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.



Saturday, June 28, 2008

Los Angeles, The Greek Theatre

OK guys. Let me first outline one thing here. The concert today, in the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, was the greatest concert in the tour so far.

Red Rocks had the beautiful venue and the great sound; Abravanel Hall had a lot of beauty in it, wonderful crowd and awesome sound; Las Vegas had an awesome performance of Telegraph Road; but the concert in L.A had one thing that all previous concerts didn’t have. And that thing is actually a person, responding to the name “John McCusker”.

To all the people that been to the previous shows: think about the band for a second, the interaction between them, how they complement each other, the synergy between them. Got the picture? good. Now multiply it by a thousand, and you get what we had today with John McCusker on stage.

The previous shows were great, fantastic. But with John today, the show was beyond great and fantastic. It became phenomenal. It became a serious kick in the b**t. Many times during the concert I had to return my jaw to an upright position, the apex being the absolutely amazing performance of Marbletown. I will have to admit and will not refrain: today’s performance of Marbletown was the first live performance of any song, ever, that made me shed a tear because it was so wonderfully crafted.

My assigned seat wasn’t very good; 6th row, the very last seat to the right. Then Linda came to the rescue! she and her son were positioned in the second row (in the pit). Her son agreed to switch places with me, and so I found myself sitting next to Linda at the second row.


The venue itself is very nice. Trees all around, clear sky, perfect lighting. And the sound... wow!

The opening act, Jesca Hoop, now playing in her home state, performed really well. Today she was accompanied by two backup singers who did a wonderful job (except for that caugh, but hey, we’re all people). I decided today to attempt to approach Jesca and ask her if she would be interested in playing together at some time. Problem is, that she always promises to “be there in the intermission between the two shows so if you want to say hi then you’re welcome”, but she’s never really there.

Then the band came. What a warm welcome! I bet that after the Vegas experience, the band was really happy to find a milder crowd. They enjoyed the crowd so much, that Mark, at the end of the concert, actually shook hands with people in the front row. Very unusual; I’ve never seen him doing that in any concert I attended so far.

So, where was I. Oh, John McCusker. Yes. Finally got his Visa papers straight, and boys / girls, can that guy play! It was nothing short of amazing.

The set list was identical to the one in Salt Lake City. Great performance of “Going Home” as the last encore.

I wanted to write some more about my experiences in Los Angeles itself, prior to the show; but I’m very tired now and I’m facing a very long drive tomorrow to Berkeley, so I’ll have to call it a night. I will post more tomorrow.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Las Vegas

I arrived at Las Vegas airport at around 2:00pm, flying from Salt Lake City. That was my second ever visit to Las Vegas, the first one being approximately one year ago.

After touring the strip for a little while and grabbing some great lunch at Jimmy Buffet’s Margarittaville (the Caribbean Chicken Salad, or whatever it is called, with the sugared pecan and chicken breast strips on it, is VERY highly recommended), I took a taxi cab to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, as it is located a few miles out of the strip. The Joint is a few steps away from the main entrance.

I have mixed emotions about the Vegas concert. I was seated in the front row (seat A‐8, two seats away from Jordan, another local to the Mark Knopfler forums—hey Jordan!), and the concert as itself was fantastic. It held what I believe is the best performance of Telegraph Road that I’ve seen so far in the tour. Mark Knopfler and the band rocked the crowd off their feet (which wasn’t that hard to do, given the fact that this is Vegas and most people in the crowd had some decent amount of alcohol in their blood) and gave a truly amazing performance, with a set list almost identical to the one in Salt Lake City save for one less song in the encore.

So the concert was great; but as I wrote before, I have mixed feelings. What happened was that, being seated in the front row, I witnessed some less pleasant incidents.

OK lets face it, this is Vegas. People don’t go to Vegas to restrain themselves; they go to Vegas to be themselves, and a lot of people, lets face it, do it by drinking alcohol. This is fine, really. I’m not judging people by the amount of alcohol they consume. And also, I don’t judge people by they behaviour when they’re under the influence of alcohol. But one thing I am really appalled of is the selfishness of those people, who get drunk (or high, or whatever) and force other concertgoers to accommodate their special behaviour, be it intentionally obstructing the view of people in the back seats, repeated attempts of video‐recording the show, lighting up cigarettes (!) or threatening to start fights with other people in the venue.

