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.



Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, Oregon

After a few hours drive from Eugene to Portland, I finally checked into my motel right at the center of town within a few minutes of bus ride from the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

First of all, I would like to state that I just can’t see the point of naming a city after a person’s first name. “I’m in Eugene” doesn’t sound that good. “I’m getting out of Eugene” sounds even more awkward.

But anyway. Back to the point. Checked into the motel and left by bus to downtown Portland.

Portland is a rather nice city. It’s not that huge in the first place, and it gives you a cozy, warm feeling (warm, regardless of the fact that it’s just about 1,500 degrees here, give or take). I like it. It’s pretty green, small, somewhat “tucked in”. It has a very nice vibe to it. A short bus ride from East Burnside street, crossing the bridge and I’m on Broadway street, a few blocks away from the venue.

There are so many Emo people here. People here wear all bunch of unconventional haircuts and ragged clothes, which is rather fun to watch. I was starving so I went to some taco place. It was full of drunk people and I kind of regretted stepping into the place, but once I stepped in and smelled the Mexican food, I was lost. I am a sucker for Mexican food. Just to be cautious though, I ordered the vegetarian dish. :-)

I then entered the venue, showing off my first‐row ticket, only to find out later that, contrary to the seat map I saw before, there’s also a pit section of two rows. Three letters popped into my head—W, T and F, in that order, and repeating.

But I have to say that it is a very, very impressive venue. Very nicely laid out, very impressive artwork in the lobby and inside the hall itself. Huge line‐ups for the drink stand, of course. The concert hall has a beautifully decorated balcony. The venue looks amazing when you look at it from the stage.

Jesca Hoop hopped on the stage and gave a good performance. Today she played two songs that she never played before in this tour, and I think that these two new songs (I can’t remember the names) are of her best. She should continue playing those two.

Mark and the band followed after the usual 30 minutes intermission. Great welcome from the crowd, however the crowd seemed to be much, much more restrained than the crowds in previous venues. The show was great as always, with the usual set list except for the encore that spanned 3 songs instead of 4.

What I did notice about that show is that Richard and Mark took more liberty to improvise today. The results were quite good except for a few off‐notes here and there. The Sultans of Swing solo was great, and the guitar solo for Brothers in Arms was the best in the tour so far. That said, I must note that I have yet to hear a live performance of Brothers in Arms that sounds better than the original, recorded version.

The city of Portland is mentioned in the song “Speedway in Nazareth”. Obviously, the crowd cheered when the name was mentioned in the song. But, as I said before, we’re talking about a restrained crowd. I would imagine the cheer to be much stronger. I recall the Toronto show during the Shangri La tour. When the name “Toronto” was mentioned in the song, you could barely hear the music among the crowd’s screams.

Another amazing performance of Marbletown with the fantastic interlude that makes my jaw drop to a point that human intervention (usually myself) is needed to re‐fix it in an upright position.

Of course, we had our usual incidents of people recording the show. You can actually see how it irritates the band. Being a guitar player myself, I am watching Mark’s fingerwork very closely in each and every show, watching his reactions and body posture, and I can tell you with %100 assurance that, when he spots people recording, it pisses him off and distracts him. This, in turn, pisses me as well to no end as there’s nothing I enjoy more than seeing Mark getting so much concentrated on the guitar that he’s disconnected from everything around him.

At the end, I went to the pit and attached myself to the stage. Finally, after about a thousand miles of driving and more than a few thousands of miles flying from concert to concert in this tour, finally, I got a handshake, first from Guy Fletcher and then from Mark Knopfler. Obviously there was nothing personal there, but still, it was very nice.

There seemed to be an incident towards the end of the show involving Paul Crockford, some concert guest and the security guards. I didn’t stick around long enough to understand what happened there but nobody seemed to be very pleasant about it.

After the show, I went back by foot to the bus station. I’m telling you, the people who wander around the downtown area at night do not seem very pleasant, neither in their appearance nor in their behaviour. So yes, even though I study martial arts, getting into a fight as a result of an attempted robbery wasn’t really in my plans, so I stuck to the bus station and was very happy when the bus came, only to realize that the number of freaks inside the bus outnumbered the number of freaks outside of it. People giving me some strange looks. Two stations and it’s my time to depart the bus—what a relief.

Stopped by Jupiter Hotel, right across the street from where I stay, for a short drink. Had a glass of red wine and a guy from California—never got his name—sat there in the bar with his girlfriend and started talking to me. We talked about a bunch of stuff, 30 minutes passed very quickly and... time for bed.

Tomorrow I’m planning on spending as much time as possible in Seattle. Show is in Woodinville—a magnificent venue I’ve been in before—scent of wine all over the place and the venue is so pretty. Seat: Row A seat 1—right in the middle of the first floor, which means that I get to point my finger at Guy Fletcher again with no one in the way.

Good night!


Anonymous said...

Sorry--this got posted on the wrong entry..trying again!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Portland is laid back. People enjoyed the concert tremendously, even if they didn't scream. Also, the attendance was a visibly older crowd.

Did NOT care for Jesca's music, sorry. In my opinion, her music does not fit with the style of Mark's music. A lot of people around me ( 10 rows back) got up to get another drink while she was singing.

By "filming", do you mean actual videotaping or the occasional cell phone photograph?

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous,
No worries about the posting on the wrong entry... I posted my reply in that other entry, here it is again for your convenience:

I can agree with you that Jesca's style doesn't fit Mark's. You can't argue with taste, obviously, however I can't not appreciate Jesca for standing up there as an opening act for one whopping great world-famous artists, lots of people looking at her with huge expectations and she still does her thing. Not only that, but she does it consistently well (technically speaking; I'm not talking about whether her music is "good" or not). I find it admirable.

Anonymous said...

By the way, by "filming" I meant actually videotaping the show, be it by the means of cellphones (some cellphones can take short video shots) or other devices. Also, most digital cameras today also have video functionality, so it's really hard to determine whether somebody's just taking a series or photos or filming the show.

Anonymous said...

I agree, videotaping the show is really wrong. I will confess that since we were apparently only a couple of rows behind you and over a bit, we did get one cell phone PHOTO, taken during the curtain call at the very end. We figured that would be ok, since is wasnt during the actual performance.

have a safe and wonderful trip east!