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Mark Knopfler at the Greek Theatre

June 28th, 2008 by Maxim · 6 Comments · 7,192 Views

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I’ve been the fan of the man for a long time. He’s one of the best guitarists in the world, and he writes beautiful songs; his layed-back and sophisticated rock’n'roll style and thoughtful yet simple lyrics are his trademark. And now I finally got a chance to see him live. And it’s probably best live show I’ve seen so far. Great acoustics at the Greek helped to enjoy it, no doubt. The crew were mostly Scottish, I think. Very professional. The experience was very fulfilling: they must have played at least 15 songs, 5 encore, and everyone who got tickets early received his latest album on CD: “Kill to get crimson”. No fancy special effects – just simple and laid back, like he always is. He makes guitar playing look so easy! Most of the songs I knew by heart except the two new songs from the aforementioned album. Six or Seven of them I played at the office, but the rest would require a quantum leap in my guitar playing technique to even come close, so I don’t even dare to try.

The selection of songs was targeted to the American audience: lots of songs about “Wild West”. He also played “Brothers in Arms”, which is not an accidental choice. The “six lanes of traffic, three lanes moving slow” lyrics from the “Telegraph road”, which is an actual street in LA area, really connected with the audience. I was wondering if he’d play “Do America” or “Once Upon A Time in the West”, but he didn’t. Played other Dire Straits classics though. His violinist/accordion and pianist were fantastic.

Overall, the best live show I’ve seen. He played a lot of songs. Ended up to be a 3 hour concert, not counting three meowing girls’ performance – warm up musicians.

Videotaping was not allowed. Cellphones off. Big party after the concert on the parking lot: Knopfler’s and Dire Straits’ music was heard from cars from all directions. The only disappointment was that the vast majority of the audience were people in their 40s, 50s and even 60s. Either I am stuck in a time warp, or modern youth does not appreciate the genius.


Below is the list of songs he played, not necessarily in the order they were performed. The ones marked with a * I played in the office for my colleagues.

Cannibals (1996) [Golden Heart] – great rocknroll song
Sailing To Philadelphia* (2000) [Sailing To Philadelphia] – nice opening song on an American trip
What It Is* (2000) [Sailing To Philadelphia] – beautiful song about Scotland with nice Dickensian references
True Love Will Never Fade (2007) [Kill To Get Crimson] – this latest album is a different Knopfler. The whole album has a lot of repetitive lyrics and is rather mellow
Why Aye Man (2002) [Ragpicker's Dream] – another rocknroll song, funny lyrics
Hill Farmer’s Blues* (2002) [Ragpicker's Dream] – just a beautiful song
Sultans of Swing (1983) [Dire Straits, Sultans of Swing, Private Investigations] – icon/classic
Romeo and Juliet (1984) [Alchemy, Money For Nothing, Private Investigations] – classic
Wanderlust (2000) [Sailing To Philadelphia] – nice and slow
Marbletown (2002) [Ragpicker's Dream] – one of his “Wild Wild West” songs, sounds very authentic, but didn’t connect with me. Sounds like MK was experimenting to see if he can write a song for Bob Dylan.
The Fish And The Bird (2007) [Kill To Get Crimson] – nice, but not the Knopfler I love

Telegraph Road (1994) [Love Over Gold] – original Dire Straits classic
So Far Away (1985) [Brothers in Arms] – same
Brothers In Arms (1985) [Brothers in Arms, Money For Nothing] – same
Our Shangri-La (2004) [Shangri-La] – lovely
Wild Theme [Local Hero] – a classical beautiful instrumental piece from great surreal movie about Ireland.

Let me know if I missed anything.

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 admin // Mar 19, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    <b>@ Emily</b>:
    I am not missing them. See above!
    I only missed Song for Johnny Liston.

  • 2 admin // Mar 19, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    <b>@ Emily</b>:
    I am not missing them. See above!
    I only missed Song for Johnny Liston.

  • 3 John // Jun 30, 2008 at 6:33 pm

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    I heard MK sing “Speedway at Nazareth” on Friday from the Sailing to Philadelphia album, think you missed that off your list. Yes it was a great concert and was some consolation for never having seen Dire Straits in concert. Rock on Mark!

  • 4 admin // Jun 30, 2008 at 6:47 pm

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    I’m trying and trying but can’t recall “Speedway to Nazareth” at all. Nevetheless, just goes to show how many great songs he played to everyone’s enjoyment and I didn’t want the gig to end. Jealous of the people in the front row. I bought tickets the second they went on sale, but the best available at the time were only on the terace.
    Compared to Clapton’s concerts that usually come unanounced but sell out in minutes, Clapton only plays a few songs and leaves. Knopfler played what… 17? On a single breath.
    The warm up girls were hideous :) Lyrics were not bad, but voices and performance manner were rather annoying and the music was based on same 3 chords.

  • 5 Rick // Jun 30, 2008 at 9:09 pm

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    I was there! He definitely played Speedway at Nazareth. It was a great show with a great crowd. I was one of the few under 40 years (I’m 19). The youth definitely don’t appreciate his genius.

  • 6 Ron // Jul 1, 2008 at 12:03 pm

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    Speedway at Nazareth was played, as well as Song for Sonny Liston from Shangri-La.

  • 7 Emily // Mar 19, 2009 at 3:22 am

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    I was there as well. I don’t remember him playing Wanderlust. Besides Speedway, you are also missing Sailing to Philadelphia, Hill Farmer Blues and Song for Sonny Liston.

  • 8 admin // Mar 19, 2009 at 9:25 am

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    @ Emily:
    I am not missing them. See above!
    I only missed Song for Johnny Liston.

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