Personnel: Mark Knopfler (vocals, guitar); Mark Knopfler; Doug Pettibone (electric guitar, mandolin); Glenn Worf (bass guitar); Richard Bennett (guitar); Jim Cox, Matt Rollings (keyboards); Chad Cromwell (drums).
Audio Mixer: Chuck Ainlay.
Recording information: Shangri-la Studios, Malibu, CA.
As guitar gods go, Mark Knopfler is a guy whose mellow music-making approach is at odds with the over-the-top images generally associated with the aforementioned tag. That notwithstanding, Knopfler demonstrates on LIVE FROM SHANGRI-LA that his kind of subtle instrumental skill and deft wielding of musical textures make any kind of six-string histrionics moot. Drawing the bulk of material from this set's 2004 studio predecessor SHANGRI-LA means there's a rich trove of storytelling fare for Knopfler and his compatriots to trot out. "Boom, Like That," a nod to Ray Kroc sung in the McDonald's founder's voice, benefits from a snappy reading while "Donegan's Gone," Knopfler's homage to his skiffle idol, has a twangy charm that points at the influence of Chet Atkins as much as it does of Donegan. And like Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon, the Scottish string-bender has his own song about a boxer in the shape of the fuzz-guitar blues of "Song for Sonny Liston." The only deviation from the all-SHANGRI-LA track list is "Rudiger," a song from Knopfler's first solo album with a moody nuance and understated guitar playing that hearkens back to the Dire Straits founder's LOVE OVER GOLD days.