There has been a certain amount of reserved excitement in the rehearsal room this week as we return to Bermondsey for a much anticipated week of preparation for our latest tour across Europe. The first thing to note is the almost deja-vu-like feeling we were here very recently, well I suppose we were. The familiar trudge up the icy ‘Biscuit Factory’ staircases in this busy East London business estate, followed by that unmistakable odour of drum cases, beer and well, other things often found backstage at a pub gig. I always did wonder what it was that permitted drum cases so profoundly retain that smell. Yes, it’s always drum cases. Anyone who has visited this place (and I’m thinking of the fortunate few who came and witnessed our ‘private’ shows here back in September 2012 before the last Dylan ‘trip’) will marvel in the myriad of doors, corridors and stairs required to negotiate in order to gain entry into this temporary sanctuary. No security required here, just finding the place is deterrent enough. The recent cold weather has been captured by the thick walls of this building, and as the outdoor temperature finally rises slowly in what is now officially a welcome slip into British Summertime, the retained chill is quite noticable. It took a day or so for the ambient room temperature to warm sufficiently, most of us kept our jackets on for day one. Not the crew of course, they’re traditionally a little thicker-skinned than the band and they need to be in order to get through what is quite a busy tour schedule this time out. I think we were all very happy to see some sunshine and a more pleasant weather forecast for the upcoming days.

As usual, prior to the first day of rehearsals, Mark had sent me his list of songs he fancied trying for this trip and this included lots of familiarities and a whole lot more. In fact the song list has grown as the days have gone by and we only just managed to get through everything by the end of the first week. I don’t want to give away any more on this as has now become customary. All set-list questions on the forum will be answered with the usual discourteous indifference….you understand.

More to come during week 2…

Whirlwind week two started with us all piling out of our Mercedes ‘bread van’ style 8 seater van and into a brand, spanking new production facility in West London. As we walked in, we knew it was going to be a good week, this was resolutely confirmed by the sight and smells of our familiar catering team from the 2010 Get Lucky tour. Inside the main area/sound stage, there was everything a professional touring organization could possibly want, lighting, power, hanging points, load-in bays, air conditioning, sound absorbtion technology, production offices, dressing rooms an ample kitchen, plenty of daylight and lots and lots of toilets. These folks sure know what they’re doing.


A full production rehearsal is great for the band as we get to run the various sets and so forth but it’s the crew who really benefit as they can iron out more logistical and technical elements simply by being able to ‘run it up’ for real. A two year accumilation of dust and corrosion meant that Jules, my keyboard tech for this tour spent a fair while soldering and remaking my audio and midi looms for the slightly reworked keyboard rig. I can report she’s a dab hand with that soldering iron. 

We’re leaving now…



The crew boys (and girls) had loaded in the day before and everything was set up as if it were a show. Full lighting and sound rig with Dave Dixon and Simon Tutchenor out front-of-house in full command of their substantial devices. The lighting rig, I admit to know absolutely nothing about (why always so many faders?) but the sound desk has a very familiar audio signal path look to it. With an impressive if not slightly bright array of illumination, the ‘new and improved’ Digico SD series (with field-programmable gate array semiconductors no less) certainly look the part. But that’s not really what it’s all about is it. How do they sound? After a few days, Dave had decided it does indeed sound better. I will pry unashamedly in this direction as we get under way… I’m interested to learn more about what this band sounds like ‘out front’ because in the ears it sounds FAB. Yes, the in-ear monitors. They’ve come along since 2010 too as I can testify, I had a new set made this week and there is a marked improvement. More on this to come also.

Richard, Nigel Hitchcock and Mark run a familiar tune.




The masterful Jim Cox on the piano….


…and the one and only Richard Bennett.

Ian (Ianto) Thomas behind the kit…


Jim, Ianto and Nigel relax in a public house after a hard slog in rehearsal….

Camera Policy 2013

Please note that Mark Knopfler has no objection to fans bringing into the show cameras and personal recording equipment to record the show, providing such photographs/recordings are for private use only and these activities do not interfere with the enjoyment of other fans.
CAMERAS, including digital cameras, can be used by fans to take photos of the show, provided it is for personal use and non-professional purposes. Any camera with removable lenses are not permitted.
AUDIO RECORDING is permitted. Fans with Walkmans, cassette recorders and small personal recording devices are permitted to tape the show, providing it is for their own personal use and non-commercial purposes.
VIDEO CAMERAS are not allowed under any circumstances. The use of video cameras and mobile phones during the performance has become a major irritation for fans and a distraction for Mark and the band. We don’t want to restrict your enjoyment at the shows but please respect Mark’s request and resist the temptation to use these devices during the show.
All of this is subject to local venue camera policies.