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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mark Knopfler Wolftrap July 22 2008 Vienna, Virginia

First time seeing Mark Knopfler last night.. lived up to the hype.... Fortunately for me it was at Wolftrap which is a national park with essentially low subsidized ticket prices..with perks like the fact you can bring food and drink in....Wonderful venue...this is no Nissan/Merriweather!.. the acoustics to my ears ring truer... In any case per his latest set lists he played mainly songs from his "solo" albums since breaking up dire straits but the reality is that his "solo" albums are no more nor less "solo" than his work has ever been.. anyways he's got a crack band he's visibly very proud of which includes at least two musicians (including the drummer) that played with dire straits probably towards the end of that group.... in any case he has a violin and on some tracks a wonderful accordeon which gave it a bit a of a new orleans sound and essentially that points to the fundamental- in my mind- difference between dire straits and "mark knopfler".. he is now just a bit more rooted in the sounds of americana.... knopfler gave each of his musicians a long and laudatory intro.. basically said these all guys trying to become better jazzmen or some such.... at times knopfler's voice came in crystal clear while at other times - to me who admittedly was not familiar with the new material- a bit more on the cool mumble side.. the new material held up very well but of course it could not, nothing could, hold up against knopfler's twin classics: romeo and juliet and sultans of swing which have to be two of the greatest songs ever written.. romeo and juliet diverged at the end from the studio version with an unsatisfying climactic solo which rewrote the original... while the latter provided that wonderful solo, finally after teasing in another direction, at the end of the hear knopfler sing classic lines as "check out guitar george he knows all the chords.." was pretty special... Knopfler also gave long time fans "telegraph road", "brothers in arms" and "so far away".... the wolftrap crowd traditionally known for extreme politeness and mellowness lived up to the latter even largely sitting down after initially standing for the familiar strains of "so far away" but there were a few scattered hooters, catcallers, and out of tune and time clappers...i suppose my main impression was that i had not realized what an amazing guitarist mark knopfler is...his guitar playing is just so crystal clear and soulfully sweet..he closed the show with the instrumental "theme from local hero" which I guess he does not perform all that much pushing past the 10:45 mark which was the expected end of show....also, his singing reminded me quite a bit of bob dylan... in sum: guy puts on a good show... oh yah one more: i think i saw mark knopfler before the show by the bus in yellow shorts and black shirt... it was in the back and very private picnic area of wolftrap and he seemed surprised to observe someone gawking at him..

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a fan of Mark Knopfler since the days of "Sultans of Swing', I hate to say, but I was disappointed with the play list for the concert, as it was really Celtic in nature. I was expecting more of a "pop" list in nature instead of tunes that are more obscure. Mark can really lay down some hot licks on the gutair, but it would have been nice to hear some more up tempo tunes such as Money For Nothing, Walk of Life, On Every Street, etc. Maybe the crowd was not real enthusastic due to the very hot and humid evening. However, every fan in attendance appreciated his talents.

The sold out crowd did come alive for "Sultans of Swing", standing oveation, seems like Mark would have gotten the message, LETS ROCK!!

Plus the age group in attendance surprised me. Very few younger fans who enjoyed his music from the 80's; the original MTV generation.

Wish I could "Spank the Monkey", not necessary because the monkey was not there.

A loyal 59 year old Mark, but somewhat disappointed.