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, July 19, 2008

“Inamorata” by Guy Fletcher

So, in Toronto, I acquired a copy of Guy Fletcher’s album, “Inamorata”.

I should say that I’m not a music critic. I know nothing about criticizing music (for good or bad) however I do know what I like. And I loved—not liked, loved—this album.

Well, where do I start.

First, I didn’t realize how good his voice is until I listened to this album. So far I only heard Guy doing backing vocals for Mark’s music. This guy has some great, great voice.

This is the perfect album to listen to in hot summer nights, sitting on your porch with a glass of white wine (or, better off, some Canadian ice wine). Alternatively, sitting inside in front of the fireplace. Listening to this record, you quickly forget about whatever happened to you during the day, as aggravating as it might have been.

The album starts with “Love is Coming ‘Round”, a beautiful piece. Other highlights in this album is “Inamorata”, “Broken Wing” (loved it) and my favourite, “Cold Water”, which can be heard in the venues right before the show. That is not to say that the other songs are not as good; they are. You can hear some beautifully crafted music there, a result of (what I believe is) some amazing production work.

Whoever of you reading the Dr.’s forums, may get the impression that the Dr. may sometimes be a little harsh. The image that appears when you listen to this album is completely different. You find a laid‐back guy who has some really good and positive perspective on life.

Excellent album. I am very happy to own a copy of it. Duly added to my “favourite albums” collection.


Leaving Montréal

So out of the five hours in that “motel”, I ended up sleeping for one hour and I left one hour earlier than I planned. I figured it’d be more convenient to sleep in the car, somewhere along the way.

This is by far the worst place I have ever stayed in. Its name is “Motel Sunrise”, close to downtown. Keep away. Really. Cheap price may be tempting, but trust me, go elsewhere. People outside all night long, shouting, laughing and drinking. Absolutely no noise isolation between rooms. Room is dirty. Yuck.

I checked out at 6:00am and complained to the manager, who promised to check things out and get back to me (yeah, right).

So I found myself wandering around downtown Montréal at 6:30am, looking for a place to sit, eat and finally publish my posts for the Toronto & Ottawa shows. So I’m sitting at this place now, “Restaurant McGill”, at the junction of Rue Notre‐Dame and Rue McGill, steps away from the wonderful Old Montréal.

Montréal is the second largest city in Canada and considered by many the place to be. Renowned for its awesome nightlife scene and stupendous selection of restaurants and cafe’s, this is the city of people in their 20’s and 30’s.

I’ve been in Montréal a few times already, but still can’t really “connect” to it. I don’t know why. I really like Old Montréal—a small section near the downtown area that is so well preserved that you think you’re walking through history.

Food in this city is awesome, though. There are so many restaurants here—there are more restaurants per capita in Montréal than any other city in North America except for New York. My favourites so far are “3 Amigos” (two locations) which serves amazing Mexican food, and, of course, the world‐famous “Schwartz”. “Schwartz” is known for its smoked meat. It’s hard to explain how good it is. Just go there and try it out.

I’m about to leave Montréal now on my way to Boston. 5 hours drive.

Talk soon,

National Arts Centre, Ottawa, ON

Left home at about 11:30am. I had to drop by our client’s building first, to discuss some work-related issues with Jonathan. 20 minutes later I was on my way to Ottawa.

The drive to Ottawa was easier than I thought. There was a little bit of traffic entering the Toronto metro area but nothing too bad.

The road to Ottawa is pretty boring for the most part, but there are some stuff worth doing which I didn’t do today because I was in a hurry. I have traveled this road many times before, and every time I do, I stop over at that wonderful place called “Woodenheads Gourmet Pizza” (http://www.woodenheads.com) in the town of Kingston. This is one pizza-place you can never forget. It’s not a pizzeria; it’s an actual restaurant - a classy one, too - that serves all kinds of pizza, all prepared in a wood burning oven. It is so amazingly tasty that I felt very sorry for not being able to stop over.

Last time I was there, I was with my dad. I can’t recall what I ordered, but he ordered the one with the goat cheese and smoked salmon on it; I had a taste and couldn’t stand up because it was so delicious.

Next time you’re near Kingston, check this place out. It’s very easy to get to - right on the harbour.

