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

Friday, July 04, 2008

Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, BC

Ah! At last! Beautiful, super, natural British Columbia.

I arrived at the train station, and after about 20 minutes waiting in line for customs & immigration, during which the immigration officer refused to believe me that I’m following a tour all over North America, I am back in Canada.

Of all cities I’ve been in so far in my 30 years of living, Vancouver is the city to be in, live in, get old in and (potentially; I don’t know for sure) die in. Even though the night before I barely slept for one hour, the very sight of Vancouver’s skyline, the mountains and the ocean has recharged my weary bones, muscles and brain with a huge shot of adrenaline.

I first arrived at Vancouver six years ago, as part of a trip I took to Canada when I still lived in Israel. After spending a week or so in the Toronto area, I decided to hit some natural scenes. Asking around (this is the time to note that I had no clue what Canada is and what it consists of, except for the names “Toronto”, “Montreal” and “Vancouver” which I really believed are three cities that are really close to each other), I figured that in order to see nature at its best I’ll have to fly to British Columbia, which I did a few days later. Ever since the day I arrived at Vancouver, I knew that Vancouver is the place in which I would want to spend my life. And ever since, I made it a habit to visit Vancouver & the west coast twice a year.

Vancouver simply has it all, and now, with the 2010 Winter Olympics fever, the city is quickly growing to be a world‐class city in every measure.

It has mountains.

It has green—a lot of it.

It has Stanley Park and English Bay, two areas that simply beg to be discovered by foot / bicycle.

It has Kitsilano, which is an upscale neighbourhood that effectively has its own beach—a beach so pretty and so amazing—hell, you can see the city’s skyline from that beach!—that you really envy whoever is lucky enough to live there, especially the ones living in those multi‐million dollars houses a stone‐throw from the beach.

It has West Vancouver, which is located across the bridge and to the west, and just happens to be the most expensive postal code in Canada. I drove there a lot, it is truly amazing.

It has endless hills and valleys.

It has highway 99 going through its northern part, continuing all the way up to Whistler (the “sea to sky” highway), in what makes one of the most scenic, breathtaking drives on the planet, rivalled only by the Icefields Parkway (also in Canada; that’s the highway connecting Banff and Jasper, and going through the Rocky Mountains), the Cabot Trail (an amazing piece of drive that encircles Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia—also in Canada) and—so I’ve heard—the famous highway along Australia’s east coast (forgot its name).

It has all types of food from any country you can possibly dream of. People claim that the sushi served in Vancouver is much better than the sushi served anywhere else on the planet, including Japan.

It rarely snows there (although rains quite a bit).

No wonder why so many people move to Vancouver.

Anyway, back to the subject.

My great friend, Joyti Bharaj, picked me up at the train station. Joyti and I go a few years back, we met each other when I was looking to switch jobs four years ago. We became great friends, and she is one of the smartest, bravest, most sophisticated and prettiest women I have ever had the chance to know. Over the years, us being 5,000km apart, we mainly kept in touch via the Internet, rarely met—but still maintained great friendship.

Joyti took it on herself to be my hostess in my day in Vancouver. She took a day off her immensely busy schedule (she is the busiest person I know, period) and we had great, great, great time together.

We started off by satisfying our mutual craving for food. She suggested (and I followed) we go to Cardero’s, which is an amazing restaurant right on the water, nearby Canada Place (which is now under heavy construction, probably renovating for the winter Olympics. Actually, the entire city appears to be under construction at the moment). I followed her advice and ordered the wild salmon dish, which turned out to be the tastiest piece of fish I have ever, ever let into my mouth.

Then we went to Cafe Artigiano, right by the harbour, and got ourselves some good coffee for the way. Cafe Artigiano is (rightfully) considered the best coffee place in Vancouver.

Weather was great so we drove to Kitsilano’s awesome beach. Oh, how I love that beach. I have sweet memories from that beach. It was sunny so we found ourselves sitting by a huge log on the beach, talking for about two hours about everything that matters. The soothing sound of the waves, and the phenomenal view of downtown Vancouver as well as the amazing houses of West Vancouver, made me feel in heaven. It was so great.

