A Moment in Time

I bought my first CD player back in the summer of 1992 while living in Toronto.  And then I did what everyone else did who was getting those new-fangled audio devices, I joined a CD Club.  BMG I think it was.

At some point during that membership, I bought Dire Straits’ ‘Money For Nothing’ CD.  All I knew about Dire Straits were the songs ‘Money For Nothing’ and ‘Sultans of Swing’.  I had no idea that ‘Money for Nothing’ was the song I’d like least on that album, and no idea that that album would change my life.  I didn’t know who Mark Knopfler was either.

I listened to that album a lot over the next few years.  I fell in love with the song ‘Telegraph Road’ because of the story it told.  I wrote my stories, and listened to the stories in that song, and on that album, and I truly appreciated the affect that a song or a story could have on someone.  I’m sure that that album had a lot to do with me writing my very first novel, and seeing it through to the end.

A few years ago I bought another Dire Straits CD – ‘On Every Street’. When I found out that Mark Knopfler, the lead singer, had gone out on his own, I started buying his CD’s.  I went through a phase where I wanted to learn how to play the guitar, and I listened to the way he played, and the way guys like Lindsey Buckingham played, and I though I knew I’d never play like that, I at least grew in my appreciation for the skill involved to not only write those story songs, but to play with such feeling, and such heart.

Last night, for the first time, I got to see Mark Knopfler Live on Stage at the Moore Theater in Seattle.  I paid an exorbitant sum for the best seat I could find – Row A Seat 5 on the left aisle.  I was a little disappointed in the the seat… I couldn’t see part of the band because a speaker blocked my view, and I had to sit a little sideways in my seat to see the whole stage.

But the performance did not disappoint.  It amazed.   I was 30 feet from Knopfler, and I could watch his fingers move on the strings like I had always imagined they would.  And the songs they played!  Oh the songs!  They started with ‘Border Reiver’, then ‘What it Is’, and covered a bunch of crowd favorites from some albums over the past few years.  But then he broke out some old stuff, and the crowd went nuts.  ‘Romeo and Juliet’ got the first standing ovation of the night.  There was an air of anticipation after that.  Woukd they playy any other oldies?  When the band started into ‘Sultans of Swing’, pure pandemonium.  I got the feeling that they don’t play those songs very often on tour anymore, but I could be wrong.  Who knew that was just the beginning?

First though, I’m a crowd watcher at these things, and I watch the band as well.  The crowd was in a state of euphoria like I have never seen before,  The people at the front are not those who are out for a casual concert.  These are devoted fans, who know their stuff.  And every one of them had a giant grin on their face.  Feet were tapping (I couldn’t stop mine for 2 hours).  Hands were clapping, people were singing along and just mesmerized by the talent on stage.  And not just Knopfler.  Everyone in the band was an amazing musician.  Some played 5 or 6 different instruments during the concert, some instruments I can’t even name.

He wrapped up the concert with ‘Telegraph Road’.  ‘Telegraph Road’ is eight minutes long on the album, and it was at least that on stage.  The crowd went insane.  The band took their bows, and the crowd demanded an encore.  We got 4 absolutely amazing songs.  ‘Brothers in Arms’, an instrumental, ‘My Shangri La’ and ‘Piper to the End’ to wrap it up.  There may have been a fifth, but I lost track.

I  never thought I would see ‘Sultans of Swing’ live.  I hoped for ‘Romeo and Juliet’, but seeing Knopfler play ‘Brothers in Arms’, and ‘Telegraph Road’, all in one night, is something that I think few fans ever get to see.  I am so glad I went, and I wish I could go again tonight.  But I’m not driving to Portland tonight, not on 4 hours of sleep.

Last night was one of those moments in time that I will remember for the rest of my life.  I might not remember ever song, but I will remember just how joyous it was, and what it was like to get sucked up in the excitement, and to put your hands in the air and clap and cheer for someone until your hands hurt and your voice was gone, because they have just put it all out there and you never dreamed your get that when you plunked down your money for a ticket.

