Mark Knopfler Plays St Augustine

Mark Knopfler Plays St Augustine 2015 (43)

Mark Knopfler hits the guitar at the St Augustine Amphitheatre.  photo 2015

The Sultan of Swing

A headliner act played the St Augustine Amphitheatre on Tuesday night when guitar extraordinaire, Mark Knopfler took the stage. The only act of the evening, Knopfler and his band of seven musicians did not disappoint. Playing to the sold out crowd, for close to two hours, Knopfler and his band tore it up with a mixture of original songs from his latest album “Tracker” as well as a few “throw back” Dire Straits tunes.

The talent of Knopfler is immense and it seems to just get better as he crosses into the “senior” period of life. At 66 years young, Knopfler played like a man with the years of experience he has amassed. The guitar was a true extension of his body, and his fingers picked those strings like an unparalleled, master craftsman.

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The band in all its glory. photo 2015

Knopfler’s band includes: Guy Fletcher (keyboards), Richard Bennett (guitar, ukulele), Glenn Worf (bass), Jim Cox (piano, organ, accordion), Ian Thomas (drums), John McCusker (violin, cittern), Michael McGoldrick (whistles, uilleann pipes) and Nigel Hitchcock (saxophone ). A talented group of musicians in their own right, Knopfler did not hesitate to share the stage to let his band-mates shine.

The Scottish heritage of Knofler’s music can be heard in almost every song. He has the ability to create a whole story with a few spare lines. During “Hall Farmer Blues” Knopfler was honestly singing his story while wearing his faith on his sleeve. His guitar solo took the audience to another dimension… just as intended. You could feel the God given talent flowing through him as he shared it with the crowd. The soft whisper of his voice kept the tone of the evening smooth and mellow and his announcement of “Thank You for giving us a nice time,” was one of the few personal interactions Knopfler had with the audience.

The lighting team was “spot on” as musician Nigel Hitchcock took to the front of the stage with the whale of his saxophone. Playing the familiar riff from “Your Latest Trick,” Hitchcock brought the crowd to their feet while an enthusiast fan, in the front of the stage, danced throughout the entire evening, never missing a beat. The audience behind her felt in harmony as she sincerely let the rest of the world disappear.

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Knopfler jamming in front of the audience. photo 2015

The flute solo (keyhole player) in “Postcards from Paraguay” really showed the diversity of Knopfler’s band. From the tight squeeze of the pipes on “Privateering” to the up and down strumming & bowing of the ukulele and violin on Marbletown” the audience listened to the Scottish stories of this “Sultan of Swing” as he let his guitar cry throughout the evening.

Knopfler has been jamming in front of audiences since his days with Dire Straits, over forty years ago. This incredible musician /story teller takes it to the level of legend status. It is a pure joy to listen to the rhythm of time in the music of Knopfler. Knopfler put on a show at the St Augustine Amphitheatre Tuesday not soon forgotten. Knopfler’s music is timeless. It was written to live forever in our hearts and enlighten generations to come.