Monday, May 31, 2010

VIP government visitor at ALB

The Master Cyclist sent me over this picture he took outside Albany International Airport. It looks like some sort of CRJ or ERJ with an Air Force One-type color scheme. I presume that this plane was used to transport a high-level government official - most likely Peter Orszag, who spoke at RPI's graduation.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

MK rocks the Palace

Diane and I had the great fortune of catching the legendary Mark Knopfler at the Palace on Sunday, May 9th. For those of you who don't know who this living god is, first of all, shame on you and I don't even know you anymore. He was the lead singer and co-founder of Dire Straits, which rocked the world a generation before I was ready to appreciate music.
Since the end of the Dire Straits days sometime in the 1990's, Mark Knopfler has been fairly steadily putting out solo albums. To be honest, the pieces he played from his solo albums were as impressive and enjoyable as the Dire Straits classics he played.

Here is the setlist:

Bordre Reiver
What It Is
Sailing to Philadelphia
Prairie Wedding
Hill Farmer's Blues
Romeo and Juliet
Sultans of Swing
Donegan's Gone
Get Lucky
Marbletown (band introduction)
Telegraph Road (part I & part II)

Brothers in Arms
So Far Away
Piper to the End

I could not believe we were treated to Sultans of Swings AND Telegraph Road, which to me is the Mark Knopfler anthem. I have never been as familiar with most of his solo material. Don't get me wrong - I have all the albums, it's just harder to recognize the songs. But, I have to admit that even among that incredibly generous Dire Straits serving in the setlist, in my opinion, the band was at their best on Speedway at Nazareth. If you know these songs at all, that alone tells you how impressive that rendition was. It's hard to imagine Speedway at Nazareth upstaging Telegraph Road. Seriously, watch the link above.

This was my second time watching MK live. The first was on the eve of junior prom in high school. My stepdad had gotten me tickets for Christmas or a birthday or something and we went to watch the Sailing to Philadelphia tour at Red Rocks in Denver. Even after all those years, MK was still filthy on the guitar. And I am not just saying that out of blind infatuation - the TU reviewer agreed.

Technically speaking, I have never seen DS, but it turns out that MK is touring with Danny Cummings on the drums (who was an old DS percussionist) and Guy Fletcher on piano/accoustic guitar/electric guitar/percussion...vocals...everything (who was a DS ... everything). Essentially, it could be argued that we were a John Illsley short of an actual DS reunion.
One of the first things Diane and I noticed when we were walking to the Palace was that we were about 30 years younger than everybody else in the building. In fact, when we were walking out, there was a couple behind us discussing this same phenomenon and the wife said, "Where are all the young people? There aren't any young people here." We summarily turned around and remarked that we consider ourselves fairly young and a good laugh was had by all.

So now, of course, I am on an MK and DS stretch where that's all I can listen to. This morning I added Telegraph Road to my Ipod before my run. The great thing about that is that the song is 14 minutes long, so by the time I had finished listening to it, my run was halfway done. Thanks for that MK.