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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

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Concert Day: Royal Albert Hall, London, UK (May 31, 2010)

One of the main reasons I was so looking forward to the week in London was knowing that I won’t have to do much; the hotel is located a short walk away from the venue, whatever I need is within walking distance. No need to pack, no need to travel anywhere.

My sleep is still in quite the bad shape, regrettably. I don’t know what is going on but, regardless of what time I’m going to bed, I always find myself awake at around 4:30am and having great difficulty going back to sleep. Bizarre, as I was under the impression that my jet‐lag is over. Maybe I was wrong? anyway, I certainly hope this gets resolved one way or another soon as things are going to be quite hectic once the UK tour is over.

London is a great city with more stuff to see and do than even a month would allow. However, upon arriving here, I decided to flip a strong, steady middle finger at the face of the practice of sightseeing; I’ll go sightseeing some other time. For now, I’d like to rest.

… Which is more or less exactly what I did. Save for the concert, that was a predominantly boring day with the highlight being the delicious lunch at Caffe Concerto, an Italian cafe‐restaurant a few minutes away from the hotel. Walking past the cafe, we noticed a wonderful display of cakes, tarts and other deliciously‐looking desserts at the cafe’s display window so we just had to park there for lunch. Very good spot, I suggest you check it out.

Later on, went with Miriam to the Stanhope Arms pub, which appears to be the de‐facto meeting place for Knopfler fans. A couple of hours later, people started leaving towards the Royal Albert Hall; Jeroen and I grabbed a bite at a nearby sandwich store and headed to the venue.

The evening before, ticket collection has been rather messy with tickets being lost & reissued for quite a few ticket buyers. Paul Crockford, Knopfler’s personal manager, published an apology and promised that things will be going smoother from now on; they did. Ticket collection was a breeze, just as before; I even managed to get a hold of the lost ticket from the night before, courtesy of one of the staff members.

Mental note: Nelly still owes me a great deal of goods for helping her get her lost ticket. No Nelly, I didn’t forget.

After some chit‐chat, as I was looking around me at the food & drinks area of the Royal Albert Hall, I suddenly noticed a familiar face approaching. That turned out to be John Lovell, with whom I’ve been in touch for quite a while now after he contacted me regarding the Kill to Get Crimson tour blog. Him and his girlfriend were also attending the concert and he decided to stop by and say hello. Was good meeting with him at last, we agreed to spend some more time together next time I’m in the UK (John is a guitar player, would be nice to play some tunes with someone for a change).

The conversation with John and his girlfriend ended a few minutes before the concert started. I was seated in a slightly better seat than the night before—front row, fifth seat from the left. The show started exactly on 8:30pm.

Perhaps it was due to my seat’s location but the concert yesterday sounded much louder than the one before. Except for Mark, the band appeared to be in a great shape; Mark, however, still being seated, appeared to be somewhat tired and distracted during most of the show. Why? I have not the faintest clue but that was my impression. At least I hope he is feeling better with all of this trapped nerve pain‐in‐the‐ass story he’s been good through for the last 5–6 weeks.

… Or it could have just been myself being very tired.

Louder audience than the night before, just when I thought that the Royal Albert Hall can’t get any louder. Deafening cheers to the band as they captured the stage, and once the last chord of Speedway at Nazareth was struck, the cheers were so loud that for a minute I thought I’m at a rustic English pub watching England scoring against Spain 1:0 at the 90th minute of the World Cup finals; that thought passed very quickly as, as we all know, that scenario isn’t very likely to happen (and lets leave it at that as I have quite a few readers from England).

Whatever Mark has been going through during most of the concert appeared to have faded away slowly as his performance of Telegraph Road was definitely worth waiting for.

Will that trapped nerve thing just go away already, damn it.

The setlist was identical to that of the night before except for Monteleone and Marbletown switching places.

Even before Telegraph Road ended, people from the front row went running towards the stage, hurdling in a way not entirely unrepresentative of angry bulls in a Running of the Bulls event. Later, I was informed that quite a bit of pushing took place there as people decided to express their violent and disrespectful side towards others.

I was well‐seated in my chair as I was watching the herds ploughing through tangible obstacles towards ecstasy, and remained seated there for about a minute, letting the craziness calm down for a bit. During that minute, I was thinking about what was going on and what was it that kept me in my seat.

I can somewhat relate to people rushing towards the stage (assuming no violence is involved, otherwise I relate to nothing and these people should get their ass kicked). I can understand what purpose this rush—often accompanied by at least some sort of stress—fulfills in their mind…

… But that purpose is, for the most part, irrelevant to me. As life goes by, one thing an individual is often forced to do his to choose the battles he’s fighting and, really, this 2‐seconds “battle” and the accompanying minor stress is very low in my priorities list. I am not willing to go through the most minor stress in order to be one inch closer to the stage… I’m not “there” anymore.

Anyway, the concert ended at around 10:30pm to the cheers of a satisfied audience.


Left the venue and met Val and the rest at the agreed‐upon meeting place. After a short discussion, it turned out that everybody was too tired to drink or do anything so we all spread out to our hotels.

While leaving, I looked back and saw dozens of people waiting next to the stage door. They were standing there for, I believe, more than 30 minutes with a determined look on their faces—they just have to get a glimpse of stardust, even if it means increasing stress on the artist(s).

… I am done trying to rationalize people’s behaviour; way too many things to consider.

Hunger struck both Jeroen and myself as we approached the hotel. Luckily, the wonderful Thai restaurant we had lunch in on Sunday was still open past 11:00pm so we entered for a delicious starters’ platter. Great way to end the day.

Signing off this post on Tuesday afternoon.


1 comment:

  1. You should eat "LC"June 6, 2010 at 2:08 PM


    I find very interesting your view on the "Running of the Bulls" and the craziness surrounding it.

    I'd like to say that from one night to another it can be very different feeling : one night in London some people on second or third row just keep putting pressure on you as to trying to get first row anyway and on the next one you can feel the air around you and have a very relaxed and pleasant experience of attending Mark just like if he was playing just for you in your living room.