The Dire Straits Experience Review


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This at the Cambridge Corn Exchange was an evening with a difference. It felt for the audience like we were part of a Herculean effort to bring the ultimate phoenix up from the flames – the band they said could never reform – Dire Straits. Of course this is not that band, exactly, but it contains former Dire Straits touring member Chris White who tells the story elsewhere on of how he picked up a spare saxophone from his school music cupboard and never looked back, and by the age of 30 in 1985 was playing in some of the biggest gigs on the planet including Live Aid.

So to the night and the roster of hits poured out like Tunnel of Love, Romeo and Juliet but in classic style some of the biggest – Sultans of Swing – were kept for the rousing finale. The Dire Straits classic, Brothers in Arms made me think because ‘brothers’ is the operative word for this all male, very blokey band.
Industrial Disease was delivered like a rap – and it was powerful. In fact what was so powerful about DSE’s music was that it was un-honed and free of tarty production values – just some very raw but also quite brilliant rock guitar from Terence Reis and spiced up by his fellow band members.
So 25 years after DS disbanded and with album sales hovering around the 125 million mark here is real music, a real experience and Terence is definitely something else. No the big man (Mark Knopfler) is not there – but Reis somehow fills that huge hole and it is pure rock and roll. His gravelled voice is an instrument in itself and guitars come and go through the set displaying a remarkable repertoire.
My moment of the night was when the Sultans of Swing (always my favourite) poured fourth and then developed and in the last third of the performance just took off and went stratospheric in real musicality and rock that brought the old hairs up on the back of my neck. By the way, three encores were required to bring the gig to an end and all of them were 100 per cent deserved for a trip down memory lane that still has balls to a 2018 audience. Really magnificently so and the warmth between band and audience was a wonderful thing to be part of, truly one of those ‘I was there’ nights.

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