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 16, 2008

Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN

Woke up today, determined to finalize, once and for all, some travel plans for the rest of the trip. I already made sure that I can be absent from home / work for all show days, the only thing left was just to change some flight bookings and book one or two more flights.

What seemed to be an easy task ended up being not easy at all. I won’t get into the details of the story, but if you’re a Canadian, client of TD Canada Trust, own a TD Visa Travel card and was recently affected by all their changes, here’s a tip: run. Run silent, run deep. It’s useless and even the agent who was on the phone with me has agreed. For more details, email me.

Anyway. As soon as I figured that this is going to take some time, I thought I’ll leave the motel and head to downtown Louisville (Kentucky), have some breakfast and then finalize everything from some coffee shop. I was starving.

Well, downtown Louisville is not really big. Not more than a few blocks really, but it is rather interesting. Historic atmosphere, nice people. The main area of interest there seems to be what they call “Fourth Street Live” (http://www.4thstlive.com). Appears to be very busy at lunch time, and to my understanding it’s even much more interesting at nights. A few interesting restaurants, however I ended up eating some Jambalaya in a place called “El Gambo” or something. Was very filling.

Then went to some coffee place nearby (I think it’s called “Java World”) to continue my research. I concluded my research with the ultimate conclusion that being an independent traveler who needs to make travel arrangements “on the fly” is a pain in the butt. Airlines rip off customers in every way they can, and with natural resources rising and airlines working on lower and lower profit margins, I am pretty sure that the situation is only going to get worse.

I decided that some more thought should be given to the specifics and started driving on my way to Nashville.

It was really hot today. About 30 degrees, sunny all the way to Nashville. Air is very dry, and the road actually has some good scenery going on. The closer you get to Tennessee, the hillier it gets, with lots of trees and green around. Pretty drive. I was impressed.

I pre‐booked a hotel in Nashville, $50 near the airport, at what appeared to be a good bargain, considering the fact that it’s 5 miles between the hotel and downtown. As I approached Nashville, I realized the reason. Everything here is just so cheap. $50 was actually a lot of money to pay for a room for the night in this area—some places here would let you spend the night for $25–30. However, $50 at the Alexis Inn & Suites got me what I consider the best room I got anywhere as of yet in this trip.

The hotel itself is rather impressive, you get some “deluxe” breakfast (I’ll check it out tomorrow), there’s room service and the room has everything in it. King size bed, which I like. Very nice decor.

I recommend. Check it out next time you’re in town.

Some more travel research and then I decided to call my credit card company (through which I order travel in order to use their useless “points” program) and tell them what I think. I didn’t shout and didn’t yell; as a matter of fact, the agent on the other side told me that he was amazed by my explanation, and that nobody has ever put things this way, and my claims sound very reasonable to him. I got full cooperation due to, I believe, using one of the rules I outlined in a previous post: I showed him why their business practices don’t make sense, from their point of view.

Time came to leave the hotel and head to the concert. Needed to allow myself some extra time in order to get something to eat. Finding the venue was a snap thanks to my best friend this trip, my GPS. To reduce the aggravation factor and minimize driving time, I parked at the auditorium itself. $10 for the event parking—appears to be a fortune in Nashville terms.

To remind you, up until recently, I didn’t know whether I’m going to make it to Nashville. I only bought the ticket a few days ago. The seat didn’t appear to be a very attractive one on the seat map. Ticket waited for me at the Will Call, so I got it over with and took my ticket before the herds of people arrived.

Downtown Nashville is very, very pretty. The downtown area really doesn’t try to hide the fact that this city is into music. Music is everywhere here. There are speakers on the sidewalks, looking like phone/cable company boxes but there’s music coming out of them. You can’t possibly walk in downtown Nashville and not hear music from at least one source. You can’t swing a cat without hitting a sound source. Amazing.

The shops, restaurants and pubs have some look attractive from the outside. Kind of making you feel welcome. I wish I could stay, however the time arrived to eat so I found myself in some Mexican restaurant, ordering a couple of Burrito’s and rice.