I do not claim to be a master of human behaviour, but I define myself as a very tolerant, patient person. One of the reasons for me getting to where I am right now, is my ability to put myself in other people’s shoes and look at situations from their point of view. I have worked very hard to obtain this skill; it helps me understand people better. However there’s a vast distance between understanding something and accepting / agreeing to it. So yes, I understand that those people wanted to get drunk, probably in order to forget about their troubles at home / work / social life, and you know what? all the power to them. But ruining it for other concert goers? That is simply unacceptable. Drunk people are not allowed to drive because it risks other people’s lives. I think it’s only fair that drunk people, who wilfully release themselves from any responsibility for their behaviour, should be removed from the venue once their behaviour starts to affect other people’s enjoyment of the show.

So what did we have there, other than a magnificent concert?

We had a lady who, as soon as “True Love Will Never Fade” started, stormed into the front row with a pair of roses in her hands and held them high, as if asking Mark to take them. Now, mind you, Mark was busy making love to the guitar (it is an extremely romantic song). I couldn’t figure out whether she was completely crazy, or did she really expect Mark to stop the concert for a minute and take the roses from her. After a minute or so, between verses, Mark said “OK, that’s enough, you can put them down now, thank you”.

We had multiple occurrences of Mark, himself, asking people to stop recording devices.

We had a few people in the front row who got drunk even before the concert started and made the concert a nightmare for people behind them and besides them. One of them has repeatedly attempted to smoke. He just felt he had to smoke, and the hell with everyone around him. Once, he was asked by the security staff to stop. At a later time, a guy next to me (Hello Mark!) asked him to stop, a request which was responded by a threat of starting a fight right there. The person has eventually been forced out of the venue by a security guard so huge that even I (6” tall) had to flex my neck muscles so hard in order to be able to look at his face.

Mark & the band played only 3 encores in that show, one less than in any other show. Can you blame them?

I was really hoping that Mark performs “Sucker Row” and “Sands of Nevada” in the Vegas show. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Maybe next time, assuming he will ever want to play there again.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Salt Lake City

I start writing these lines 30,000+ feet above the ground, on my way from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas. Wireless signal in the motel I stayed in in Salt Lake City was very weak. I hope to be posting this entry in Las Vegas.

I arrived in Salt Lake City quite late yesterday, as my flight was delayed by more than two hours. The opening act (wonderful Jesca Hoop) started at 7:30pm, and I arrived at my hotel on 7:20pm; changed quickly and took a ride to the Abravanel Hall which was really close to where I stayed.

Yesterday’s show (in Abravanel Hall) was fantastic. Sitting in the middle of the front row (seat 6), the stage less than 1 meter from me (and Mark Knopfler not that far, either), I was witnessing a truly amazing event. The crowd was mainly adult couples, 40+, however I’ve seen some younger crowd as well. The venue is rather impressive; perfect lighting makes this venue a sweet place to be in, and the sound—oh, the sound!—is really impressive.

Shortly before Mark Knopfler’s show started, I met Linda, who contacted me through the Mark Knopfler’s fan forum. Linda has flown from Los Angeles with her son to see the show in Salt Lake City. What a nice, talkative, beautiful woman! We talked for about 20 minutes (during the intermission between the opening act and the main event).

Then the concert started, and man was it good! The band, nonchalant as always, gave us a show to remember, with a set list similar to (but not the same as) the one from the Denver show. It was really amazing to see 40–50 years old people jumping from their chairs in appreciation to such a fantastic experience.

I took some photos during the show, I will post them later. Really good pictures, too; considering the fact that, in order to not distract others (I am, after all, from Canada), I took them all from a seating position.

After the concert, I grabbed a bite in the Radisson Hotel’s restaurant as well as some local beer (“Hard Rock” or something) which was really good.

When I asked people before how Salt Lake City is, they responded in one word: “Clean”. It is indeed a very clean city. Other than that, the people are great and it appears that there’s much to explore in the area. I definitely see myself taking a trip to Salt Lake City and, of course, the nearby Rocky Mountains.

