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.



Monday, July 14, 2008

Chicago Theatre, Chicago, IL

The ride to Chicago was surprisingly an easier one. Not just because it’s a shorter drive than before (only 650km instead of 750km), but also because the ride itself is pretty. I mean, east‐coast type of pretty. No mountains, but still a very pretty drive.

Extremely green, too.

Minnesota is pretty. So is Wisconsin, even though I didn’t even notice when I crossed the Minnesota‐Wisconsin border.

I was getting hungry, however time was pressing and traffic on the way to Madison was not easy, so I figured I may want to drive as much as I can—at least until past Madison.

Shortly after passing Madison I stopped for some Subway. I figured I should get a footlong, eat one half now and save one half for later. When I arrived there, I was expecting the employee working there to ask me “what kind of bread?” as they always do. Well, she didn’t. Apparently they were experiencing some severe bread shortage, so she immediately told me what they had left—a footlong of Oregano‐Parmesan and two mini‐sized whole wheat.

Awesome selection. I consulted the one standing behind me in line, just being courteous—we have a bread crisis, we must share. She said she doesn’t care.

– “I’ll have the meatball marinara please, a footlong”.

– “Actually, we ran out of meatballs”.

Oh well. I just had to say—

– “OK, why don’t you tell me what do you have?”

Everybody around me started laughing. Ended up getting some cold cuts combo, paid and split. This is just so bizarre. Subway without bread. Hello, McFly??? Might as well just close shop and call it a day. It’s like stepping into a Tim Horton's in Canada and find out they ran out of coffee, or step into KFC (yuck) to find out they ran out of chicken.

Sometimes you need to know when to close shop.

An old friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in ages lives in Chicago, and before the trip we agreed to meet for lunch / dinner. I counted on him to also tell me where he thinks I should be spending the night, however he didn’t respond to messages. I ended up checking into Motel 6 in Arlington Heights, some 22 miles from downtown for the price of $50 including Internet access. Awesome deal. Room is very clean (except for some mysterious stain on the carpet. I need to dig into this), well‐equipped—got everything I need here.

Time was about 6:00pm so I decided that it’s time to go downtown. What a stupid mistake to enter downtown Chicago with a car. And it’s Sunday evening we’re talking about—I don’t even want to think what it looks like in weekdays! Traffic was hell, so many people on the streets and I ended up having to pay—read carefully—$28 (!!!) for parking.

I should have found some place to park my car outside downtown and use public transit. Will know better for next time.

Downtown Chicago is nice. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a major downtown area and it seemed very strange to me, to suddenly be surrounded by such tall buildings. I had yet another craving for a latte and there was a Starbucks a few footsteps away from the parkade, so I had a latte, got some instructions to the venue and walked there, a short 100–200m walk.

Scalpers all over the place trying to sell “their” goods. Show was sold out, and I overheard that a front row ticket would go for a few hundred dollars, maybe $500. Mine was front row center, a few seats to the right—right in front of Richard and Guy. I held on to it very tightly.

This venue is beautiful. Lobby is rather crowded though, unlike the spacious Canadian venues I miss so much (Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton). Some great artwork and decoration in this venue, too. Loved the lobby. Then I got to the auditorium itself and was even further impressed. Beautiful, beautiful venue. Well lit, beautifully designed and the acoustics are phenomenal.

Jesca Hoop went on stage on 7:30pm sharp, dressed with jeans and a shirt that had imprints of what appeared to be roses but I’m not sure. Yes! Much better than the dress. I wrote about it after the Minneapolis show (or was it after the Winnipeg show? I can’t remember). Is it just a coincidence that she changed now, or is she reading the blog as well?


Jesca gave a good performance, smooth except for very few off‐tones and a couple of mistakes she took the time to correct. The challenge that Jesca is facing is that, because she’s alone on stage, nobody’s there to cover for her mistakes. It’s impossible to hide or cover errors. What’s important is how she’s dealing with those errors, and so far she’s doing a decent job at it—sometimes she ignores and moves forward, sometimes simply corrects herself. And she does it with much bravery. I like it.

Shortly after Jesca Hoop started singing I realized that the sound is just way too loud for me so I had to use some earplugs which brought the sound to a more tolerable level.

Intermission time, then Paul’s moment on the microphone. A few minutes before the lights are put out and the 7 musketeers appear on stage.

