Todd / Morris
Thought I posted yesterday, but a day later it's still not up... I'll try again.
There are not enough positive adjectives to describe Saturday night's show at the Mann. I went to the show with my 11-year old son who was seeing his first concert, and my friend Scott who was a semi-closet Dire Straits fan who'd never heard a lick of Mark's solo work. Scott didn't know what a treat he was in for, and was completely bowled over after about 20 minutes of bliss.
I'd seen the last MK show at the Mann for the Shangri-la tour which was fantastic, but I must commend Mark's sound crew for this edition. What an utterly amazing and stunning production. I told Scott that Mark's known for three things: wonderful guitar work, fantastic talent backing him up, and particular attention to sound engineering. All of that was on display on Saturday night.
Set list was the same as that reported in earlier shows - middle part of the show was Marbletown and Song for Sonny Liston. We did get all four of the encore songs: Brothers in Arms, Our Shangri La, So far away, and Coming Home.
What stuck out particularly for me was Mark's rearrangements of tunes. Marbletown is the perfect example. The album version is simply the man and his acoustic guitar. How then, I ask you, does he find all the material in that tune to develop intricate parts for a 6-man band? The live article was a masterpiece, especially the three-man ensemble break in the middle of the piece. It's stunning that that soft jam could have been executed so well and presented so well to a very receptive audience.
I continue to be a bit miffed that Mark's only playing two of his new songs. However, I love the fact that he's revisiting Ragpicker's Dream. Just when you think you'd never hear a song like Marbletown, he throws it out at you with a complete rearrangement. Here's hoping we hear "Heart Full of Holes" on the next tour.
Audience was fantastic, I was so proud to help receive Mark and his band. I don't know how long Mark will continue to tour, so every night is a gift from heaven. In his blog, Isaac gushed about the audience rising to their feet with about a minute left in Telegraph Road. You couldn't help but get up - the whole show was that amazing. A great show for my son's first, and my friend Scott was running over with compliments. Called three people on our way to the car telling them "you've gotta see this guy.."
Another thing. Mark is so gracious in sharing the limelight with his band. I think it was the end of Hill Farmer's Blues that brought this to light for me. Mark let Richard finish up that song beautifully, and didn't seem to feel he needed to add anything to Richard's performance. You can certainly see why most of the band has been with him now for 12 years with no certain contract.
Lastly, I'd make it mandatory for every prospective sound engineer to attend one of Mark's shows. My ears weren't ringing at the end, but the sound was still powerful when it needed to be, and more importantly, the softer portions of the songs were as quiet as they needed to be to show the juxtaposition. It left you breathless.