Mark Knopfler, Resorts World Arena, Birmingham - review

“I was considering retiring but I think this is just going to keep going until I fall over,” Dire Straits legend Mark Knopfler told last night’s Resorts World Arena in Birmingham.

Mark Knopfler
Mark Knopfler

And why not? A packed venue showed there is still plenty of love for one of our most cherished rock guitar icons - the man behind the Brothers in Arms album, which surely everybody has had in their music collection at some point in life, whether it have been on record, cassette, CD or mp3.

Shortly after 8pm and with no support it was straight into the main event with Knopfler announced on stage by a fellow decked out in a union jack suit.

And as soon as that instantly recognisable guitar tone rung out it was just like greeting an old friend as the band launched into Why Aye Man.

Corned Beef City and Sailing to Philadelphia followed before a brass prelude later gave way to the unforgettable opening of Romeo and Juliet - a true classic nearly 40 years on from its release in 1981.

The highlight of the night for me was Your Latest Trick with a stunning saxophone performance from Graeme Blevins.

The entire band - many of them long-standing stage companions for Knopfler - are supremely talented and he was clearly happy to step aside for them to shine at different parts of the evening.

He also enjoyed reminiscing about his "lunatic" teenage years, such as trying to hitch hike back to Newcastle from Penzance on a snowy Christmas with his guitar and a bag as he shared his song about the experience called Matchstick Man.

But perhaps predictably the biggest cheer of the night came during the encore when Money for Nothing started up - the song that rocketed Dire Straits and Knopfler’s fame.

It was a real moment for many, although the night that had gone before showed that there is far more to Knopfler than just that and it's why he still loves playing his music for us and why we are happy to see him return.

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