Welcoming the crowd, Mark mentioned that the band “loves being here”. He never said that in any other show so far. It should be noted that Glenn Worf was raised not too far away—in Madison, Wisconsin—and Richard Bennett was born in Chicago. They both, I guess, somewhat feel “at home” here.

The crowd today was very active, a bit less than the Minneapolis one but still rather active and participating.

Everybody improvised today and they did it very well. John had some interesting sequences in What It Is and Sailing to Philadelphia, which I liked. Mark gave an impressive outro for What It Is (his collaboration with John is nothing short of amazing), as well as an outstanding final solo for Telegraph Road, very impressive.

Wearing the earplugs reduces the amount of noise your brain has to process, however it has a side effect as well—you lose some of the content. However, with the earplugs today I could very clearly hear Guy singing (I don’t know how it is acoustically possible). Very nice voice. I decided to not wait for the Toronto show and acquire my copy of Inamorata right after the show. Problem was that the merch site was loaded with people and the lobby was very crowded in the first place. Will purchase the CD at the next show. I need to hear this guy singing.

Mark interacted with the crowd more than the usual—they way that he did only once before during this tour, in Jacksonville. While he was playing his intro for “Song for Sonny Liston”, some chick from the crowd yelled something at him. I couldn’t hear it because of the earplugs, but the crowd just started laughing crazy (if anybody heard what that girl said, please comment on this entry and let us all know).

Mark stopped playing his intro. I thought “Uh‐Oh, here be trouble”, but no. He appeared to adjust his earplugs, saying “let me adjust these hearing aids” or something similar. The crowd laughed. Then Mark goes on:

– “You know you’re doing something right when the ladies start barking, like dogs”

The crowd went laughing rather insanely. That was a really funny moment. Mark has a rather sharp sense of humour, and when you mix it with his British tone, you get some really funny moments. Glenn started laughing as well. Mark went on—I can’t quote because I don’t remember the exact words—saying that his band mates are prepared to guard the stage from crowd invasion. Then he looks around and realizes that, hey, it’s “Song for Sonny Liston” now and it’s only him, Glenn and Danny on stage.

– “They’re all gone… Where is everybody?”

Awesome entertainment. The crowd, myself included, laughed heartily.

By the crowd’s faces you could see that they loved the show. The crowd cheered in a rather crazy fashion once the show ended. As a matter of fact, the crowd was so great—everybody stood up during Local Hero’s last verse—that I noticed some people in the front row actually cheering the crowd upstairs. A crowd that cheers to itself. Fantastic.

Show was over well too soon… I hate when it happens. Two hours just fly by.

Short walk from the venue back to my car. A GPS is very useful in big cities, only problem is that in a city like Chicago it’s sometimes hard to get the satellite signal. Took me about 10 minutes of lost satellite signal until I found a way out of those tunnels into the open space.

No show tomorrow. Next show is in Nashville, two days from now. Distance to there is 750km. I figured I’ll spend some time in downtown Chicago tomorrow, and start my drive towards Nashville in the afternoon, stopping over for the night somewhere in the middle, maybe Indianapolis, IN or as far as Louisville, KY. I prefer not to drive 750km in one day under the influence of antibiotics.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for your detailed review! I loved the concert last night, and I posted the set list on Mark's web site in the show review forum. And no, I didn't hear what that woman shouted out, but I certainly did my share of barking throughout the evening. :)


Unknown said...

I think we have to rename you; "The Mark Knopfler Marathon Man"... How will you ever wind down after all this? Still following you diary every day. I now really wish I had booked tickets for at least two or three shows. I found that the Kelowna gig I attended went so fast and I sang along, danced some, took photos etc. I'd like to sit down and just listen in a theatre hall like Regina (smaller crowd / better sound).

Anonymous said...

Hi Morten my friend,

How am I going to wind down after all this? Well... very slowly, I guess.

The sound in Kelowna was actually not bad at all, so I wouldn't feel sorry for the sound; however yeah, you should feel sorry for not attending more shows. :-)


Anonymous said...

I was at the show. The woman yelled, "Hey, sexy man, you rock my soul!" I loved MK's comments; very dry sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

Hi cbelles,

Thanks for the info! Now we have the big picture! :-)



knopfling said...

Glad the Motel 6 in my hometown of Arlington Heights was a decent one.
Wish I could have seen that show with Mark's rare audience interaction, but I'm So Far Away (1,400 miles).