After one year of break the sultan is back, although this time to promote a special project, which has driven a dedicated setlist, mainly focused on the duet album and thus lacking the old classics. This evening's tracks:
1. Right Now: an unexpected opener. Right pace, well performed, although missing the orchestrality of previous classics Mark used to open concerts (Why aye man, Calling Elvis, Ride across the river, Once upon a time in the west). All in all a "smaller scale" opener, consistent with this particular setlist.
2. Red Staggerwing: a country rock that amused the crowd admiring Richard having fun with his steel guitar.
3. Michelangelo (EH): personally i do not know Emmylou's solo tracks, this is the one i preferred.
4. I Dug Up A Diamond: my favourite track of the last album, it really didn't let me down live! Really deep, given shivers, both Mark's warm singing and vibrant closing solo were marvellous.
5. Born To Run: this was the only song written neither by Mark, nor by Emmylou, but by a common friend of them whose name i do not remember.
6. Red Dirt Girl (EH)
7. Done With Bonaparte: I was surprised by how the crowd has grown fond of this song, clapping hands during the main refrain. Always nice to see the band introduction (we've learned that Guy plays also tennis!) and all the guys playing guitars together.
8. Romeo & Juliet: a very, very special execution in Romeo and Juliet's hometown. The only DS track of the first part.
9. Song For Sonny Liston: as the crowd was beating the feet on the ground waiting for sultans, Mark sat down and turned on the song for sonny. As I remember this is the very first tour where Mark does not play sultans. Very similar version to the SL tour.
10. Belle Starr: nice voice duets in this live version between the two stars.
11. This Is Us: to me this is the song that best earned in the live version. Really robust, rocking, closed with a really marvellous piano outro by Guy. Great version.
12. Boulder To Birmingham (EH)
13. All The Roadrunning: very good execution, this song transmits very deep feelings and was gorgeous live.
14. Speedway At Nazareth: this recent classic never disappoints. It is a milestone of the setlist, the powerful growing final solo exciting as ever, Emmylou also partecipated in shaking the centuries-old walls of the Arena di Verona.
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15. If This Is Goodbye: this very sweet track opened the second part and closed the section dedicated to the duet album. Perfect vocals.
16. So Far Away: It is touching how this song is earning in these years the deserved honors it was denied at the DS times. What an impact it always has on the crowd. And I love it more every single time I hear it live.
17. Our Shangri-La: the gift of the evening. How many people complained cause this song was not performed during its tour? Here it is, in deluxe version thanks to Emmylou contribution. Looks like she also improved Mark's voice performance.
18. Why Worry: the unexpected closer! A very unusual version of a song that, as far as i remember, has not been played for years and years. Performed on a different tune than the original version, featured Emmylou as first voice and Mark singing the second one. A pinch of nostalgia for old time fans in this last track.
Summarizing, the quality level of the performance was excellent as usual. Emmylou's voice was astonishing and even Mark did very well. The setlist might have disappointed some people, but i think it makes sense to dedicate this tour to songs that Mark will not be likely to play alone any more in the future. There will be other times for Sultans, Telegraph, Money and all the other classics, for this night I really enjoyed these ones.