The greatest thing was watching how much Knopfler still loves to play.  The guy in the seat next to me leaned over and said, “He’s not doing it for the money.” and I agreed.  There was heart in the music.  Knopfler would close his eyes and scrunch up his face when the guitar solos got difficult, and he put it all into it.  The man can play.

I bought a ticket to a concert.  I received a memory to last a lifetime.

12 Comments on “A Moment in Time

  1. Nice review, thanks and greetings from Finland! That´s the way Knopfler is, fantastic but still underrated.

  2. Thank you very much for this review! I'm one of the die hard fans that know every song he played and go to his shows every tour. I can't see him with your perspective. So it's really interesting to me what you wrote and to know the thoughts of a "regular" human about the concert.Greetings from Spain!

  3. Going to the show in Vancouver tonight- thanks so much for the great review, and stoking the engine even more for what will certainly be the concert of the year for hard core MK fans.From Van. Island

  4. From Chile, many greetings, that for you it was one night wonderful. Blessings.AttedP

  5. I would die to go at one of his concerts, but I'm not sure that I'm ever going to get that chance. Yep, that is Knopfler – and I hate to hear that he "died" after Dire Straits splited up.

  6. Glad you liked the show.A couple of points of clarification/education. You said you had the feeling that they don't play Sultans of Swing anymore. In fact, it's more like the opposite. Sultans has been on the set list of every full length show MK has done both as Dire Straits and solo.You then mentioned "hoped for ‘Romeo and Juliet’, but seeing Knopfler play ‘Brothers in Arms’, and ‘Telegraph Road’, all in one night, is something that I think few fans ever get to see." In fact, again, they all have been played at nearly every (if not all) show for at least the last 10-20 years.Once again, glad you liked the show. It's nice to see fans who have newly discovered MK.

  7. I concur – it was a fantastic concert. I was sitting a couple of rows back from you, same side. Yes, the speaker was annoying! But the concert was absolutely amazing 🙂 First time I've ever known him to do an encore after "Going Home".

  8. Thanks so much for your great account of Thursday's concert. I'll be going to the Eugene concert on Sunday, and after reading your post, I'm looking forward to it even more than I was before.Like you, I'm a writer, and I really appreciate the way Mark crafts his song lyrics, the way he paints a full portrait in so few words. And then, of course, there's his guitar work. The first time I ever heard Sultans of Swing, the lines 'it's strictly rhythm; he doesn't want to make it cry or sing' jumped out at me because it said so much about the writer/musician. His work is so very expressive.

  9. Hi Folks, glad you liked the review. Even if MK does perform those songs at every concert, I am still glad I got to see him do it once. It has got to be really difficult to try to find a mix of songs for new fans and old fans alike.Even a day later, I am still remembering little details of the show, and I wish I could go again soon.As far as video / pictures / audio go, I didn't take any. They requested you not do it at the start, and as a fellow artist, I respect their wishes. What's pretty funny is that I work in downtown Seattle, and for three days this week I saw tour buses parked in front of a hotel near where I work, and I kept wondering if those were Knopfler's busses, and yes, they were.

  10. Great review. I was at the Vancouver concert, about 10 rows back, and also had a wonderful night. The thing I loved about "Sultans" is that it was played "stripped down" to Lead G, Rhythm G, Bass & Drums, just like on the album. Many times, he has played it with the "full band", and while it sounds great, it was good to hear it "the way it was". I saw them in '83 in Valencia, on the tour when they recorded "Alchemy".

  11. I had the exact same experience of buying “Money for Nothing” from BMG and they sent me “On every Street” the only BMG pick of the month I ever bought. Yes as the “BMG pick of the month” the CD was overpriced, but turned out to be one of my all time favorites but not just for the most famous tracks…I enjoyed your comments about hearing your favorite songs. My kids were asking what songs he would play, I said I hoped for most of the latest release, but I knew some he would play for sure and listed the exact 4 songs mentioned here.

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