RELAXED but still committed, at 69 Mark Knopfler dismisses any thoughts of retirement. As a multi-platinum selling act in the 70s and 80s, he can afford to tour with a band of 10, reputedly sharing mastery of 48 instruments between them, ranging from the bouzouki to the uilleann pipes. The pace was unhurried at the Hydro as he meandered amiably through his back catalogue, dipping into his latest, wandering troubadour album, Down The Road Wherever, dusting off a few Dire Straits classics, and generally ranging over his impressive body of work with a degree of nostalgia, occasional whimsy but the tight, dedicated craft of a man still in love with music
An Evening with Mark Knopfler and Band, Hydro, Glasgow ****
The cinematic Americana of new cuts like My Bacon Roll sat nicely alongside older, folkier travelling tales of migrants like Why Aye Man, and the hitch-hiking odyssey of his youth, Matchstick Man, reflected a journeyman dedicated to touring for the foreseeable future. Postcards from Paraguay added a little Latin flavour, with Knopfler’s murmuring vocal eclipsed by the dizzying speed of his fretwork, the well-drilled but loose band enveloping him as an ensemble, the horn section to the fore. Prior to that, the dryly shuffling Once Upon a Time in the West, with its bluesy underpinning, and the defiantly heartfelt ballad Romeo and Juliet whetted the appetite for more Dire Straits material. The juggernaut encore of Money For Nothing sated it, that joyously swaggering riff reverberating around the arena. Closing, it was sentimental but apposite that the Glasgow-born guitarist ended with Going Home, his evergreen theme from Local Hero.