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Compiled by Terry Kilburn

Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 28th April 2019 – Madrid

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Clashing with the Madrid Marathon in more ways than one, the first day off of the tour found us arriving at the Villa Magna hotel at 2am. We were subjected throughout the night to the construction of the start-line paraphernalia right outside the hotel on the Paseo de la Castellana then at 6am sharp, the PA was fired up. They didn’t hold back. For four straight hours the motivational pounding consisted of ‘Highway To Hell’, ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, ‘Chariots Of Fire’ etc. SO loud that the ceiling in my Hotel room seemed to be answering back, the hidden plumbing rattling like it wanted to be free. Not a wink of sleep. Never mind, it’s a day off and in Madrid an opportunity to sample some of the loveliest food in Europe.

As always, the good spots are filled with locals and tough to get into so I booked and Danny and I headed to the family run Casa Lucio. Huevos Rotos like never before! True to form in these places, the owner makes an appearance and the clientele pose for pictures, in this case, Lucio Blázquez. We make it back to the hotel in one piece but my gastronomic day isn’t over as friends in Madrid offer to take me out to dinner at another local family institution, O Grelo where I am treated to a stunning evening of Galician fish culinary wizardry which included my favourite, Percebes and a delicious Ribeiro wine served ICE cold from a jug. Ribeiro is similar to Albariño but slightly more sparkling and slightly ‘musty’. Incredible with fish.

Sunday morning, show day and I had work to do. As large elements of my rig are now software based I am able to make changes and create layers and sounds on the laptop. As well as enjoying Roland hardware, I’m running Mainstage, Ableton Live and using Lemur (controller app) on an iPad. I set about correcting a few elements I wasn’t happy with in the first two shows.

As it was a Sunday, I was expecting a slightly more subdued crowd for the show but the audience in the WiZink Center were incredible. The two and a half hour show seemed to fly by which is always a good sign. Half of the band ran back to the hotel and half stayed for a dressing room drink. I ran along with Mark to meet friends in the hotel bar afterwards. These included Hugh Hudson, director of the movie ‘Altamira’ Mark and I worked on and also of course ‘Chariots Of Fire’. How funny.

 

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.

Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: April 26th, 2019 – Valencia

Monday, April 29, 2019

 

Please note… Paella is not Spain’s national dish, most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. It has ancient roots but its modern form originated in the mid-19th century in the area around the Albufera lagoon, adjacent to the city. OK. That’s that cleared up.

Away we go, three cities in a day… Barcelona in the morning and the glorious early Summer sunshine, we signed a few autographs outside the Mandarin before heading towards the airport, past a beautiful old bullring that doesn’t want to be a shopping centre, and onward to the plane for a short, smooth hop along the coast to Valencia. There we were met by our second team of drivers and whisked to the Plaza de Toros de Valencia in time to witness Dave and Chris preparing the most delicious dinner.

Even several hours after load-in, the air was dry and very dusty. This can potentially be an irritant for the gear and when I got to my rig, there was indeed a layer, the cling film on the two MacBook Pros not really doing much to protect. We might have to re-think this. I took a brief wander around the venue. Bullrings are fascinating places, especially active ones. I’m filled with morbid curiosity every time I look into the bullpens and see the earth and blood stains on the inner walls.

Last time we were in Spain, in Barcelona pre-show, I met with a young boy, Fran who suffers from a debilitating condition that means he has spent most of his time since 2015 in therapy. I was very happy to be able see him again before the show today. During the show, his dad actually carried him to the barrier in front of centre stage where together they watched the last 5 or 6 songs amongst the happy throng. After the final encore, when the band was lined up at the front of the stage, I pointed Fran out to Mark who made a point of giving him a very special wave.

Listening to the crowd with mild guilt as we escaped in darkness through the hallways, ducking our heads periodically as we negotiated the archways and discarded our in-ear sets into the correct name-labelled boxes, I had the sense we had made some sort of impression. Even through the haze that is commonly known as ‘2nd show’. The next thing I knew it was….

All aboard the joy jet. Having been humbled in so many ways during one day, you tend to consider the important things in life. I also use the word ‘humbled’ because that’s how this band describes coming off stage after the second show of the tour. These are times for celebration in that we are here and we are living it.

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.

Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: April 25th, 2019 – Barcelona

Monday, April 29, 2019

Barcelona

After a couple of days off, the band found itself assembled at a well known airfield to the West of London. A surreal, wonderful moment, reunited with band and premier air travel once more.

Remembering some of the wonderful stage experiences over many years, I’ve never known quite an evening like this with a band. It couldn’t be more fitting that we kick off the tour in Barcelona, it was our final destination of the 2015 European leg and a city which we all love. On the drive from the venue after an extended pre-show production day, there were fond memories of past shows in here as we drove past the old Plaza de Toros de las Arenas. Built in 1900, it now suffers the indignity of being a shopping centre. “Just what the world needs now, another shopping centre” commented Mark. Times certainly change.

Catalunya is a proud autonomous community and home for the wonderful Palau Sant Jordi, the largest indoor arena in Spain. This is probably the first time we’ve sold it out. Quite a remarkable first venue and a huge contrast to our production space only a few days ago. The reverberation in an empty hall of this size is a real test for our new in-ear system and sound systems. They passed with flying colours and once the place was full, it was an amazing sight and sound. The first show of the tour was suddenly upon us and I’d say the night went pretty well. The band was stellar.

After the show, we all met in the dressing room to toast show number one, discuss the finer points and offer apologies for first-night mishaps (inevitable) etc. etc. An hour later we were still at it and an hour after that, some of us nipped round the corner from the hotel for a final celebratory nightcap. What a fabulous couple of days, many more to come.

 

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.

DTRW Tour: Official Recordings

Thursday, April 25, 2019

You can pre-order official recordings of DTRW tour shows from the markknopfler.com/store. Choose either 320kpbs MP3 or FLAC digital formats. PLUS, while stocks last, you will get the exclusive limited edition Mark Knopfler replica guitar 8GB USB key complete with guitar-style carrying case.

Unauthorised streaming

Thursday, April 25, 2019

It has come to our attention that there are unauthorised live-streaming sites advertising Mark’s upcoming concerts as available for viewing. The authenticity of these sites is highly questionable, as no such services have been authorised or endorsed by management, promoters and venues. We strongly advise fans not to sign up to or pay for any sites purporting to live-stream Mark’s concerts, and will be actively working with venues to prevent unauthorised live-streaming activity.

PCM – 25 April, 2019