The other thing worth doing is to take the Thousand Islands Parkway. As you drive on the boring 401, you can take exit 647 or 648 into the Thousand Islands Parkway, which runs parallel to the 401 but goes very close to the shore of St. Lawrence River. There are all bunch of tiny little islands that you get to see. If you enter the town of Gananoque, you can also take a boat tour through some of the islands. Very cool. There’s more than a 1,000 islands there - a little over 1,800 to be exact. A long time ago, the government sold those islands very cheap to some lucky people. Today each one is worth millions. It’s amazing to see a tiny island with a house in it and not much more. You have to sail your boat to go to the supermarket.

I was very hungry. I skipped breakfast, and decided I’ll eat only after leaving the Toronto area, to avoid any chance of being caught in traffic later on. I ended up buying a sandwich from Tim Horton’s. Another stop further down the 401 for some Starbucks and then driving non-stop to Ottawa.

On my way, I listened to my copies of Inamorata (Guy Fletcher) and Kismet (Jesca Hoop). I will write more about these two CD’s shortly.

About 30 km south of Ottawa it started to rain. Not heavily though. By the time I got to Ottawa, it stopped.

Found a place to park on the street, for free. Parking meters here run until 3:30pm (the Bank & Somerset area). From where I parked, it was about 10 minutes walk up Bank Street, another Starbucks, then 10 more minutes up Slater street and I got to the venue. I carried my backpack with me, as I had a strange feeling about leaving my car with my laptop parked on the street for 4 hours.

The venue, called “National Arts Centre”, is very pretty to look at from from the inside, though rather boring from the outside. Guy & Richard, in their blogs, will probably outline the history of the venue, so I’ll leave it to them.

I arrived early so I decided to inquire the ushers about my seat’s location. My ticket read “Row BB, Seat 2”. I already accepted the fact that I’m going to be at the second row, so I asked the usher whether he thinks my backpack would fit. He told me that I’m in the front row, so I shouldn’t have a problem.

Excuse me? Front row?

- “Yes. There’s no row AA anymore. We removed it.”

Gulp. And the seat? It turns out that the venue is divided to even-numbered and odd-numbered seats, so my seat was right at the center. Front-row center, once again!

I started a discussion with a couple sitting next to me who were very happy for their seats. The guy turned out to be a long-time MK fan, We talked for two minutes until some lady came and mentioned that it’s her seats that the couple is sitting on. It turned out that they had row B, not BB. Sucks to be them, there are very few things as painful as realizing you’re not really in the front-row center but rather a few rows to the back.

To the right of me, there was this guy who immigrated to Canada from Peru and was very excited to see Mark performing for the first time in his life.

Jesca Hoop started at 8:00pm, wearing something slightly different this time. Same jeans, different top. Still a beautiful lady. She gave a very good show. Some guy from the crowd asked her to play some Metallica for him, a request she has politely declined.

During the break I decided that I want another T-shirt, a different color this time. I met Jesca there, who recognized my face (but forgot my name). I asked her a few questions that came to mind after listening to her CD twice in my car. Great talking to Jesca. Such a warm person.

Show started at 9:00pm in this beautiful venue with awesome, awesome sound. After two shows in open air, with high temperatures and insane humidity, the band seemed very happy to play indoors. They appear to play more peacefully when the temperature and humidity level are bearable. The concert went smooth with great work by everybody. I could notice everybody improvising today, which was great. Matt’s piano work during Romeo and Juliet was great, Glenn’s bass work during Sultans of Swing was great, John’s whistle work during What It Is and Sailing to Philadelphia was great (improvised in ways I haven’t heard yet on this tour), Guy doing some fantastic keyboard work and Richard just being amazing as always, introducing his unique guitar tone and perfect usage of the tremolo exactly when & where it’s needed. Hell, I could even notice Danny changing his drumming sequences from time to time. And of course there’s Mark to always change & shift stuff around.

Fantastic show. I’m sure the band would consider this to be one of their best shows so far in the tour. It was very well orchestrated.

No special occurrences in this show, except for something not working right when Mark was about to play Song for Sonny Liston (stage crew worker came by and fixed it instantly and got some good cheer from the audience). Extremely funny was Mark’s comment when introducing Matt. “This guy can play anything, from Oscar Peterson (?) all the way down the food chain. All the way to me.”

At the end of the show, when everybody cheered, I handed Richard a Harvey’s gift card. I actually bought it the day before and intended to ask the stage crew guys in Toronto to hand it to him (there was a fence in that venue that prevented access to the stage), but it didn’t work out. Richard seemed to be very happy. I was also happy to do my part to end world hunger.

After the show, I started driving towards Boston and decided to spend the night in Montreal. Found a motel that charges by the hour (…), what a huge mistake. That’s why I’m still awake at 4:30am, noise all the time. And it’s not the kind of interesting noise that you’d expect from a by-the-hour motel. Some people just making noise.

