Mark Knopfler | Red Rocks | 7.19.05

Over the years I have always thought of Mark Knopfler as one of my favorite guitar players and I always regretted missing him play live. Last night I figured out why. He was awesome. I was not quite sure what to expect – which was kind of nice for a change. Too many times I know what I am in for and I get just that. But, I have never seen MK and this was going to be a first time for me.

When we arrived at Red Rocks I could not help but notice all the fancy cars. Not quite what I would expect for fans of MK (But, what the hell do I know). The crowd varied from Colorado Republicans to Mike Moran (of course, he is in a category all by himself) But, he did have a great deal of commercial success – Money for Nothing (which I still think is one of  Rock n Roll's greatest guitar riffs – Dave & Helena both saying it is a crappy tune – Bull shit. Some people just don't like anything with commercial success  - Dave). This was my only show for the year (one show per year = 16 month old) so I was determined to do some tailgating before the show. Mike Moran (Grateful Web president and incredibly lucky bastard) was able to get a 13th row ticket for 30 bucks when pulling into the lot.

Back to the show – Mark was simply just a master. The thing that I liked most about Mark (besides the fact that some of the guitar solos were just mind boggling) was the interesting range of his repertoire. And, the varying tempo changes from tune to tune. Mark obviously has musical roots from Americana to Celtic to Rock 'n' Roll. He developed a uniquely MK style of playing that stemmed from years of listening to some of the greats – Chet Atkins, John Lee Hooker, Dylan. He played a soft ballad – Romeo and Juliet to Sailing to Philadelphia to Telegraph Road (absolutely rockin last night by the way). The guitar playing had moments of utter sweetness to totally rockin depending on the mood of the song. The one crucial element for any guitar player is emotion. And, emotion flowed through MK and his hands the entire night. He played so many ranges and just mastered them all – Sultans of Swing. –Incredibly flawless solo that just took me on a journey.

Of course, MK had a sweet band playing with him. They of course deserve credit. Piano – Hammond organ- guitar-bass-drums. I don't know names of the band members.  – Remember, I am just a novice at reviewing music and I am just trying to help out the family business by writing something since I was at the show.

The show was sweet. The tunes were sweet. They kept the show interesting by varying the tempo. The guitar playing of MK took me on a journey which I find to be more and more rare these days. When I see live music I want to be taken on a journey that leads me through peaks and valleys and leaves me in a place where I always want more. At the end, I wanted more.

Check out more photos and a few video snippets.

10 Comments

Bub's picture

I remember Sam Scheer from the Mohawk days. I even bought his Folk album. Although I was not quite ready for it at the time. I would love to hear it again. But, I could never expect anyone to be the next Bob Dylan. Because, there will only be one Bob Dylan. MK has some great lyrics and some not so great lyrics. He has always pulled out one or two great tunes throughout time.

I was suprised by the fancy cars and the Colorado Republicans. (I don't hate Republicans by the way - I just picture people driving fancy cars and clean cut with a bowtie to be a Republican.) But, most people that I know that listen to MK are a little more sloppy and poor - Democrat?. (Maybe that is why we keep losing elections?) Also, I wasn't entirely comfortable token at our seats.

Jelly Roll Blues's picture

knopfler is as good as it gets. 'so far away from me, your so far away from me.. check it out'.

chris's picture

It is funny to see that crowd...Hornsby gets 'em, though so does Dylan and so many others like the Dead...but I always think of them as the "Big Chill crowd" - you know the Eagles and other classic rock fans that thought they were on some cutting edge in college, and turned out they were just part of the mainstream..."Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac..."

Are we walking that same path? can we avoid that trap? Are we any "better" than that?

Keith's picture

I was at the MK show at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, Ca this past Sat. night. I could not tell which of these Americans were Rep. or Dem. But Since I was in Berekeley I felt I could make some assumptions. Then I had proof. My very good progressive friend pull up in his V8 BMW (he left his Kerry stickered suburban at home with his wife and one kid) Me the conservative took public transportation only because I could. As we walked to the theater we passed three new Hummers, many BMW's and plenty of bumper stickers that said "no blood for oil". It made me think about this review. I thought Are all these people really Republicans hiding behind a little red book. I had to check the garbage cans for red pampers but every garbage can had a hand deep in its bowels searching for treasure. I though I still needed proof of who these impostors are. We search for a sidewalk cafe to people watch only to learn that its against the law to have a sidewalk cafe in Berkeley (It was also against the law for the Grateful Dead to play in Berkeley and Stanford in their final years) So we proceeded to the show. They checked ID at the door to make sure everyone was over 35 and sure enough everone was. As we proceeded to our seats there was one large cloud of skunky smoke everywhere. I thought isn't smoking illegal in California. Then I saw someone light a cigarette. The crowd jeered, the guards escorted him out as everyone sang "Don't bogart that joint my friend pass it over to me". There must have been a lot of sick people that needed their medicine. Since some people forgot there persciption they has a doctor with a printing press next to the beer counter. Thank goodness for progress. Once the show started I forgot all about who these people were. We all had a common bond of memmories of the cafefree past, that will always bring a smile to our faces. I never did conclude who these Americans were. Next time I must bring Bub to point out the good the bad and the ugly so I know who to be friends with.

Audrey's picture

Can you give me the set list? Thanks

chris's picture

nice review bub...MK is one of those great guitarists that probably most of the folks in "our scene" have never seen and maybe never will...but I wish I had your experience, a rarity these days for sure...

But were you seriously surprised at the fancy cars and Colorado Republicans?

barney's picture

An old good friend, Sam Scheer, loved Dire Straits first album, and had high hopes MK would be the next Dylan. But when Making Movies came out, Sam would walk around Camp Mohawk in the Berkshires and sputter distaste for the ridiculous drop in the quality of the lyrics "Roller Blading.... cripes", etc.

I think it is fair to say MK is the guitarist who never really got the lyrics to match his playing. I know you can say that about some others, like Jeff Beck or Robin Trower too…and others. I'm sure just listening to him noodle into the night air was an auditory blast…

David Hylas's picture

I stand by my opinion-Money for nothing is a shitty tune-would have rather heard Lady Writer-great show though-may I add that there are plenty of commercial tunes I love-I'm not bitch'n about Sultans of Swing-Mark is a true master!!!!

Ray Hind's picture

I saw Dire Straits at Sheffield City Hall in 1978.They were awsome then.I love em all,even Mark.

Ray Hind's picture

I saw Dire Straits at Sheffield City Hall in 1978.They were awsome then.I love em all,even Mark.

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