Leaving London at 1pm on what promised to be the busiest day ‘ever’ in the skies over the UK, we headed for Farnborough. Along with our 5-star review in the Times yesterday, in which Danny Cummings was so eloquently described as ‘Exuberant’, I read that all air traffic records would be broken today with a notable increase in private flights, it being a Bank Holiday weekend and the Monaco Grand Prix weekend. Farnborough was heaving. 190 flights were scheduled for the day. A lot for a small airfield. We crawled our way West and eventually arrived and boarded the jet I now affectionately call the ‘White Asparagus’. At the table by my seat, was my birthday cake. Thank you Daniella. 

I always wondered where the word Dublin came from. A couple of taps on a keyboard reveal it derives from the Irish word Dubhlinn which has many different spellings but means ‘black, dark’. This is in reference to a tidal pool that was located where the River Poddle entered the Liffey, on the site of the castle gardens at the rear of Dublin Castle. Maybe this is why Guinness and Murphy’s are so distinctively dark. As always when playing a show in Dublin, glasses were lined up for the encores, filled with fresh, delicious local brew courtesy of St. Peter (Mackay). Pete is always at the foot of the stage steps when we come off stage, always with an armful of towels. Mostly for Ianto and the ‘exuberant’ Danny.

For more than 20 years, Mike McGoldrick has known and worked with Seán Keane. Seán was at the show tonight and managed to drop in to the dressing room. He recently recorded a gorgeous version of ‘Piper To The End’. Such a beautiful, distinctive sean-nós (traditional style) singer, it was lovely to meet him. His descriptions of his recent work with an orchestra were fascinating.

For anyone who has ever wondered what it’s like standing at Mark’s vocal mic all night and virtually playing ‘blind’, here’s an indication (below). A shot from that viewpoint with both follow spots on. Tellson James, our LD (lighting designer) has recently implemented a new truss extension which houses two remote controlled spotlights. These are operated by one of the lighting boys from an ingenious device known as a ‘RoboSpot’. Looking more like a Harley Davidson than a lighting controller, the operator can fully control the spot positions and focus and view on a remote screen.

Everywhere I went today, I kept hearing the word ‘exuberant’, the review in the Times has clearly left an impression. Suddenly, Danny has his own dressing room and extensive dinner menu!

Yesterday’s day off meant we were well rested and recovered from the stresses of playing the RAH. Even though it’s nothing other than a priviledge to play there, it is nonetheless stressfull, home town, families, friends, reviews! Dublin was the perfect place to play next. Historically an amazing audience and they certainly didn’t let us down tonight. An incredible reception. All in all quite a day. Thank you to all who have sent me Birthday wishes. You are all too kind.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/review-mark-knopfler-and-band-at-the-royal-albert-hall-c7c3jdqnn