Screw them. I’ll be out of here in 3 hours.

Off to Boston soon. I’ll spend the night in Boston, and drive to Syracuse early morning on Sunday.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Molson Amphitheater, Toronto, ON


What a strange feeling.

I woke up and found myself in my own bed. A feeling that I can’t describe, but after such a long trip, it’s a wonderful feeling. Nobody’s going to knock on your door and tell you that check‐out time has arrived.

Went to pick up my friend Jonathan from work at around 3:00pm and off we went to the venue, the Molson Amphitheater in Toronto. As I was supposed to return my rental car in Toronto, we drove in two cars—I drove the convertible and Jonathan drove my ‘98 Accord.

We left early, figuring that we don’t really want to be stuck in Toronto’s traffic.

Kitchener‐Waterloo, where I live, is just off highway 401—the mother of all Ontario highways, crossing southwestern Ontario from Windsor in the west to Cornwall in the east, where Ontario ends and Quebec starts. Once you’re on the 401, it’s a short 80km drive until you get to the Toronto airport (which is physically located in Mississauga, but never mind that). About half way through, in Milton, we took the exit for some Starbucks.

Weather was nice so we sat outside with our drinks and caught up with what’s been going on since I left. About an hour later we left, only to be stuck in a traffic jam caused by what looked like a truck burnt in a ditch.

Finally we arrived at the Toronto airport. I kissed the wonderful convertible goodbye. It was a very personal, emotional moment.

The first thing I noticed when I entered my ‘98 Accord, after not driving it for 3 weeks, was that it really is a piece of manure. I mean, it’s running fine and all, but, how to say it, there were quite a few advancements in the automotive industry since this car was manufactured 10 years ago. Everything appeared so simple and plain. I looked for the button to electronically adjust my seat (I am taller than Jonathan), only to realize that I’m not in the convertible anymore and thus it’s not electric.


Mild traffic on the 427 south, then the Gardiner Expressway on our way to the venue. The Gardiner Expressway is the main traffic route crossing Toronto east to west right on the shore of Lake Ontario. This road can be so busy at times that it drives people insane. There used to be an ad somewhere along the Gardiner Expressway, I believe it was for the XM Satellite Radio, that read: “6 million songs. Just enough for the Gardiner”. However it was rather clear when we drove there.

As you take the ramp from the 427 to Gardiner, you get to see Toronto’s brilliant skyline. If visibility is good, that is. Which it wasn’t. Smog up the yin‐yang. Driving in Toronto in the summer is not a good exercise for your lungs.

We arrived at the venue and just accepted the $20 fine you have to pay in order to get the privilege of parking there. The first thing you enter is actually the Ontario Place, which is some family recreation site with pools, fountains etc. We were hungry, so we reluctantly agreed to get hosed for $7 for a chicken souvlaki wrap.

Then we entered the venue.

That’s my fourth time in this venue. The first time was 3 years ago, watching Mark Knopfler’s “Shangri La” show. Then I watched him and Emmylou Harris in 2006 (fourth row), and then again about 6 weeks ago—Eric Clapton concert, where I was seated somewhere in the lawn.

It is a well‐known fact that food / beverage vendors in venues do whatever is in their powers to squeeze each and every cent from poor customers. The Molson Amphitheater, I believe, has perfected this ill‐mannered business practice.

There’s no water fountain anywhere in the venue (the closest one is in Ontario Place—but if you go there, you can’t go back to the amphitheater)—some ushers seemed to think that there is, but none of them was able to tell me where on earth is it. Thirsty? Pay $4 for a 500mL bottle of water. Tap water? Sorry, no. And I thought that there’s some international law out there mandating free access to running water for everyone in need.

We felt like having a beer so we went to the concessions.

$9 for a can of beer.

For a Molson Canadian beer, which is not that great anyway. For an import it’s $9.75.

Ear plugs? Most venues give those for free. The Molson? $2.

This ticked me off to an incomprehensible end, and initiated some thoughts about what constitutes being a responsible consumer in this country, supply vs. demand, and other finance‐related topics, but I’ll leave it to a later post.

During the intermission between Jesca’s performance and Mark’s, I went to do some shopping. Bought Guy Fletcher’s “Inamorata” and Jesca Hoop’s “Kismet”, as well as a T‐shirt and, of course, the program. I was waiting with the purchases till I get to Toronto, as I didn’t want to carry too much stuff with me.

