Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mark Knopfler Concert

I was invited to go to the Mark Knopfler concert at the State Theater in downtown Minneapolis by a friend who had an extra ticket. I was not going to turn this down, as I have heard that Mark puts on a great show. This tour, lasting until July 31, is in support of his "Get Lucky" CD.

I was not disappointed.  I have never really listened much to his solo music, as I am most familiar with his work with Dire Straits. I was a teen when disco was big in the late 70s, and Dire Straits was a huge breath of fresh air for all of us who liked guitar-oriented music. He has an instantly recognizable guitar tone, using his fingers instead of a pick. I was amazed that it did not matter what guitar he played - Stratocasters, Les Pauls or a Telecaster - he still sounded like Mark Knopfler! Tone is indeed mostly in the hands.

He took to the stage for almost three hours playing this set list:

Border Reiver/ What It Is/ Sailing to Philadelphia/ Cleaning My Gun/ Prairie Wedding/ Hill Farmer’s Blues/ Romeo and Juliet/ Sultans of Swing/ Donegan’s Gone/ Get Lucky/ Marbletown/ Speedway at Nazareth/ Telegraph Road ENCORE 1 Brothers in Arms/ So Far Away ENCORE 2 Piper to the End

I was not familiar at all with most of these songs, so it great to hear it with a fresh ear.  I particularly liked "Prairie Wedding", "Sailing to Philadelphia" and the last song before the encores, "Telegraph Road."  His version of "Sultans of Swing" was not much like the version we all know. It was more restrained.  He is not as much rock and roll, as he is folk and Americana type of music. He was more into exploring his love of roots – country, folk, bluegrass and Irish folk.

His band was fantastic as well.  Featuring Guy Fletcher, Richard Bennett (who seems to have worked with every artist on the planet in his 30 year plus career), Tim O' Brien and others whose names I cannot find were, to me, flawless, and added much to the experience of the concert.

Opening act was Pieta Brown along with Bo Ramsey on guitar. They played folk, or roots, music, and were very enjoyable.

If you can see this tour, do so. It heads to the eastern US, then all over Europe.

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