Published Jul 01, 2006Take a balding British rocker and pair him with an American bluegrass-singing veteran and what do you get? One of the most soulful and sweet sounding shows to hit Toronto's Molson Amphitheatre in years. These two weathered road warriors – Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris – made their North American debut of All the Roadrunning on the Amphitheatre stage. It was a show for the ages and best summed up as new friends making old acquaintances. The roads these musicians have travelled are shown in the lines on their faces and the well-worn songs they sing. Harris, dressed in faded blue jeans and a sequined cowgirl shirt, shone as brightly as ever – her voice still easily reaches those tender and touching notes that she's shared with so many other duet partners over the years. While the venue was half-empty, and the concession cashiers had time to take in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals, the songs were full of passion and the sound was bursting and bright. Backed by a tight band of seasoned multi-instrumentalists, the Red Dirt Girl and the Glasgow gent entertained and fed the crowd for almost two hours. The set was a mix of Harris heartaches from her 40-year back catalogue, some Knopfler solo songs and Dire Straits hits (including a inspirational "Romeo and Juliet"), plus a good sampling from All the Roadrunning. Highlights of these new duets were the title track and the touching "If this is Goodbye." An acoustic take on Dire Straits' "Why Worry" with Harris and Knopfler sharing the same mic and Emmylou taking the lead on vocals capped off this magical evening. While the collaboration is new and at first glance an odd pairing, the concert showed that these two talented songwriters fit together like old friends who can pick up a conversation 20 years on as if no time had passed.