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Hello. My name is Isaac Shabtay, 32 years old from Ontario, Canada. I have set this blog up to document my journey following Mark Knopfler’s “Get Lucky” tour during the spring‐summer of 2010. This is in much the same way I did for Knopfler’s 2008 “Kill to Get Crimson” tour (see the “Links” section), except that this time, I will be following the entire tour—starting April 8 in Seattle, Washington, and ending July 31 in Gredos, Spain. Similarly to before, though, you are more than welcome to sit back, relax, read and comment. All comments, positive and negative, are welcome. You can also subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed (see links at the right‐hand side of the screen), so new posts become available through your favorite RSS reader. Have fun, Isaac

Monday, May 10, 2010

Concert Day: Palace Theatre, Albany, NY (May 9, 2010)—Last Post before Europe

The last day of the North American leg of the Get Lucky tour has been characterized by genuine unwillingness, of both Jeroen and myself, to go through the day. True, the concert is a highlight that I’m looking forward to every day, but…

  • It’s in Albany, and I had some previous knowledge about Albany not being the most exciting place to hang out in; and
  • Due to an error I made while planning the itinerary (thinking Albany is north‐west than where it really is), I decided that we return the car in Buffalo, NY and find a way (bus, shuttle) to take us back to Toronto. That means a 4 hours drive after the concert, returning the car in Buffalo tomorrow morning and then another 2 hours ride somehow to Toronto. A much better alternative would have been to return the car in NYC and just fly to Toronto. But what can I do? I always said that I only look smart. I really am not.

It was sunny outside when we walked out of the hotel. For whatever reason I thought that weather is going to be nice as it was yesterday; and there I was, leaving the hotel with a backpack over my back, wearing shorts, a thin shirt and sandals—while it was about 50℉ / 10℃ outside and moderately annoying winds.

Put our stuff in the car and decided to have another round of IHOP pancakes; not because we liked it so much, but rather because it was so close. Turned out it was very busy with a line‐up the length of the Mississippi river outside; so we split.

The ride from Newark airport to Albany is just over two hours. Our attempt for breakfast in Clifton, NJ ended when we realized that most businesses there were closed (including the breakfast place that the GPS guided us to) and that it’s not really the safest‐looking area altogether.

Our next (and successful) attempt at breakfast was in Ramsey, NJ—not far from Clifton. Healthy breakfast (well… not that they had any healthy items on the menu; by “healthy” I refer to taking a regular breakfast and avoiding touching poisonous elements such as French fries), and then off to Starbucks for some tea and decaf (trying to detoxify myself from caffeine, see if it improves my sleep).

An hour later we proceeded on our way to Albany. Hardly an interesting ride, I was too close to fall asleep on the wheel after half an hour of driving; we switched and I (apparently, though I can’t recall clearly) fell asleep, and woke up just as we were entering Albany.

The city of Albany, NY is located approximately two hours drive north of New‐York City, and is the capital city of New‐York State. The Palace Theatre is located on Pearl Street, right as you leave the highway. It was around 3:30pm; we found a parking spot right next to the theatre and decided to explore the area by foot.

Folks, was that a waste of time. After taking the wrong turn on Pearl Street (turning left instead of right), we realized that in quite the shady area; a super‐bizarre individual carrying a hairstyle in an undetermined form, wearing colourful clothes and viciously‐looking boots, crossed our way whispering and mumbling to himself; garbage cans and bags are visible everywhere you go, and you can just feel the neglect.

Here is a picture that summarizes that part of Pearl Street:


Just tear it down already.

Backtracked towards the theatre and proceeded towards the Entertainment District, which seemed to be the place of action. It was bitter cold, windy, really not the day to spend too much time outside.

Perhaps because it was Sunday, but still, that area was as interesting and jolly as a Saturday night date with Larry King; not at all. Too boring to be real. Even Starbucks—the one chain that never failed us with being closed—turned out to be closing 3 minutes after we arrived there (at 4:00pm!). Clueless, we decided to take State Street uphill (riding the bus), as we were told we should find something to do there.

