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.



Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, FL

The hunt for food had to be short as it was done in the rain. I ended up having a Burrito at “Chipotle”, about two minutes walk from the motel. Very good value—you get a tasty Burrito and a drink for less than $7.

There appears to be nothing much to do in Clearwater. Tampa is the “business district” of the entire Tampa‐St. Petersburg‐Clearwater area (also called “Tampa Bay”), whereas Clearwater is more of a retirement place. One of those places that are responsible for Florida being dubbed “God’s Waiting Room”.

Jim and his wife Teddy showed up at my motel on 7:00pm. They live in southern Florida; Jim decided to surprise his wife and got them tickets for the two last shows in the tour—a surprise that Teddy welcomed very heartily.

The venue is very close to the motel—less than 2 miles driving distance. We got there at about 7:15pm, 45 minutes before the show starts. I wandered around the venue—a rather small one, but well‐marked and convenient. It should be noted that the ticket for this show was the most expensive ticket in the entire tour—all tickets, of all classes, of all other venues, cost less than the ticket I got: row A, seat 8—one seat left of the absolute center.

To the right of me was sitting a guy named Michael from Rhode Island. He mentioned that he was aware of my blog. He was going to introduce himself at the Boston show, however I was at the Meet & Greet so it never materialized. Very nice guy.

To the left of me, there was a couple, about 55–60 years old. The woman mentioned to me that she’s been waiting 30 years to see Mark perform live; judging by how much she was talking to her husband, perhaps a wait of another 30 years would be in place.

My 70L backpack has a detachable compartment that can be used as a general‐purpose bag that wraps diagonally around your shoulder and chest. I use it instead of putting things in my pockets, which I hate. Apparently, the sight of this bag caught the eye of one of the ushers. He must have been developing some horror screenplay in his head, regarding what I have in my bag, so he called one of the security guys. A huge man approached me and asked to inspect the bag’s contents. That reminded me of my days back in Israel when they check your belongings and scan your body for metals every time you enter a public place.

Jesca caught the stage at 8:00pm and played her usual set. As she started playing “Seed of Wonder”, she mentioned that she’s been on the road for so long. Then, out of the blue, she said something along the line of “there’s another person here who’s been on the road for a long time… his name is Isaac, and he’s sitting right there” and pointed at me. “He’s been to each and every show this tour, and I bet he can’t wait for it to be over so he can go home already”.

By the time I finished computing this unexpected occurrence, my moment of glory was over. I sent Jesca a kiss in the air. Maybe she got it.

Thanks Jesca. :-)

Then came the customary 30 minutes break, during which I did nothing that is worth telling the world about—just chilling in my chair and enjoying the view of the stage that was less than one meter away.

The Seven Wonders caught the stage at 9:00pm, and received some warm cheers. I think that, for the first time this tour, most of the crowd was at Mark’s age or older. It was great seeing seniors cheer like that.

I was told, before the concert (I’m not sure if it was Michael who told me that, or was it Jim) that the Ruth Eckerd Hall has great acoustics. It turned out to be true: the sound at the venue was very impressive. Surprisingly, it wasn’t loud at all, even from the front row. It was just at the right volume, you get net sound, no noise.

The crowd was more of the quiet type (cheer‐wise; some people, even in the front row, insisted on talking during the show which pissed me, and others, off to some invisible end). I could see some people slightly moving their heads during the show, following the tunes. Sucks to be them, as I was rocking my head like a fix‐craving drug‐addict all throughout the show. I received some bizarre looks from some elderly folks, but hey, who cares.

The band gave yet another fantastic show, with the same set as last night (and most other shows).

Before playing Song for Sonny Liston, Mark asked the crowd something along the line of “So, this is… what? Clearwater?” and smiled, as if he couldn’t believe he’s playing in such a small city. He then went on to ask, “what should I call it here? Clearwater, Tampa, what?”

Someone from the audience suggested “Knopflerville”, but I don’t think that Mark heard that. I wanted to suggest “God’s Waiting Room‐ville”, but kept my mouth shut.

After playing “Song for Sonny Liston”, Mark told of another fun fact he learned while reading about Sonny Liston. Something about a quote from another boxer, who happened to break Sonny Liston’s jaw before and then got hit by Sonny “harder than any man has the right to be hit”. Then some dialog started to figure out the identity of that boxer. I don’t recall what the conclusion was. I looked it up over the Internet and found a reference to Marty Marshall; but I think Mark reached a different conclusion.

Mark appeared to have played somewhat slower tonight. Some of the solos were slow, or at least started slow—Telegraph Road being a good example. He also improvised something I never heard before during the Song for Sonny Liston solo (before the last verse). John McCusker took his Marbletown part even one step further—I think that his violin part today was a bit longer than usual (may be my imagination only). Anyway, he played a part of it completely differently than before, looking at Mark while doing it, and receiving back a hearty smile from Mark, as if saying “you think you’re a big boy now, don’t you”.

Great show. At the end we all stood up and gave thanks to these wonderful musicians. While exiting the venue, I heard one of the security guards saying that he has never seen such a rushed escape by a band from the venue. Apparently, the band left the venue very quickly, as if they were in a hurry somewhere.

Short drive back to the motel, when Jim, Teddy and I made plans for tomorrow. We’re going to leave my motel at 8:30am, so we get to Miami before rush hour.

1:23am now. The night before the last show.

It is going to end after tomorrow.

I am sad.



Anonymous said...

Hey Isaac...... Some of us "old people" have been listening to MK longer than you have been here on this earth. Marks music can bridge the generation gap better than any other musician.In 50 years (when I'm 100 I will still rock on with all his tunes. He is a musical genius!You have had the dream of a lifetime! Glad I could follow his journey through you.

Nancy said...

God's Waiting Room - I love it. You should have gone over to the beach, the crowd is younger and there's more to do.

Have fun in Miami, Isaac. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us. I'm going to miss your blog!

ellyn said...

I am also sad that your adventure (& the tour) end tonight. I've thoroughly enjoyed your blog, you must do it again next tour. Glad we got to meet last week. Safe travels home!

Anonymous said...

How is it that you manage front row seats with such regularity once the presale is over?

BTO said...

Isaac, love tour blog but you should have kept your whining and negativity to a minimum. You sure find a lot of things to complain about.

Anonymous said...

OK, one concentrated comment for everyone...

Anonymous: I'm not sure about your statement regarding "longer than you have been here on this earth". The first Dire Straits single, "Sultans of Swing", was released in October 1978, while I was born in January that year. :-)

I do agree with you about his ability to bridge the gap. Thank you for following my blog, glad you enjoy it.

Nancy: I will go to the beach next time I'm in Clearwater... right after I have that sandwich you were talking about.

Ellyn: Was great meeting with you too, and thanks again for the ride back to the hotel!

Yvonne: Sorry... no comment.

BTO: You must have confused me with a concert reviewer, which I am not. I write about what I'm going through and what I feel, with no filters and no masks. That was the main idea behind the blog; sorry you find it not to your liking.