MARK KNOPFLER, O2 Arena – Evening Standard, 29 May 2019

Now 69, Mark Knopfler raised the possibility of his retirement at this show. The former Dire Straits frontman won’t have time for golf or gardening soon, however. This tour runs til September and has already involved two Albert Hall concerts. Next summer Local Hero, a musical based on the 1983 film for which he has written numerous new songs, arrives at the Old Vic.

  He isn’t in it for the accolades – he didn’t show up when Dire Straits gained entry to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year. But he’s clearly deeply in love with his current 10-piece band, unstinting in his praise as he introduced them individually. He claimed that they can play 48 instruments between them while he knows just the one. Everything from bouzouki to uilleann pipes made an appearance, with Knopfler’s characteristically pure guitar notes ringing out has he traded solos with saxophonist Graeme Blevins and pianist Jim Cox.

  Intricate songs such as Done With Bonaparte and Speedway at Nazareth were absorbing – transatlantic roots music that mixed Geordie and Georgia.

  The sedate crowd would stand for nothing but Money for Nothing. Even the star was often seated, but he never sounded ready for pasture.

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