And so here we are…..the final diary entry of the tour. Were done! We came off stage about an hour ago and everyone is sad, but glad. The last show was fantastic, it really couldn’t have been a better atmosphere. Here’s a shot of the venue for the last show which was of course the Olimpisky hall NOT the Kremlin palace, (I believe they were renovating).

This morning in St. Petersburg, just as we left the hotel, the skies opened. Luckily by the time we took off in the Dornier the worst of it was past, although it was a fairly bumpy ride across the country to Moscow. The band spent the hour before this last show typing on my computer as I asked them all to write a little ‘end-of-tour’ note….see below.

This was the original venue..the Kremlin Palace. Taken from my hotel room window.

Mark Knopfler
“Thanks to everybody for your fantastic support – I hope you had as good a trip as we did. Everyone did a great job on the tour, band crew and drivers, many thanks to all. We’ll see you the next time and see if we can do it all again.”

Chad Cromwell
“I just want to thank everybody that followed us along the way, from South America through to Moscow. I look forward to seeing everyone again on the next one. A particularly huge thank – you to all the guys in our crew who did such an amazing job of holding it all together. The rest of the band can kiss my @*%$ …. Just kidding!! 
I’m off to to pick up Leslie and the kids for a much needed holiday in sunny Florida.” 

Richard Bennett
“A note of thanks to all our friends who have taken the time to come and see us or have kept up with our comings and goings through the web site.

The STP tour has been an experience of a lifetime that’s taken me to some far-away places. South America and Russia a continent and country I’d never been to. In these four months we’ve played 81 shows in the great cities of the world and as it comes to a close there are of course mixed feelings. I think it’s safe to say we are all looking forward to being home with our families and resuming our non-touring musical activities. After a short holiday I’ll begin production on a record for Marty Stuart, put some final touches on my own album and head back into studio work. For the time being though, we say goodbye to a tightly knit bunch of guys who have a great deal of love and respect for one another. This extends beyond the band itself and includes all of the people behind the scenes who make this show happen every night, often in less than ideal conditions. We will think of each other often and savour some wonderful memories in the months to come. The band is looking forward to getting back in the studio with Mark sometime next year for a new record which begins the cycle that will eventually lead to another tour. Until then, farewell and many thanks. It’s been a ball.”

Geraint Watkins
“What can I say? What can I say, fantastic, fantastic. This has been a very special tour for myself and everybody else involved. What a fine bunch of chaps. The band and crew are all A1. The crowds at every gig have been all great. To see all the smiling faces at the end of every gig has been a real treat and a privilege. It feels like it should go on for ever on the other hand going home will be good. There just aren’t enough superlatives. Well done to Guy for doing this diary. While the rest of us were lounging in all sorts of exotic places, Guy would be sweating over a hot laptop. So goodnight good luck and cheerio to you all.”

Glenn Worf
“It’s hard to believe, but the time has come to “trade families”; my musical brothers in the band and crew for my blood family back in Tennessee. It has been a fantastic adventure,
hard fought sometimes, but worth all of the struggles. My thanks to the real heroes of the
tour, the crew. Those guys work a couple dozen miracles everyday and take real pride in the fact that no one ever knows it! My sincerest thanks, also, to all the fans around the
world who made the effort to come see us and to support us. In a day when more and more of the world’s music gets made by and with machinery and computers, it was very inspiring to see all those smiling faces who showed up to hear music made the “old school”way, by friends. Cheers to one and all, and here’s hoping we see you all again in a couple of years!”

Mike Henderson
“If there is such a thing as having a light and a heavy heart at the same time, then that would describe the way I feel. While I can’t wait to see my family, I’m really going to miss the fellowship and camaraderie of this very special band and crew. It’s been a long old road but the bumps have been made smooth by the warm receptions we’ve gotten from the wonderful fans all over the world. My special thanks to everyone and may god bless you all, and here’s hoping to see you all again soon. Peace.”

MY final thanks go out to everyone who found my tour diary, for looking in each day and to those who have sent me mail. I know a lot of you became quite addicted. I’ve really enjoyed reading your comments and criticisms. During the tour it became a useful way for the band to find out what the real story was behind certain problematic shows…ie. Security issues, sound problems and venue facilities etc. A good example was the Berkeley CA shows. The band were confused as to why the audience were so disengaged, through the responses I received, we found out….. There was no way the audience could get food inside the venue and once they were inside, security wouldn’t let them out again to get some. Also the seats were very uncomfortable and the venue was sweltering..basically it wasn’t a very suitable venue. We wouldn’t have heard the whole story had it not been for your descriptive and sometimes heated mails.

sailing home……
“It does seem that an awful lot of you have really enjoyed my entries in the diary. I assure you all that when we go back out on the road (realistically, within two years) I’ll be doing it all over again, only next time it will be MORE interactive with more pictures and I promise – Audio and MPEGs. I’m looking forward to it already. You can of course keep in touch with events and the progress of Mark’s next album as well as whatever I’m up to, through my website. You know where to go….. guyfletcher.co.uk
This will be me tomorrow, ‘sailing home’
Until then……be good”