Nothing. Well, almost. Coffee was nowhere to be found, and the dining options appeared to be quite limited. We ended up in some Indian Restaurant, which appeared to be the place to be in in Albany as it had two other human beings in it (except for the server). Having chewed on a mildly‐acceptable meal, we decided to return to the venue by foot, about 15 minutes walk downhill.


More garbage on the sidewalk; a strange man walking the opposite side of the street, picking up cigarettes from the sidewalk, throwing away those who have nothing left to smoke.

All you need is a few tumbleweeds to get the feeling that you’re at the wrong place and at the wrong time.

Finally, we arrived at the venue.


Picked‐up our tickets—front row, centre, a proper way to end the North American tour—and entered the venue. I was carrying a small backpack containing my laptop; the ticket scanner saw it and gave me a disgustingly rude look.

– “What’s in there?”

– “My laptop.”

– (in an incredibly arrogant tone) “Show me!”

Had to hold myself from replying with a calm, confident “Go fuck yourself”. Few things upset me worse than arrogance does; but causing a scene didn’t seem like the smartest thing to do so I obliged. Mr. Jobsworth‐with‐Power then had to consult his colleague whether laptops are allowed in the venue, to which the colleague replied “as long as it is not a recording device, it’s alright”. With the last bits of patience, I told him “I am not going to record anything” and just went in.

The Palace Theatre (sorry, no further details now as we’re driving towards Buffalo and I ain’t going to be data‐roaming with my Canadian SIM card. I don’t wanna have to sell my house) is definitely nicer than some of the last few venues of the tour. Between the front row and the 3 foot stage, there stood an intermediary stage, 1 foot high.


Pieta Brown & Bo Ramsey started their opening act for the last time this tour, as they will not be attending the European leg. As usual they gave an excellent performance—according to Jeroen, perhaps their finest performance so far and the audience were listening carefully. Exquisite performance of “The Other Way Around”; for the last song, Pieta chose to perform one of the first songs she ever wrote (quoting her), not sure what it’s called but Jeroen seems to think it’s called “Pretty Song”.

Great performance by the two, clearly a winning opening act for Mark Knopfler. After their performance, we went to the merchandise stand to bid them goodbye.

As we were waiting for Pieta to finish signing her CD’s for quite the line‐up of people who gathered nearby, I was suddenly approached by a tall guy, wearing black, with some sort of a communication device attached to his vest. He asked me something but due to the noise I couldn’t understand him, so I asked him to repeat.

“Did you go to each and every show so far?” he asked.

“Yes”, I said.

I then instantly realized that I recognize the face—he works with the band’s road crew (watching so many shows, you learn to recognize many faces). He handed me a pack of about ten Get Lucky T‐shirts, one in each available color, and said that it was a gift of appreciation from the crew. That was pretty sweet, and brought a big smile to my face. I thanked him dearly, as well as to Cod, the eternal merchandise guy, who became aware of the ongoing ordeal (“Give them BACK!!!” he yelled at me, jokingly, snatching the T‐shirts off my hands. What a great guy).

Went to the car to store the T‐shirts in there, and I could feel that I’m being watched by quite a few shocked concertgoers as I made my way out of the venue.

Went back to the merchandise stand; Pieta & Bo were just about to finish signing their CD’s, so they had time to fulfil the promise they gave us when we met them back then on the way to Chicago:


What a great opening act. See you, Pieta & Bo, and good luck!

The band took the stage at 8:20pm and played the usual setlist, minus Get Lucky. A great concert, much thanks to a wonderful audience—what an improvement comparing to the Atlantic City audience! A few missing bars here and there caused slight mis‐synchronization between the band members but, as usual, you wouldn’t notice it unless you attended quite a few shows already.

Today was Tim O’Brien’s last concert with the band, so Mark and the band bid him a hearty farewell during the band members’ introduction stage. I will surely miss Tim’s playing, he definitely presented an added value to the band. Great job, Tim, and thank you for the music!

We had some violent guitar solos during Sultans of Swing and Telegraph Road, with Sultans of Swing’s performance somewhat resembling that of the Toronto show (very reminding of the Nelson Mandela Tribute Concert’s version).

During the applause intermission before the encore, a superbly jolly individual decided to hop on the intermediary stage, approached the main stage and offered his hand to Mark for a shake. He was completely ignored until two event staff workers came by and ejected him from the stage (and from the venue altogether, I think).

