Jonathan Geddes' verdict: three stars

Mark Knopfler certainly doesn't take the easy option. Even while playing an arena the size of the Hydro (albeit nowhere near capacity), he resolutely filled the set with the rootsier cuts from his career. This was admirable for stubbornness, yet not always satisfying as a performance.

The flaws could not be pinned on Knopfler's band, a terrific group of players, and the man himself is still a great guitarist. His voice, never the most nuanced of tools, was somewhat of a mumbled bark, though, and, as always, the stage presence prized steadiness over spectacular.

There were moments where the band interplay really took flight - the instrumental Father and Son, for instance, and a tremendous passage on the lengthy Marbletown that saw John McCusker's fiddle playing and Glenn Worf's bass build to a crescendo that swept the arena. However there was a disconnect on several others - the playing was fine, but it was like watching a clinic rather than actually experiencing a gig, or having anything to stir some passion.

Laughs and Jokes and Drinks and Smokes was a characterless traipse through Celtic melody, and Skydiver's flat attempt at summery harmonies struck upon the issue that Knopfler sometimes has, where proficiency isn't matched by excitement. A familiar set that picked some of the blander outings from his back catalogue didn't help, either, Postcards From Paraguay proving a particular slog through mildly rhythmic world-pop.

There were highlights, though. Romeo & Juliet was given a rousing treatment, while a sparky closing run saw the dewy-eyed romanticism of newbie Wherever I Go nestle comfortably alongside Telegraph Road's impressive guitar histrionics and a yearning So Far Away to fill the venue in a way the set didn't always manage.