Five thoughts: Mark Knopfler (September 16, the Colosseum)

Mark Knopfler plays the Colosseum on September 16, 2015.
Photo: L.E. Baskow
Jason Harris

1. Mark Knopfler has done so much in his musical career, it's easy to forget just how much. Wednesday night’s Caesars Palace show served as a good representation of his underrated solo catalog, and he sprinkled in some chestnuts from the Dire Straits years.

2. Culling from rock, country, roots and Celtic music, Knopfler and the seven members of his band put on mighty performance. The title track from 2012 album Privateering was an early showstopper, with a powerful motor not heard on the recorded version. "Laughs and Jokes and Drinks and Smokes," meanwhile, felt like the love child of a traditional Irish pub song and Dave Brubeck's jazz classic, "Take Five.”

3. The layered songs were excellent spotlights for the talented band, as each member got moments to shine within the context of the music, without seeming showoff-y. You found yourself looking all over the stage wondering where each new sound came from and who was making it. I couldn't tell you how many instruments were played during the night, but I wouldn't be surprised if the count was over 30.

4. Among Dire Straits cuts, "Romeo and Juliet" was beautiful. The lyric goes, "And I can't do a love song like the way it's meant to be," but Knopfler did, by way of his talk-sing style and the tune’s measured pace. "Sultans of Swing" saw the band dwindle to four members and was one of the many showcase moments for Knopfler’s calculating and crushing guitar skills. "Telegraph Road" ebbed and flowed, a worthy main-set crescendo. "So Far Away" is a sing-along hit that holds up three decades years later.

5. As the crowd filed out, it felt like Knopfler had turned some heads. It wasn't that folks didn't know he was good, but because he's the complete opposite of flashy, maybe they didn't realize that he and his band are that good. There’s a quiet assuredness that goes along with his work, one that had the crowd erupting with loud applause time and again. Anything Knopfler wants to do, he’s more than capable of doing.


“Broken Bones”

“Corned Beef City”


“Father and Son”

“Hill Farmer's Blues”


“Laughs and Jokes and Drinks and Smokes”

“Romeo and Juliet”

“Sultans of Swing”

“Mighty Man”

“Postcards From Paraguay”


“Speedway to Nazareth”

“Telegraph Road”


“So Far Away”

“Piper to the End”

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