Mark Knopfler’s ONLY Ontario show, sells out Toronto’s Sony Centre!

The British singer, songwriter, guitarist Mark Knopfler is also regarded as a record producer & award-winning film score composer with not just 1 specific and splendorous sound, as he has made entry into various genres and styles with bluesy folk, rock, country and Celtic flavors. Mark founded Dire Straits in 1977 with his younger brother David, along with John Illsley & Pick Withers which had a memorable run of 18 years ending in 1995 where he launched his current solo career from 1996 forward, giving this musical veteran a whopping 42 years in the biz and going strong with no signs of slowing down. At the ripe young age of 70, he is in such phenomenal shape, still out touring the globe as an internationally and critically acclaimed act who is 1 of the most commercially successful artists of all time. This Living Legend and Rock n Roll Hall of Famer is 1 of the highest awarded performers to date who is a 3 time Doctor of Music recipient from Newcastle, Leeds and Sunderland Universities, a 3-time BRIT awarded artist who has received an ARPS Sound Fellow and PRS Music Heritage award and is an honored Music Producing Guild recipient alongside being a 4 time Grammy, a Steiger, Edison, and OBE award winner that has sold well over 120 million albums globally during his in-depth career with Dire Straits, movie soundtracks and solo projects. He is accredited as 1 of the Greatest Guitarists of all time, who has 20 albums between Dire Straits and solo studio albums penned plus dozens of soundtracks under his belt. Brothers In Arms – Dire Straits 1985 album, was a 1st million-selling CD and get this, Mark even has a new brand of Dinosaur named after him ‘Mosia Kasaurus Kropfleri.’ and did you know that Mark also wrote Private Dancer for the superstar Tina Turner? wow, now that is an impressive resume thus far, as he isn’t anywhere near done yet Mark Knopfler‘s 2019 North American tour kicked off its 28-date schedule August 16th in Mashantucket, Connecticut which came to a close on September 22nd in Los Angeles, California. Presenting only 3 Canadian dates with his ONLY Ontario stop being in Toronto at the SOLD OUT Sony Centre, 3,100 screaming fans were thrilled he brought his show to Toronto which quickly sold-out, they welcomed him loudly and proudly, goosebump material.

This tour promoted Knopfler’s ninth solo LP (his first in three years), Down the Road Wherever, which is a stellar breath of fresh air, and his showcase displayed 10 extremely talented musicians who combined, perfected and performed over 49 instruments featuring multi instrumentalist and keyboardist/music director/producer/engineer Guy Fletcher (Dire Straits, Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, Roxy Music+), guitarist/record producer Richard Bennett (Ringo Starr, Sammy Davis Jr.+), with the multi-award-winning Mike McGoldrick (Zack Brown Band+) who is a multi-instrumentalist on uilleann pipes (national bagpipe of Ireland), whistles and 1 of the greatest flute players in the world, adding in some color on fiddle was cittern player and award-winning producer John McCusker (Proclaimers). Mix in 1 of the world’s best bass players Glenn Worf (Ray Charles, Buddy Guy, Tammy Wynette, Bob Seger, Merle Haggard+) who is also a Grammy awarded producer for the likes of Miranda Lambert, and Willie Nelson to name just a few) while blending in percussionist Danny Cummings and drummer/washboardist Ian Thomas (Seal+) while introducing a new member on saxophone Graeme Blevins (Phil Collins, Quincy and Tom Jones, and Taylor Swift+), and the youngest and newest member joining in on trumpet, Mr. Tom Walsh (Philharmonic Orchestra, Guildhall School of Music and Trinty College who is a Music Professor, Quincy Jones+). Add them all in with pianist/producer/arranger Jim Cox (worked with Elton John, Barbara Streisand, Aerosmith, Pink, Ray Charles, Adam Sandler, Leonard Cohen, and Emmylou Harris to name but only a few), the results are stellar. This eclectic and genuine band of master muscians mesmorized and hypnotised a stroll down musical Hall of Fame lane.