At the end of the show, Mark asked Danny to hand the drum sticks to a cute little boy that was seated right next to me at the front row and slept during most of the show; after the band left, and as people were leaving the venue, Glenn Saggers appeared and handed some guitar picks to the little boy.

And… that’s it. That was the end of the last show of Get Lucky’s North American leg.


I am finishing writing this post at approximately 1:40am. We are 121km away from Buffalo, NY—still undecided whether we spend the night in Buffalo or before it.

Driving through the boring I‐90 westbound, we’ve been playing Get Lucky twice. Very weird, listening to Border Reiver, Remembrance Day, Get Lucky, Monteleone and Piper to the End in their studio version, after listening to them being played live. If I could only have one wish for the next 59 shows, it would be to listen to either Before Gas & TV or So Far from the Clyde (or both) performed at least once.

Tomorrow, we’re returning the car at Buffalo Airport and taking a limo to Toronto airport, where Jeroen and I will bid each other goodbye as he departs to The Netherlands and I proceed to Toronto’s downtown area. A‐Ha is performing at Massey Hall tomorrow, and I have a couple of second‐row tickets; pretty excited.

On May 17 at the afternoon, I will be departing from Toronto towards Dublin. Hopefully, that crazy ash‐hole in Iceland cools down a little, otherwise I’ll have to swim to Dublin and it may take a few days. Until then, you can stop attempting to refresh this page as no new articles will be posted (comments, however, are most welcome).

Until Dublin… thank you all for the continued readership, and be well!



  1. Time to recharge batteries Isaac.
    Take care.

  2. Hi Isaac,
    It's funny, before I became a great fan of DS,
    I used to listen to A-Ha...
    I came to the record store to buy their third album "Stay on these roads" and they didn't have it so I bought instead "Brothers In Arms"...
    The next is history...
    Thank you for this great blog!
    I'll see you in Europe by the end of June,
    Guy Krispin

  3. Grazie di tutto, caro Isaac, sei stato grande, esauriente e spiritoso nei tuoi articoli e ci hai fatto con essi un grande regalo!

  4. Isaac, what are you going to do with all those T-shirts ? Give some away ? Have a contest ?


  5. Isaac, I went to school in Poughkeepsie, NY and have been to Albany. Same impression as you, cold, government buildings. Not much there.

    My son Jackson (4) is not hooked on Mark Knopfler and wants to listen to it whenever we're in the car. It's definitely weird to here Border Reiver after you've heard it in concert. There's virtually no lead guitar in the song that you can here, so I find that my mind is filling in the blanks from the live version that MK does. Not sure why he doesn't do much lead on the album, to me, that's the whole point. I guess he has his reasons.

    Anyway, loved reading your updates. Can't wait for Europe.

  6. Thanks all for your support.

    Wannee: turns out that the T-shirts are not the regular T-shirts sold as merchandise; these are actually T-shirts of the style worn by the crew members, and are not available for sale.

    What am I going to do with them?... Well, I think "wearing them" is one option. :-)

  7. thanks for the knopfler news. The Albany show was incredible. Unfortunately for you, your timing (sunday) and preconceptions about Albany kept you from discovering the heart and soul of our small but beautiful city. The downtown area where you were is always quiet on weekends. It is where State Government employees work M-F. And did you even notice the architecture of the Capitol Building shown in one of your photos? There are hundreds of great restaurants,bars and clubs just a few blocks up from where you were and they are packed with college students and local residents all day and all night. You should look in a travel guide before your next visit. And sorry about the weather. It was ridiculously cold that day. A nicer day would have seemed different. Either way, MK tore it up!

  8. Hello Isaac,

    Just like so many MK fans I enjoyed reading your Tour blogs, although I have to confess that I didn’t have time to read them all. You and of course Jeroen also, must be exhausted of all the travelling and sleeping in so many hotels day after day!

    Lucky you both have some days for yourself and then the European Tour will start. I am looking forward to see Mark and the guys and also to meet you both in Brighton and in Amsterdam!

    THANK YOU for all the work you did and for keeping us informed about what happened during the American Tour! I am looking forward to read the European Tour blogs!

    Regards Fieneke from the Netherlands