Back in the UK for our final term of examinations, I got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see one of my guitar idols in his hometown. While everyone back at Grey spent the night studying, I took a night off in Newcastle and caught Mark's show at the Metro Radio Arena. It was definitely worth skipping out on International Relations studying. The venue was questionable - think Rose Bowl leg room cut down by a good 15%.
He opened with "Border Reiver", probably the best song on his new album. It was great hearing the pipes, tin whistle, etc. from his folk influence while in the UK. It made me feel like I was really experiencing some British musical tradition.
The guitar solos, of course, were spectacular. Some of the other highlights were "Telegraph Road", "Sultans of Swing", and "So Far Away". My dad and I are still waiting to hear him play "Money for Nothing" live. He clipped a video camera on the headstock of his guitar which was projected behind the band - man, can his fingers fly. It's all in his right-hand technique. He can play lead and rhythm at the same time. Pretty incredible stuff.
It was interesting that even in his hometown, the crowd never left their seats. Not even for the best parts of the show. I guess it's a British thing - always somewhat reserved (unless drunk).