Just got back from both concerts so thought I would put up some thoughts. I see Ken has done an excellent review already so will try to add some extras.
Some general comments
- Mark's voice is sounding amazing and he is really getting out some good ranges. When I saw him last on the STP tour his voice was taking strain and more deeper than normal, but it’s the bests it’s ever been now. It also appears he is also very aware now of his vocal delivery and not to let the band be to overpowering in relation to the vocals.
- The formats and jokes were generally exactly as previous concerts with obviously the new songs thrown in.
- Merchandise seemed a bit lacking. There were only shirts and caps, no badges, cups or tour brochures so I don’t know if they will be added as the tour unfolds.
- The sound overall was excellent. First concert I was at the front, second at the back. The sound was stunning further back but you sacrifice on the visual side so it’s a toss up. On the first night Mark's vocals and guitar were a bit off on the opening track but the tech guys sorted it out quick. On the second night the vocals were a bit soft for BLT but I can’t think of any other problems. One must also remember its the start of the tour so they still working on the sound.
- 2nd night Mark talked a lot with the crowd as people kept shouting out for some arbitrary dire straits number he would say "Don’t worry we will play them all, every last one" It was also nice to hear him go into details how the trawlerman was inspired by him being in cape town on holiday. He also said he loves the wine here and had finished the whole lot he had shipped back, to which someone heckled "then buy some more"
- 2nd night was a slightly shorter concert. Back to Tupelo was added and a few of the first nights songs were removed. All the new songs sounded amazing and the arrangements were generally fresh and inspiring for the older ones. The crowd were very appreciative for Mark. Sultans was the best version I have ever heard: The stripped down 4 piece like the original band with band raging the tempo up towards the end. Awesome version. all guitars bass and rhythm, just like the original. Stunning.
In conclusion: By far the best MK concerts I have been lucky to go to. The crowd were warm and appreciative, MK sounds better than ever and the band purred like a Rolls Royce, tight controlled and dynamic. It’s thrilling to hear all the new songs live and Mark seems to be enjoying touring once again and appears physically in good shape. You guys are all in for a treat when you get to see him!
Why Aye Man
( long intro while Mark said he felt he was playing walking in music - in true south african style, people arrive at last minute from pub carrying huge amounts of beer )
Walk of life
( usual version - gets crowd going..some people on the left some people on the right....etc )
What it is
( stunning when he lets it rip on the outro solo , doesnt do it on studio version )
Sailing to Philadelphia
The Trawlerman’s Song
( one of my favourites from new album, nice heavy guitar sound, excellent harmony and vocal delivery, superb )
Romeo & Juliet
( crowd go wild )
Sultans of Swing
( as per above - standing encore, best version yet I have heard )
Done with Bonaparte ( Mark sits down )
( Mark Intros band as per last tour )
Back to Tupelo
( Stunning, deep and atmospheric as per album )
Song for Sonny Liston
( only Mark, Chad and Glen play, chugging rocker as per album )
Speedway at Nazareth
( My favourite from STP, excellent rendition, everyone going full blast and Chad going wild on outro )
Boom, Like That
( Interesting version, starts off just with MK on guitar picking out the song, then rest of band comes in after first verse, vocals a bit soft though in my opinion but rest top class )
( full band blaze away on autro - brings the house down )
Brothers in Arms
Money for Nothing
( Standard verions - very crisp delivery for MOFN, crowd go wild )
So Far Away
( And here we are again in Joburg town .... by this time everyone is standing and clapping )
The Mist Covered Mountains/Going Home
( Just MK and Guy playing, black backdrop with stars )