The show started at 9:00pm, the band performed the usual set list. Very shortly into the opening song I realized that I must put on some earplugs otherwise I’m going to become deaf. The sound was good, but substantially louder than any other venue so far. Realizing that I forgot my set of earplugs at home, I had to, for the first time in this tour, temporarily leave my seat and go to the “Guest Services” booth to acquire myself a set of earplugs which did the job wonderfully.

Mark apparently spotted some people filming during the show. It appeared to have pissed him off, especially during Why Aye Man when he had to skip some solo time to point at some punk filming.


My friend, Jonathan, appeared to be having a lot of fun. Now I should say that, the camera I use during the tour is actually his (mine is too big and, quite frankly, sucks). Since he attended the show, he took possession of the camera and took pictures of the venue, as well as maybe a million pictures of the band playing. As he just moved to Canada from Israel about a year ago, he never had the chance to see Mark Knopfler live even though he really wanted to. Mark’s first (and only) time in Israel was during the Brothers in Arms tour back in 1985 (or 1986), and the one show they played there is considered by many to be the best ever rock concert to be played on Israeli soil, to this date. Kind of strange that Mark doesn’t perform there anymore—many, many thousands of people would be happy to watch him play there.

There’s some footage out there in YouTube showing Mark riding a donkey through the narrow streets of eastern Jerusalem. Google it up. It’s really funny.

The band gave an excellent performance and rocked the Amphitheater. The audience cheered to no end—Torontonians love it when Mark and the band are in town. This was my third time attending a Mark Knopfler concert in Toronto—in all three, the audience was extremely supportive and cheered very heartily.

There were a few professional cameramen there filming the show with some decent video equipment—maybe we’re looking at a DVD release?

Halfway through the concert I was asking Jonathan how he’s doing, to which he responded that he’s doing great but the loud sound is killing him. Having seen the show 19 times already, I volunteered to once again leave my post (during the Song for Sonny Liston) and got him a set of earplugs as well.

Then Telegraph Road was playing and the audience were blown away—man, what a solo. Flawless, beautiful.

After the show was over, I asked Jonathan what he thought about the show. He said it was amazing. Now I should note here that, for Jonathan to say “amazing” about something, is pretty much like having a Polish mother admit she’s having a wonderful life. Very, very hard to do.

Jonathan (left) and myself (there’s a Mark in the middle):


Drove back home to Waterloo after the show, realizing we’re very hungry so we stopped for a short meal in Boston Pizza, in Kitchener. We arrived there 10 minutes before they shut the kitchen down. By the time we finished eating, I was so tired that I have no clue how I managed to drive home.

Today there’s a show in Ottawa. I intend to leave early, as there may be some Friday traffic crossing Toronto.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fraze Pavilion, Kettering, OH

7:26am now, and I’m writing this blog entry from my own sweet home in Waterloo, Ontario. Been awake for almost 24 hours now.

… Let’s start from the beginning.

Woke up in Nashville at around 9:00am. A quick look at the “deluxe” breakfast offered by the hotel revealed that it is not much more than a traditional American breakfast—not a good way to start a very busy day (and I am not going to get into the biology of it all; one reader has already called me an ass for criticizing the common American breakfast). So I decided to drive to downtown Nashville for a quick bite.

Downtown is literally 5 minutes drive from the hotel I was staying. Almost no traffic and I found myself a sweet curb‐side parking spot right on 2nd Avenue & Broadway. A quick look at my wallet has revealed that I am short in change; it took me a few attempts to find a place to change a $5 for me. Put enough coins for an hour worth of parking and went on looking for a place to eat.

There’s plenty of them… but not what I was looking for. Then I remembered that bakery place called “Panera Bread”—they have a shop right downtown in Commerce Street. Ordered a salad and a sandwich—delicious. When you order, they give you that piece of plastic that looks like a coaster, but it’s actually a pager. As soon as your order is ready, the thing starts rotating in a rather violent manner so you know to pick your order up.

Another short stroll in downtown, went into this used guitars shop and into a coffee place that had a neat sign in the front but very disappointing offerings. Parking meter was about to expire and I realized I should get the hell out of there if I want to make it to Kettering on time.

I didn’t book anywhere to spend the night as I was toying with the idea of driving back home to Waterloo right after the show (which I did). So I drove straight to the venue, about 5 hours drive. To avoid severe hunger during the show, I stopped at Marion’s Piazza, about one minute drive from the venue, which offers pizzas and sandwiches—good quality for fair prices.

Accessing the venue was a snap. Found a parking spot in a nearby school and walked about 30 seconds to the pavilion.

