Friday, July 01, 2005

Mark Knopfler...

is probably my favorite all-time guitarist. He doesn't use a pick, ever. That's how I like to play. His guitar playing is just about the most distinctive you can ask for. And two of his songs from the Dire Straits days instantly trigger memories for me:

Sultans of Swing (1978): I first heard this song on the radio while sitting in the backseat of my family's car as we drove to my cousin Lori's house in Wichita to celebrate our first holy communions, which took place on the same day in the summer of 1978. Which then triggers a memory of the scratchy shirt and clip-on tie I had to wear to church that day.

Money for Nothing (1985): I heard this song on the car radio while my buddies Neil and Joe and I drove in Joe's gold special edition Pontiac Trans Am on Douglas Ave. in Urbandale, Iowa after another rousing round of Disc Golf at North Karen Acres park.

So tonight Helen and I went to see ol' Mark at the Bank of America Pavilion, an outdoor stage on a pier in Boston Harbor. I use the term ol' Mark advisedly. At last sighting, in 1985, the guy was wearing a red headband and a sleeveless work shirt on the "Money for Nothing" video. Now he is a dead ringer for Larry David. Although Helen thought he looked more like a thinner Dick Cheney.

The show was great, a lot of fun. He played a lot of new stuff that I didn't know, but that was okay because his guitar playing and singing sounded as good as ever. Old chestnuts included "Walk of Life," "Romeo and Juliet," "Sultans of Swing," "Brothers in Arms," "Money for Nothing," and "So Far Away."

So: the music was great. Now for the crowd.

You know how on the ticket it will often say, "No Cameras, No Recorders, No Beverages?" Well, I would propose a new prohibition: No Men With Enlarged Prostate Glands. How else to explain the inability of the males in our row to remain in their seats for longer than 15 minutes at a time? We must have had to stand up at least 25 times so that some dude in our row could get out to go to the can or buy another thimbleful of wine or whatever else they absolutely had to do during the actual "rock concert" period. Did someone else pay for these guys' tickets, so no big deal to miss a couple of songs? Maybe the B of A Pavilion could cordon off a separate "Frequent Urinators" section so that these guys could sit there and wouldn't have to bother anyone.
Overall, the crowd skewed toward the baby boom generation, with a strong showing from the guys in Dockers who look like they spent the day at the office screwing widows and orphans out of their modest inheritances.

UPDATE: Photos now at

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