You know you are on the fast train to Nerdsville on a one-way ticket when you start thinking, “Hmmm…I wonder what the best Mark Knopfler tour was?” I fully confess that such thoughts occupy my mind from time to time. So I thought I would open it out and see if you or anyone else on this forum has had the same or similar thoughts, or whether I am truly alone. When I say, “tour,” of course I mean “concert” since I know that most people will have only been to one or two concerts on any given tour. But you, Guy, being in the band and all, will have been present at most of them, at least physically, so you might have a favourite “tour” or not.
For myself, I will state categorically that my favourite tour, having thought about it, was the Golden Heart tour. I was present at the first show at the RAH, and I’ve heard a number of others via broadcasts and so forth – the Bristol Colston Hall gig springs to mind. Here’s why I think it was so great: first off, there was the use of many of his soundtrack pieces as links or intros to other songs, like ‘Father & Son’ prefacing ‘Golden Heart,’ ‘Last Exit to Brooklyn’ before ‘Romeo & Juliet,’ etc. I really miss that. Then there was the sheer variety of stuff played, and again the soundtrack pieces were, er, instrumental in making that happen. Not only that, but I seem to remember that songs like ‘Water of Love’ were played. It was also the first time we had seen Mark and the band really change things up when it came to instrumentation; Dire Straits would never have played a track such as ‘Done With Bonaparte,’ would they? That was very exciting for a nerd like myself. I loved the link between ‘Je Suis Désolé’ and ‘Calling Elvis.’ Fabulous stuff. The second disc on the ‘Sultans of Swing’ album has an excerpt of the night after the gig I attended, but it’s still a fabulous reminder of that particular tour. It was a long show as I recall – over 2 and a half hours.
Being the first solo tour, there did seem to be some degree of excitement at the freedom that the removal of the Dire Straits shackles provided. You just could never reproduce that. Not that subsequent tours were bad, of course they weren’t, but it was the first time we had seen the great things that this new band could do. The only downer was that it marked the beginning of what I like to call the ‘Telegraph Road’ years, meaning that stuff like ‘Tunnel of Love’ were put to bed forever. Maybe on a subsequent tour, in my dreams, you would dig out an obscure favourite as you did with ‘Water of Love’ in 1996, or perhaps ‘The Man’s Too Strong’ as I think I suggested in an earlier post (or maybe I dreamt that – I can’t remember) – you know, something that would knock the audience sideways.
Anyway, back I go to my rambling worst, and now it’s time for me to go back into the padded cell where I can happily talk to the walls about the Illuminati. There’s a plot, you know. Don’t drink Tetley’s – they’re bugged!
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