After spending three nights in Seattle, I had to part ways with the convenience of staying in one place; until the tour makes it to Ontario in late April, I am going to switch from one hotel to another as the tour progresses. Frankly, folks, it sucks; I despise packing, which is the reason I pack light in the first place.
Another reason it sucks particularly in this case is that I had to part ways with my hostess, a gorgeous redhead who answers the name “Hadar”. We celebrated my departure by having a short coffee break in Kahili Coffee, in downtown Kirkland, WA:
Leaving the city of Kirkland has been a bit sad as well, as this is one pretty city:
I left Kirkland at around 12:30pm, to pick Jeroen up from his hotel and off we drove towards Portland, not before we were stuck for 30 minutes in traffic in downtown Seattle. Took the convertible’s top down, and sense of freedom kicked in as we started driving southbound on the I‐5 en route to Portland.
The I‐5 from Seattle to Portland is, while pretty at times (boasting great views of snow‐peaked mountains, is for the most part boring. Feeling a bit tired, I handed the wheel to Jeroen (of course we pulled‐over prior to doing the switch), parked my arse on the passenger’s seat, hooked all of my high‐tech infrastructure together and started catching up with emails. I am receiving quite a few of those recently—thank you all for the feedback.
During the last tour during the summer of 2008, I met quite a few interesting & wonderful people along the way; the Portland concert was going to be kind of a “meeting point” for some of these people—Alex Flagg flew in from Northern California; Steven & Fiona live here; Ryan Dunne drove from Salem, Oregon. So one of the first things I did was to co‐ordinate when we all meet, what do we do etc. Unfortunately Ryan couldn’t join us, so the five of us—Jeroen, Alex, Fiona, Steven and myself—agreed to meet in a local restaurant for a quick early dinner before the show.
We checked into Embassy Suites in downtown Portland and rushed to our agreed‐upon meeting place, where everybody met, introduced themselves and shook hands. As none of them knew each other before (except for Fiona & Steven, of course), it felt nice, you know, bringing like‐minded people together.
A quick dinner at Blue Hour Restaurant in downtown Portland (recommended; very good food), and we started walking towards the venue, about 25 minutes walk. Portland is not such a big city, and ditto for the downtown area. Things are really green in here, it’s all cozy and feeling kind‐of like home. I like this place. There are other strange things about this place (for example: light‐rail rides here are free). A city definitely worth exploring.
Once arrived to the venue, we picked our tickets up from the markknopfler.com desk. I was seated at Orchestra Centre, row A, seat 3—almost dead‐centre. Some familiar faces from previous concerts and previous tours…
Touched quick base with Ryan, before Pieta Brown & Bo Ramsey came on stage for Pieta’s opening act. Photos, courtesy of Jeroen Gerrits:
The venue—Keller Auditorium—is fairly big and spacious, and seats around 3,000. Fairly impressive from the interior:
I almost fell asleep during the intermission, between Pieta’s show and Mark’s show; haven’t been sleeping much lately, I suppose. Luckily enough, it wasn’t long before the gang took the stage and performed a bombastic Border Reiver to kick any trace of tiredness out of me.
The sound at the Keller Auditorium was… well, I’ll call it “good plus”. Much better than Seattle’s Moore Theatre, but still not a competition to the sound at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Other than that, the show has been great.
Mark appears to have overcome his jet‐lag; apparently he was more cheerful today than usual.
Again, we had a setlist change. I can’t begin to describe how fantastic this is; Mark is not known as an artist who changes the setlist during the tour, but, counting today, he’s done it twice already. For the first time this tour, Why Aye Man was played—an extra‐long version, by the way, which is great as the outro solo goes really well with flutes and violins.
Also, one Get Lucky song which appeared in the first two shows, has been dropped and replaced by the album’s title track, Get Lucky. Oh, what a performance; previously, I have heard that track performed live at the Hurlingham Club, in London last year; I liked today’s performance much better, though. That is such a beautiful song.
Another thing note‐worthy about the concert is Mark’s improvisations. As I wrote above, somebody must have put something in his drink as he appeared to be rather enterprising today, giving us quite a few “wow” moments, especially during the Telegraph Road and Why Aye Man’s solos.
Jeroen also took some photos:
Altogether a very good concert. The varying setlist practice that the band is exercising is well‐received; I like it. As if I needed any more reasons to attend the entire tour.
After the concert, the five of us went to a local pub in Old Town, Portland where I was the only one to chew while the rest had their drinks. We then bid Fiona & Steven farewell and thanked them for showing us around.
I’m going to take tomorrow very easy. We have a couple of hours drive to Eugene, and there’s this doughnut place right next to the hotel (“Voodoo Doughnuts”) that I’m intrigued to try out. Will post Twitter updates as the day goes by.