The Fraze Pavilion is surrounded by what appears to be a park, with a big pool and a fountain beside it. Very neat view. Peaceful. You have three people handling you upon entering the venue—one checks your belongings, one scans your ticket and one ties some wristband over your wrist. Pipelining at its best.


This really is an impressive venue.


After being seated in a God‐awful seat in Nashville, it was great being back to the front row. I was seated two seats to the right of the center, again right in front of Richard. Distance between front row and the 3 feet tall (!) stage was less than one meter—you could stretch your legs right on the stage if you wanted to (but I didn’t). Seated to the right of me there was a guy named Jared—I got to know him when I sold him an extra ticket I had for the Kettering show (long story). Also nearby was a lovely woman named Kami, who happens to be participating in the MK forums and apparently got my name from there. She turned out to be quite the dancer, as we all danced during the encore, much to the joy of Guy and Richard who had to put up with my irregular and incoherent body movements I dare call “dancing”.

Left of me, at the center of the front row, there were two couples. One of the guys asked me how I got such good tickets, I responded that I bought them. It turns out that the other guy in this bunch is a bass guitar maker from Cincinnati, and knows Glenn Worf personally, so they received really good tickets as well as VIP passes from Glenn. I told them about my quest to follow the tour and they seemed to have appreciated it very much.

Both guys gave me their VIP passes. Of course I have accepted, however I believe I won’t use them—just because you have the keys to somebody’s house doesn’t mean that you’re invited and welcome. But the passes will make a great souvenir. Thanks guys!

Jesca appeared on stage at 7:30pm. The weather was very hot and humid to a point of it being unbearable, which prompted Jesca to comment, right after her first song, “it’s f’ing hot in here”—not before making sure there’s no children in the crowd (well, I’m not sure how thorough her examination was). The heat didn’t seem to affect her performance, though. Clean, smooth performance which the audience appreciated.

Here is Jesca with this lovely outfit that I like so much:


25 minutes break, then Paul’s usual statement about recording, and the band appeared. The audience cheered loudly and heartily well into the opening song.

The view was perfect, the stage was low and I haven’t yet taken a clear enough picture of Richard, so I pulled my camera out and took two pictures—the only two pictures taken during the entire show. Only reason I took them was that visibility was so good:


It was so hot and humid, you could see the band sweating pretty much 5 minutes into the show (just like the rest of us). The heat seemed to have had some impact on Mark as he glitched a bit during the Why Aye Man solo’s. What do you expect. The guy wears a black T‐shirt and a long‐sleeve buttoned shirt on top. People in this venue tried to get as naked as they can, and this guy tries to put as many clothes possible. Nevertheless he (Mark) compensated for it with some great guitar work in Romeo & Juliet and Sultans of Swing. Audience got swept off its feet when Sultans of Swing played, and went really bananas with Telegraph Road—a very good performance of this song yesterday. Another highlight was John trying out a few new directions during his violin parts in What It Is, as well as wonderful whistle work during Sailing to Philadelphia. There are so many directions to take these whistle and violin parts… and John appears determined to try them all.

During the quiet intro for “Going Home”, which was the last song played, Mark said “by the way, thank you for not filming, you are great”, to which the audience responded by some good cheers.

All and all, this was an excellent show with an excellent audience. We all danced (well, they danced; I just moved my body in random directions) during the last two songs. It was hot and humid beyond belief, but we had fun.

Right after the concert, not having accommodations booked in Ohio, I figured that if I stay in Kettering for the night, then at the next day I’ll have to battle with:

  1. Driving the Interstate through three big cities (Dayton, Toledo and Detroit);
  2. Border crossing to Canada; and
  3. Traffic in Toronto

With potential to some heavy road construction in the way—knowing all of that I figured that the more I drive towards my house in Waterloo—the better. I ended up driving all night until I got home at 6:30am this morning, tired as never before. I had to stop for about 30 minutes to rest somewhere along the way, about 100km away from home.

It is so weird being here, at home. I feel like I don’t belong. I belong with the band, on the road… whose house is this anyway? What the hell am I doing here?

Concert in Toronto tonight. The only concert in the entire tour to which I am not going alone. I am going with Jonathan, a good friend of mine who moved from Israel to Canada more than a year ago. He’s an MK fan as well and never got to see him performing live. He’s excited.

Bye for now,

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.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Louisville, KY

Leaving downtown on about 3:30pm wasn’t painful at all. Some traffic, and a near‐accident, but nothing to make you hold your head and scream. I decided to drive as much as I can towards Nashville, as we’re talking about some great distance.

