The Dire Straits Experience

St George's Hall, Bradford

March 2

Review by John Burland

Twenty five years ago in 1991 I saw Mark Knopfler and his band Dire Straits on their “On Every Street” tour and was blown away by the performance that night. A quarter of a century on I was equally impressed by The Dire Straits Experience, a band put together by Chris White who was the saxophonist with the group in the 80s and 90s, who superbly replicate the sound of Dire Straits.

Dire Straits became one of the world's most commercially successful bands, with worldwide records sales of over 100 million. Dire Straits won four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards—winning Best British Group twice, two MTV Video Music Awards, and various other music awards.

The trademark of Dire Straits’ performances was the outstanding guitar playing of Mark Knopfler and I never thought that anyone could possibly emulate his playing but I was proved wrong at the concert by The Dire Straits Experience. Terence Reis was equal to the task and in my opinion, having listened to Dire Straits records for thirty years, was faultless as far as the guitar licks were concerned. Vocally also he replicated Mark extremely well having a similar husky / gravelly voice and at times I felt I was back at the NEC in Birmingham listening to the original concert.

The band opened with one of my favourite songs Telegraph Road which lasted a full fifteen minutes exactly as it does on the Love Over Gold album. This was followed by the up-tempo Walk of Life and then the romantic Romeo & Juliet. Tunnel of Love, another song over eight minutes long with its characteristic Carousel Waltz intro, followed and then another of my favourites from the Brothers in Arms album, Your Latest Trick, where Chris White excelled on the tenor saxophone. The final two songs to conclude the first half were The Man’s Too Strong again from the Brothers in Arms Album which incidentally became the first CD to sell over one million copies, and Private Investigations from the Love Over Gold Album, featuring Chris again this time on soprano saxophone.

The second half opened with the song Down to the Waterline from Dire Straits’ self titled first album, followed by Lady Rider from their second album Communiqué. Two Young Lovers followed and then On Every Street, the title song from their 1991 album, again with some excellent saxophone work from Chris on the soprano saxophone. Brothers in Arms then finally Sultans of Swing, the first Dire Straits hit, were the two songs to close the show. However, such was the applause that the inevitable encores followed, firstly Money for Nothing from the Brothers in Arms album and then to send us all home was the instrumental theme from the film Local Hero, appropriately entitled Going Home.

As well as Chris and Terence referred to above, I must also compliment the remainder of the band for their superb playing. Tim Walters on Guitar, Michael Feat on Bass, Danny Schogger and Simon Carter on Keyboards and James Powell on Drums. Between the seven of them they came as near to the original Dire Straits sound as it is possible to get. It certainly turned back the clock for me and the remainder of the capacity audience at St George’s Hall in Bradford. A great night’s entertainment.