total of 2 hours during the last 36...


Isaac

FishyMcDonk said...

So glad we (me!) got to see one of the better shows. They were so good the improvisation actually looked rehearsed. I was in the 6th row and wondered who that dude was handing something to the band at the end, now I know.