Before I knew it I was in Indiana already. I‐65 South is blocked for a few miles due to construction. Followed the “Detour” signs, essentially bypassing the blocked exists by means of I‐80. The detour, however, took me through some unpleasant areas. I’m not sure which part of Indiana I was driving in, but it didn’t seem too friendly. There appeared to be lots of neglect over there.

Found the next available I‐65 ramp and off I go, driving 70 mph. Not much to see along the way, however nowhere near as boring as the Regina‐Winnipeg drive I had the privilege to do a few days ago (seems like a year now).

Stopped for refuelling in some “Speedway” (appears to be a gas station chain. We don’t have it in Canada). Cashiers wants to see my ID along with my credit card.

– “Oh… Waterloo”

Baffled, as Waterloo is not a really well‐known Canadian city, I had to ask:

– “Heard of it before?”

– “Well, I have a friend in a city close by… big city… starts with a W as well. I think it’s called Winnipeg?”

Gulp. I couldn’t think of what I should say next, so I looked at the credit card slips and just asked:

– “… Which copy is yours?”

And I’m off my way, stopping for a quick bite at Quizno’s first. Had something called “Baja Chicken” which we don’t have in Canada—and lucky for us we don’t, as it gave the word “repulsive” a whole new meaning.

I think I felt a bone there.

Looking at my cellphone I realized that I gained another hour. Time zone change, it’s now 8:00pm, not 7:00pm.

I decided I’ll spend the night halfway to Nashville, which works to the Louisville area. Quick look at the GPS and here’s Motel 6 again in Louisville. Calling, just to realize that the price is a whopping bargain at $34 a night, including Internet access.

My room looks suspiciously similar to the room I stayed in during my Chicago visit. Does Motel 6 have some room layout standard? It’s just as if I haven’t moved at all.

People here are different. It is amazing, during this trip, to discover all sorts of people. Everywhere you go people look, dress and speak differently.

So tomorrow morning I’ll go explore downtown Louisville, if there is such a thing. Never been here before. As a matter of fact, so far in this trip, all USA locations were new to me except for Las Vegas and Woodinville (I’ve never been to Seattle before, though; and the only time I spent in Woodinville was 3 years ago during the Shangri La tour).

Tomorrow, unfortunately, no band member will be able to see me as I am seated in some balcony (section BAL‐9, row K). No worries Guy. Even if you can’t see me, rest assured I’m wearing exactly the same shirt. I promise.

If time allows for it in Nashville, I thought perhaps it would be a good time for me to, at last, buy an acoustic guitar. So far my amazing guitar repertoire contains only two of them—a classic guitar (Yamaha) acquired more than 10 years ago (gift from my dad), and a Gibson Les‐Paul Standard, cherry sunburst, 50’s neck. I figured I’ll check out the Martins.

Mark Knopfler’s signature model retails for $5,600—sorry Mark, this will have to wait, at least until I finish paying my mortgage in a few years.


Still Downtown Chicago, “ROM”

So I was strolling down the streets of downtown Chicago. There’s a lot to do here—too bad I have to leave soon. But, mark my word, I will be back.

Weather is sunny and warm—awesome for a downtown trip. I would never live in a downtown area of a major city (unless it’s in a decent apartment building / condo, on the top floor, so I can get some peace and quiet; but that costs millions), but I really like walking the downtown area of big cities. I usually take a small backpack, containing my laptop, a camera and maybe a snack or two, and just wander around. You really can’t get lost, even if you want to.

Found yet another gem in downtown Chicago. It’s called “ROM”, which is a pun on “Rome”. An Italian‐style coffee shop / bakery. They have some fantastic espresso but the jewel of the crown here is their specialties:

Sienna: Nougat cream, espresso, whipped cream and nut
Bianco: Chocolate sauce, white chocolate cream, espresso and whipped cream
Taormina: Orange cream, espresso, whipped cream and some orange peel on top
Nocciola: Nutella, sweet condensed milk, espresso and whipped cream

I went for the Taormina. It was so beautiful, that two guys sitting next to me looked at it and said “wow!”. They suggested that they take a picture it with me in the background… so here it is.


Here’s Cosi Sandwich Bar:


Some more pictures from downtown:


Check this out. Insane prices:


Haifa Cafe… My Israeli friends must be laughing now:


There’s free Wi‐Fi everywhere here. Everywhere. Even McDonald’s has its own:


Parking meter is good till 4:00pm and then it’s tow‐away time. I have another hour in downtown Chicago and then off on my way to Nashville, stopping over in Louisville, KY (I think).


