About one week into Bob Dylan's ongoing European tour, opening act Mark Knopfler quietly joined the group onstage for "Behind Here Lies Nothin'." Back in the 1980s and 1990s opening acts and surprise guests frequently sat in with Dylan, but in recent years it's become an extreme rarity. Knopfler remained backstage at the next few shows, but over the past week he's been sitting in for longer and longer periods of time.
The former Dire Straits frontman played on the first four songs on October 23rd in Oberhausen, Germany –including "Blind Willie McTell." That's the song that Dylan crazily cut from his 1983 LP Infidels, which was produced by Knopfler.
(Mark was probably thinking something like, "Oh, now you like this song? 'Foot of Pride' and 'Someone's Got A Hold On My Heart' were also great, but you cut them off the album in favor of 'Union Sundown,' 'Neighborhood Bully' and other sub-par works. I notice neither of those songs are in the setlist tonight. Infidels could have been a masterpiece, but you botched it you stubborn, stubborn little man.")
Knopfler sat in on five songs yesterday in Mannheim, Germany. Maybe by the time the tour wraps on November 21st in London he'll be there all night. They should really mix things up and tackle "Sultans of Swing" or "Romeo and Juliet," but that probably won't happen. At the very least, they should do some songs from Slow Train Coming. Knopfler played lead guitar on that album, but they never got a chance to do the material live.
In the meantime, here's a video of Dylan and Knopfler performing "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" in Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg on October 21st.