Now I’m already at the Las Vegas Airport’s baggage claim, waiting for 45 minutes already for the baggage to arrive. The carousel hasn’t started moving yet! For a city that makes billions every year from tourism, I expected a better baggage claim area. Hopefully, soon enough I’ll be out of here on my way to the Stratosphere Tower Hotel & Casino, where I’m going to spend the night.

So long everybody, see you soon!


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Red Rocks Really Rocks

12:50pm Mountain Time now, I’m sitting on the floor in Denver International Airport as my laptop is in some dire need of electricity and the only jacks I could find have no chairs around them.

What a wild day yesterday was. After spending some time in Morrison, I took a short drive to Evergreen, which is a nice little town surrounded by mountains. After some more aimless driving, I decided to just go and explore the Red Rocks Amphitheater.

I am not a concert venue fanatic. I haven’t been in many concerts in my life; up until yesterday’s show, I’ve only been in 7 concerts during my entire 30 years of living, 6 of which are Mark Knopfler’s (the seventh being Guns n’ Roses in the summer of 1992. Well, everybody is 14 years old at some point). Still I can’t seem to think how could any venue in the world be any better than the Red Rocks Amphitheater.

It’s got it all: It’s absolutely amazing in looks, the sound is fantastic, access is very easy, signs all over the place tell you where to go. And the view! Simply amazing!

Shortly before the show I met April & Chris, who invited me to spend the night in their house. I also met April’s sister, Nancy. It was great meeting with them—very nice people! We talked a lot, spent some time together after the show (waiting for the hordes of people to leave the venue) and then went to their place where I spent the night.

April & Chris—Thank you!

As for the show: It was brilliant. It appears that the band well used their 9 days break between the European leg & the North American one. They seemed very energetic and seemed to have excellent time playing.

The venue’s acoustics contributed a lot to the sound. And Knopfler, being well rested, played some unforgettable guitar solos that blew our minds. It was my first time ever to hear Hill Farmer’s Blues and Marbletown live, and his guitar work there was absolutely stunning.

The concert had a really good mix of Knopfler’s lifetime work, including Dire Straits work of course. I will not publish a set list as this may be considered a “spoiler” for some people, but I can say that there’s a very good selection of songs from Knopfler’s entire career.

At some point during the concert, something with the lighting was screwed up and the entire band was in the dark, except for Knopfler, who didn’t miss the opportunity to show some good Scottish humor (“Richard, I can’t see you... Guys, I can’t see any of you...” well I guess you had to be there to understand how funny it actually was).

That’s it for now. My flight to Salt Lake City departs in just about an hour. Will keep you posted when I get Internet connection again.

So long,

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

In Morrison, CO


At last, I am here.

Our flight arrived a bit early, at around 10:15am. Still it was not before 12:30pm that I left the airport with my rental car. Had to wait in line in Budget for an hour and a half (!), carrying a huge backpack.

Figuring that dealing with maps is not going to enhance my sanity but rather destroy it, I opted for a GPS, and so glad that I have. Now I’m sitting in a sweet deli in Morrison, CO, about a mile away from the Red Rocks Amphitheater.

I paid a short visit to the venue before coming here, only drove to the trading post and took a couple of pictures. It is, indeed, amazing. Couldn’t think of a better location to place a venue.

Looking forward to the concert tonight. At the meantime, I think I’ll pay a visit to the server and ask her how come making a 12” sub takes 20 minutes. Yes, I am hungry.

Talk soon,



Leaving for the airport in a few moments. My friend Jonathan was kind enough to give me a ride to the airport—thanks Jonathan for waking up at 5:30am for this!

I believe I have everything packed and ready to go… next time I see my house will be in 3+ weeks, July 17, the day of the Toronto concert.

I’m outta here. See you all soon!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Less than Two Days Left…

Less than 48 hours left for my departure from Toronto to Denver at the morning of June 24.
Excitement grows exponentially as time passes. I have been waiting for this trip for months, and only now I’m starting to understand that I’m actually going to do it.

Everything is prepared. Printed all flight itineraries, car reservation confirmations, hotel reservations (for the first 3 nights, in which I will have no car)… My backpack will start getting stuffed as soon as the laundry is done.

I am still looking for places to stay along the way. If anybody can recommend a place to stay—all I need is a bed—why not speak up?

All the best,