Mark Knopfler, live at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, July 2.
There I sat, getting dumped on sans ballcap near the stage at the winery in Woodinville, having just weathered word of the Sonics' imminent departure and Chateau Ste. Michelle's inane will call system, where a runner must fetch every ticket from some secret vault a football field away from the entrance. I needed consolation. I needed wisdom. I needed my Dad.
Instead, I got Mark Knopfler, which turned out to be what I needed and more.
Let me start with my lone regret about the former Dire Straits' frontman's exceptional set list: he didn't play "Tunnel of Love," which, as I've said before, usually brings me to tears, or close to it. But the fact that he played "Telegraph Road" and "Brothers In Arms" almost made up for that oversight, and "So Far Away" during the long encore got me over the hump ("Romeo & Juliet" and "Sultans of Swing' were other highlights, but of course they were; of his solo material, "Saling to Philadelphia" and "Shangri-La" really shone).
Knopfler is prone to long, slow-burn finger-picking jams, and he'll drop them into songs of any tempo. When they occur during ballads -- Knopfler's ballads are more lullabies than showy weepers -- these improvised solos have a hypnotic effect. When they occur during more upbeat ditties, they're similarly hypnotic -- the only real difference between the two is whether or not the crowd is standing upright. Herein, Knopfler puts his fans on the string of a very plesant emotional yo-yo.
But last night, Knopfler's most important attribute may have been the patriarchal trust he exudes. Dressed schlubbily in a flannel shirt and jeans with those hound dog eyes and slack jaw, he made me want to curl up in his lap after the show and have him read me long children's stories about castles and frogs. Last night, Seattle needed coddling -- Seattle needed Dad -- and the winery in Woodinville was one big, cozy den. Thanks, Pop.