It was good enough for me to finish the entire dish (I was hungry), but not good enough for me to go back. Nowhere as close to my two favourites:

  1. Mexicali Rosa’s. A chain, serving good Mexican food. Their best one, as far as I could tell, is in Ottawa. Unless something else pops up, I believe I’ll head there for dinner this Friday.
  2. The best of them all—“3 Amigos” in Montreal (1657 rue Sainte‐Catherine Ouest; yes, that’s French for you), the city of good food. I visit this restaurant every time I’m in Montreal, and can’t get enough.

Lots of Elvis posters. This downtown rocks, literally. Music everywhere.


Show time arrived. I took some pictures of the venue from the outside. As my seat is in the balcony, I had to ask pretty nicely to be allowed into the main level just to browse around before the show begins. They agreed.

Guys, we’re talking about some pretty venue. Breathtaking! WOW. I was told that the Ryman is a good venue, but didn’t expect that. I was as impressed as I was in Red Rocks, however we’re talking about two totally different types of beauty. I took some pictures.


This venue goes out of its way to show you how awesome a landmark it is. And it delivers. So many famous people played in here over the years. They have those booths along the walkways, showing you pictures and some text describing the Ryman experience of some of the famous artists that played in here.

I am happy that I got to be in this venue.

Then I got to see where I’m seated.

I almost cried.


Almost the worst seat in the house. I was one row before the farthest row, and there were only 3 seats between myself and the wall. I estimated the viewing angle at about 160 degrees. Not too many words exist in English to describe my frustration. After getting used to be front row pretty much everywhere, and never further than second row, I suddenly have to park my butt in a seat that is so remote from the stage that, really, you must enjoy the music because you’re not going to enjoy the view.

The angle was so bad that I couldn’t even see Guy Fletcher at all.

Jesca Hoop appears, dressed as she was 2 days ago. I think she’s got some Guy Fletcher’s wardrobe policy thing going. Still, it was good because I happen to like this outfit better than the dress.

Jesca likes talking to the audience, she seems confident doing that. However it happens quite frequently that the audience looks at her in amazement when she speaks. Sometimes she says some weird stuff. I can’t pinpoint exactly what’s weird in what she says, except that it’s pretty, how to say, abstract.

Intermission. Another chance for me to wander around the venue and realize how badly located my seat is.

Paul comes on stage for his usual “thou shalt not record” statement, not before expressing his appreciation to the venue.

I’ve seen so many shows so far that I can time exactly when the lights go off and the seven wonders appear on stage. They did, and the audience cheered like there’s no tomorrow. Mark noted how he likes being in Nashville, which caused the audience to further into hysteria.

The show started. Shortly after, so did the mouths of two women sitting right in front of me. It appeared that they waited specifically for this show to start before they start talking to each other. One of my row mates asked them to stop. It helped, for about 45 seconds.

I was so far away from the stage that I couldn’t really watch any band member; for me, watching these guys play is just as important as to listen to them. Still, I found comfort in the fantastic sound in this venue. Even from where I was seated, sound was pretty good. At some point in the concert, I simply said “f**k it”, got up and walked along the walkway at the top of the auditorium. Making sure I’m not interrupting anybody, I was able to catch a standing spot right in the middle.

The sound! Damn. It was outstanding. Also, even though I was far away from the stage, I stood right at the center so I got a good view of the entire stage from above. Pretty sight.

The band played the now‐standard set list. The audience cheered enthusiastically as she show progressed, until Romeo & Juliet started and the audience—especially the girls—lost it. You look at the eyes of those ladies as Mark sings Romeo & Juliet, and you know that their husbands are going to be pretty happy tonight.

Great work by the band, kudos for giving Nashville an awesome show.

A funny moment took place right at the end of Marbletown. Wonderful performance until the second‐to‐last note. I believe that what happened was that Mark placed his finger right on the fret which provided some jangly sound that made the crowd go “Whoaaaaa” and giggle. Marked himself appeared amused afterwards.

The audience loved Knopfler’s solo work, but seemed to be completely nuts for Dire Straits material. While the last solo in Telegraph Road was playing, I noticed people up in the upper walkway dancing enthusiastically, when one guy with extremely long hair appeared to have lost it completely as his dancing really reminded me more of a Nirvana concert.

Leaving downtown was a snap. Nashville at night looks very attractive. I would stay for a drink if I didn’t have to wake up early tomorrow for the drive back north to Ohio. I can’t believe it that in two days I’m going to be home again, if only for half a day.


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