Downtown Chicago, “Cosi Sandwich Bar”

So after finalizing some travel arrangements I decided to hit downtown.

With my car.

Well I knew that it’s not going to be pleasant, but I didn’t know to what extent. Going on the I‐90 towards downtown, I suddenly realized a gigantic traffic jam in the horizon. Took the nearest exit (I think it’s called “Keeler Avenue” or something) and instructed my GPS to take me downtown avoiding highways.

Well, it worked. It took me through some areas I felt very uncomfortable driving through, but at the end I arrived at downtown.

Now here’s a good time for some background information. I was born and raised (25 years) in the area of Tel Aviv, Israel. It is a rather crowded and noisy area. Right, it doesn’t have 10 million people in its metro area, but we’re talking about very limited space.

When I moved to Canada I decided to settle in Waterloo because I liked the peacefulness and space. I really got tired of living under pressure, in the boiling pot of a big city. I bought a house in Waterloo and I am very happy there. I visit the big city (Toronto) every once in a while, though. Even then, I don’t drive there as much.

Now imagine what I went through driving in downtown Chicago looking for parking, when I haven’t had my breakfast yet. Monday, lunch time. The entire world is walking the streets on their way for lunch. About 250 million cars on the road, give or take.


After wandering around the downtown area, I finally found—don’t ask me how, it must have been a miracle—a parking spot right on the street, on Franklin & Washington. $6 for two hours, comparing to $28 in a parkade.

I was very hungry and decided to hit the first eatery I come across. That was very easy—right across the road I noticed a big sign reading “Cosi Sandwich Bar”. It had no outside patio so I thought I should skip it, but decided to give it a shot anyway.

It was packed with people.

But what a beautiful place! They serve sandwiches, salads and espresso here. It appears to be very popular. As I approached the sandwich ordering spot, I understood why.

These guys bake their flatbreads right there in a big wood‐burning oven. As you wait in line, you can get some bread strips from some basket, and, man is it tasty. I am a sucker for pastries and the smell of warm, fresh bread when I’m starving is enough to turn me on.

I had the chicken Caesar sandwich. Thought I died and went to heaven. Maybe it was because I was so hungry but man, what an awesome sandwich! You get some chicken cubes on a flatbread with some goat cheese spread and other vegetables—trust me, you wouldn’t want that sandwich to end.

So, next time you’re in Chicago, give it a shot. “Cosi Sandwich Bar”, right on Franklin & Washington, you can’t miss it.

Will continue wandering around the downtown area and will start driving towards Nashville in the afternoon, hopefully before rush hour.


Important Announcement

Dear readers,

As you may have noticed so far in my blog’s header, I was sure to attend 29 of the 31 shows in North America.

Just wanted to let you know that I have finalized my travel plans, plus some other complicated arrangements, so I am now able to attend all 31 shows.

Something worth doing is worth doing right, I guess…

Special thanks go to my friend & colleague Dmytro Stepanchuk for making it possible. Everybody applaud Dima please. John, Asif—please turn your head towards Dima’s direction, look at him, point at him and applaud.

I haven’t yet booked any accommodations for any location past Toronto. Any help from you guys will be greatly appreciated!


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.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis, MN

So yesterday was a really long day.

After leaving the coffee shop I started driving pretty much non‐stop towards Minneapolis. The road is a bit more interesting than before, I’ll give you that. They call Minnesota “The State of 10,000 Lakes”, which can’t be right because I sure I’ve seen just about a million of them. Lakes are everywhere. Usually very small, kind of “islands of water” in a sea of green. Very nice.

I did stop in Hardee’s somewhere in North Dakota, though. Wonderful hamburgers—really recommended:


But the drive was long. I didn’t mention it in my Winnipeg post, however I seem to have caught some ear infection a few days ago. So in the morning of the Winnipeg concert I had to go to a doctor, and yada yada yada, we’re looking at 10 days of antibiotics. Nothing contagious, of course (so I can still attend the concerts)—just physically annoying. Also, antibiotics make you tired. So now you can imagine what driving 740km under antibiotics feels like.

Not pleasant, but I made it to Minneapolis.

My hotel was in Burnsville, a lovely suburb of Minneapolis. $45 a night. The room was perfect, everything else sucked: the staff didn’t know much about what they’re doing, and the wireless high‐speed Internet simply didn’t work. It appeared as if their routers are connected to a DSL modem and the DSL modem simply “forgot” to establish an authenticated connection. I was too tired to explain this to them. Being very tired, I just accepted it.