We became hungry again so Joyti suggested that we hit some sushi. As always, she claimed to know the best place in town for Sushi. We went to some place in Kerrisdale’s Village. I forgot its name (Joyti, can you please comment and provide the name of that place?), but will never forget the sushi. One word: phenomenal. These guys know their sushi. It’s super fresh, tastes like heaven. Definitely a place to hit more than once in a lifetime.

Went to Joyti’s place and changed, then left for the show. It’s a short drive from Joyti’s house to the Joyce Skytrain station. The Skytrain is Vancouver’s subway, so named because its mostly above ground in what seems and feels like a mellow roller coaster (think about Las Vegas’ Monorail system). It is also completely automatic, there’s no driver for that thing. Takes you to all important places in town in matter of minutes. Within 5 minutes I arrived at Granville Station, which is a short walk from the Orpheum Theatre.

Got a glimpse of downtown Vancouver and felt like planting myself in there. What an amazing downtown area.

I arrived at the venue about 30 minutes before Jesca’s opening act. Very small, intimate venue, but beautiful, both at the inside and the outside. It was a bit hard to see the decor at the inside; perhaps it was something a bit off with the lighting, or maybe it’s just supposed to be that way, but the place seemed to be rather dark.

I was seated at the front row, very close to the center. The distance between the front row and the stage was about 1.5 meters, and stage was about 1.5 meters high, which was excellent. No barrier between the front row and the stage—very good.

There came Paul with the regular “no recording” policy. I have decided that, at the next time I see him, I will just have to ask him where he buys those shirts.

The show was smooth, very well orchestrated, with the standard set list. The band gave a hell of a show, the sound was excellent and so was the lighting (as far as the stage goes; I would be much happier if somebody set some lights on the venue’s decor so we can see it). One of the best performances so far.

Mark gave an outstanding performance of Telegraph Road which made us all—especially those of us who play the guitar—quite amazed. You know, sometimes when I see Mark playing the guitar, I really don’t see the point of myself playing the guitar ever again as I don’t understand how better can it go from what Mark does.

As I expected, the amazing performance of Marbletown (I believe I mentioned that that’s my favourite piece in the concerts… about 100 times before) really turned the crowd on, which wasn’t very hard to do because two songs earlier Mark made sure that the crowd gets its arse kicked by some mean performance of Sultans of Swing.

John & Glen gave an outstanding performance in Marbletown. I got to watch Glen closely today. Now I have no idea how to play the bass guitar, and of course I have no clue how to work that huge cello; he, however, does have more than a clue. It was great seeing him giving it all, with the peak being Marbletown’s interlude. Watching him being mean on those cello’s strings during the Marbletown performance, such great accuracy and such great collaboration & coordination with John… was great.

There were no special incidents in the show. I can’t even recall Mark pointing at anybody filming the show. I guess it’s just the Canadian crowd being polite, the Canadian way.

Herds of people swamped Vancouver’s downtown after the show, working their way towards their cars. I hopped on the Skytrain on my way back to Joyce station, where I was picked up by Joyti.

Back at her place, I got to meet Amir, who is Joyti’s friend and one hell of a guy. The three of us went on talking for two hours or so, Joyti making us some tasty, Indian‐style snack and some tea. It was great. I was tired as hell (1 hour of sleep in 24 hours), but it was fun.

Then it was clearly time to sleep. Slept on a sofa bed which was surprisingly comfortable. I don’t even recall being lying awake. I’m pretty sure that I snapped into dreamworld as soon as I closed my eyes.

Today’s going to be sad and happy at the same time. Sad because I’m leaving Vancouver and Joyti, happy because I’m going to drive through the mountains, on my way to Kelowna.

Talk soon,

--
Isaac

1 comment:

j said...

Hi Isaac! It's called "Irashai Sushi" :-) Have a safe journey, looking forward to seeing you again and reading about your adventures :-) Joyti