“My songs are made to be performed live, I love the whole process of writing the songs alone and recording them with the band, ultimately, the best part is playing them to a live audience, the whole circus of traveling town to town and interacting with this group of players, has been a total pleasure,

For me, MK’s showcase was like stepping into a time machine or i was stuck in a time warp, as they dove deep into his quiver and pulled out arrows like Telegraph Road which brought his legions of fans to their feet with much pleasure, dancing anywhere and everywhere and the applause was deafening. Their perpetual energy was infectious, you couldn’t tell he was 70, this storytelling icon even got some intimate moments with the audience as he told us how he came to write his songs.

Their majestic yet magnetic versatility was so captivating as Mark strolled us through his musically textured catalog of superfluous pieces filled with complexity and tranquility, which definitely solidifies why his iconic stature is so successful to this very day regarding his longevity in this biz. Nostalgically covering 80% of his most recognizable hits, rolling them out into the audience kicking it off from the 2002’s Rag Pickers Dream album with Wye Aye Man right into Cornbeef City from the 2012’s CD Privateering. Followed up with Sailing to Philadelphia from his 2005 album Private Investigations which was his 1st time performing this piece since 2012, leading into Once Upon a Time in the West from his 2nd album from 1979’s Communique which was last performed live in 1983. Revving right into 1980’s Romeo and Juliet from Dire Straits album, next, he featured 2 brand new pieces My Bacon Roll and Matchstick Man, leading into Done with Bonaparte from his 1996 Golden Heart album into Heart Full of Holes from 2007’s Kill to Get Crimson album, then, 1998’s She’s Gone from Metroland rocked the house. Your Latest Trick from Dire Straits 1985 Brothers In Arms led straight into Postcards from Paraquay from 2004’s Shangri-la. A slight right turn On Every Street from Dire Straits 6th and final album back in 1991, led us to one of my favorites from the 2000 album Sailing to Philidelphia and he nailed the last song Speedway at Nazareth which brought on a standing ovation as they left the stage for what was only to be an encore. The fans chanting and screeching yelling encore brought them out with Money For Nothing from their highly acclaimed 1985 masterpiece album Brothers In Arms. Venturing off stage again only to be cheered back on for a 2nd round with a 2 song follow up encore engaging us with self titled song/album Brothers in Arms and lastly and most fitting title to close this 2.5 hour show with was Knopfler’s 1st debuted soundtrack of Going Home from 1983’s Theme of The Local Hero. The thunderous applause and standing ovation continued as a crazy fan jumped on stage to hug Mark, he was caught off guard and she was captured and removed.

Mark Knopfler is as mind-melting now as he was in the ’80s but this stellar performance featured a less active baritone-voiced note-perfect guitar genius, however, he surely enhanced the luscious guitar and vocal melodies that seeped deep into your brain. To fully experience Mark Knopfler’s truest essence live, it’s like trying to capture an infinite measure, both a creative workbook and an authoritative musical reference. This unforgettable night was profoundly moving and was a pertinent experience.  Their perfected measurements of rhythm and supportive harmony, still play a crucial role in defining Mark Knopfler’s unique story telling.

Knopfler’s new songs glowed with qualities and flavors that satisfied the hunger of his legions of fans present, truly instant/soon-to-be classic hits. Down the Road Wherever, is undeniably 1 of the most intriguing works of instrumental genius, Knopfler’s most compelling expression to date and 1 of my favorite concerts ever!

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I combined my November Seeing Shows on the Road with Deb Draper column piece found inside the monthly printed Wire Megazine, on page 13. I wrote about the amazing artist Mark Knopfler and my musical idol, Howard Jones. These 2 have more in common than many would realize. AGE: Howard Jones turns 65 on Feb. 23rd, 2020 while Mark Knopfler just turned 70 on Aug. 12th, 2019. BIRTH: Both are from the UK; Mark resides now in Newcastle, England but, was born in Glasgow Scotland. While Howard was born in Southampton England yet resides in Somerset England. LIVE AID: Both performed on July 13th in 1985 on Live Aid organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine, and that they did, as this event raised $127 million dollars for famine-stricken Africans.