Quick change and then off to downtown Minneapolis. I figured I’ll grab a quick bite before going to the concert.

That turned out to be a bad mistake.

First, it seems that my GPS and the city of Minneapolis have decided to collaborate against me and close the highway that takes you from Burnsville to downtown Minneapolis. this sucked at so many levels because I had to basically find a way to arrive there avoiding highways. I set my GPS to avoid highways, which did the job but took extra 20–30 minutes to do.

Not really knowing downtown Minneapolis, I simply arrived at the venue, parked the car right in front of the venue and figured—hell, this is a main street here, I should be able to find something for a quick bite. Well, restaurants were aplenty; but I was looking for something quick. Not fast food—simply some place that you can step in, get some food and get out without the entire ceremony of a full‐fledged restaurant meal.

I couldn’t find any. Only restaurants there. There are a few pubs too but they were very crowded.

I noticed Glenn standing beside the venue talking to who appeared to be a couple of friends, and also noticed John sitting there talking on the phone. I hate to interrupt people who appear to be busy talking between themselves (or on the phone) so I didn’t bother.

Now whoever knows me, knows that I’m not very friendly when I am hungry. The same people would tell you that I’m not very friendly when I’m tired either. I was both hungry and tired. Believe me, it’s a good thing I was alone. Anybody spending any time with me under these conditions is bound to hate me at the end.

I figured—well, maybe I’ll eat something at the venue. The guy wanted $2 for a cookie. Yes, that’s right. A small chocolate chip cookie: $2. I have much more than that lying in my bank account, but this doesn’t mean I have to put out with outright cruelty, so I passed. I was determined to find a quick bite in downtown, even if it means that I have to miss the show. Yes, really. I can’t enjoy anything when I’m starving.

About 5 blocks away from the venue I finally found a place to get a quick bite. The place served Italian food and was owned and operated by Lebanese people. The taste was neither Italian nor Lebanese. I love Italian food and I love Lebanese food, but that wasn’t any of them.

By the time I returned to the Venue, Jesca was performing her second‐to‐last song. So I can’t comment much about her performance. Waiting for the applause break to enter the hall, I went to the bar and asked for a cup of water. The bartender apparently confused “a cup of water” with “a bottle of water”, handed me a small (250mL) bottle of water and said only two words: “Three dollars”. Straight to the point, not beating around the bush with “Hello, how are you” and stuff. I explained to him that what I really want is a cup of water, not a bottle. He gave me the look of somebody that has just lost a tip on a bottle of water, and handed me a small cup of water. It had maybe 4–5 drops of water, all the rest was ice. Thank you very much, Sir.

The venue:


What struck me in the show in Minneapolis wasn’t any of the band members, which were great as usual. That show, for me, belonged to the crowd. An amazing crowd. You can certainly see that we’re approaching the east coast. People much less restrained, more comfortable in their behaviour, less shy. I love this kind of crowd that doesn’t make you feel bad for cheering. I enjoyed being a part of this crowd. Made me feel closer to home, in some way.

The set list was the usual set list. I wrote before that Shangri La appears to have been wiped from the set list, which I feel a little sorry for because I happen to like it.

Great performance by everybody. I felt that the amazing performance was in part due to the crowd being really, really happy. It appears that the crowd had waited a long time for this show. Not sure when Mark (or Dire Straits) appeared here last. The crowd cheered very often, and was very active; I got the feeling that the band, after a series of concerts in front of rather laid back and restrained crowds, really enjoyed the attention. They gave the audience exactly what it was looking for. I noticed the look in the eyes of so many people (I was seated in the second row, pit center) and it’s amazing to see the eyes of 40–50 years old people shine with satisfaction.

After the show, time to go back. That highway was shut down both ways, so I decided to follow the same procedure as before, avoiding highways. GPS showed me that it’ll take me 40 minutes to get home. Then I asked myself, “I wonder what does this ‘DETOUR’ button do”, and—lo and behold—the thing quickly directed me to the nearest available exit (it turned out that the highway was only partly closed).

Sweet thing, this GPS.

Back to the hotel, wireless Internet still doesn’t work. Front desk receptionist allowed, after some convincing, for me to check my emails from his own front desk computer.

Went upstairs and, for the lack of Internet access, went straight to bed.

Woke up this morning at about 9:00am. Long drive today to Chicago so I stopped by Starbucks for some scone and a latte.

And off to Chicago I drive…