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Mark Knopfler
Live concerts by international musicians have become the norm in India. Alanis Morissette and Darius performed at the last MTV Immies. Sting rocked Delhi and Bangalore in February. March was Mark Knopfler’s turn.

On the evening of March 4th, the Taj Land’s End hotel at Bandra in Mumbai wore a different look. The red carpet was laid down and people wearing identical masks were in a queue. At 8 pm a silver-haired 55-year-old gentleman dressed in faded jeans and a blue sports jacket stepped out of a Mercedes Limousine and treaded the red carpet. This new guest was none other than Mark Knopfler - one of the best guitarists of our times. The masks were clones of Mark’s face. He was received in a traditional Indian style - garlanded, a tika was put on his forehead and little girls in diyas and traditional attire performed the aarati. Flattered yet unfazed by the grand reception, the former Dire Straits guitarist, singer and songwriter said, “Thank you very much for a beautiful welcome. I’m determined to come back with my family and tour India properly.” On asking whether just the Taj Mahal, food and women had attracted him to India, Mark replied, “I am a pretty ordinary guy, so in terms of something different I really don’t know. I like the kind of things most men like. What strikes me about India is it’s intelligence.”

MARK’S ARRIVAL:

Sponsored by DNA Networks Mark came all the way to India to perform. Popularly known as ‘the quiet man of rock and roll’, Mark has perhaps been nicknamed so because of his humility despite having a mega celebrity status. His answers in the press conference were to the point, modest and pepped up with a humorous punch. Mark said, “I do everything very slowly. It takes a long time to finish a sentence usually. I’m a pretty slow learner. I think of myself as a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. A proper guitar teacher would consider me as a nightmarish student.”

When asked if he listened to Indian music he candidly answered, “I have listened to Indian music but not regularly.” Did that include Indian classical music? “I don’t listen to anything orthodox. The hotel has put some music in my room. I intend to hear it.” Mark explained how his guitar was the paintbrush in composing music. “The guitar for me is what I use to write songs with. I would think that song writing is not the same as writing poetry, poem or novels.” When asked why his songs have become shorter, Mark quipped, “Well, I hope I’ve got less to say.” Mark however was reluctant to reveal specific instances or name people who had inspired his songs. “A song is not necessarily about anyone in particular. Sometimes saying what a song is about, spoils it for people. I want you to have your own picture.” Star cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and Mark Knopfler exchanged a Frend Stratocaster and a cricket bat as gifts on the same night.

LIVE CONCERT AT MUMBAI:

On 5th evening - a motley crowd of 17,000 Mark Knopfler fans of all generations assembled at MMRDA grounds in the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai to see the live concert. Knowing well that this was an opportunity of a lifetime, die-hard fans of Mark had come from various cities of India to see this legendary musician perform. There were many foreigners and little children in the crowd too. Mrs. Bulba Banerjee who had brought her 12-year-old son along to the concert said, “This is the very first live concert for me and my son. I brought him along as I want him to start appreciating good music from an early age and the Knopfler concert is in my opinion an ideal introduction to rock. I think the whole event was very well arranged. Nokia and Orange were very innovative with their advertisements with regards to this event. The Knopfler lyric booklets, which were distributed helped us to appreciate the concert better.”

Mark had brought 36 guitars along with him including the Fender Stratocaster, Gretsch and a National Steel Guitar. He opened the concert with Why Aye Man, a solo from his album The Ragpicker’s Dreams. Guy Fletcher was on the piano, Glenn Worf on the electric and upright basses, Chad Cromwell was with the drums, Richard Bennet was on the guitar and Matt Rollings played the piano, organ and accordion in turns. Mark went on to perform solo numbers from his albums Sailing to Philadelphia, Shangri-La and Golden Heart. Sultans Of Swing, Boom Like That and Romeo And Juliet received the greatest applause of the night.


You can read the rest of our feature on Mark Knopfler in the March 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.
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Ciara
Los Lonely Boys
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Kelly Clarkson
Elvis Presley
Judas Priest
Bombay Rockers
VJ Archana
Super Singer
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