The Dire Straits tribute concert.
(photo credit: TOM CLEARY)
Even though legendary rock band Dire Straits disbanded back in the ‘90s, a longtime member and a range of world class musicians have found a way to channel every ounce of spirit from the band’s prolific back catalogue into a thrilling show called The Dire Straits Experience.
The audience on Friday night had a chance to witness not only musicians who have played and recorded with the likes of Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and Rod Stewart, but who were also undeniably delighted to be celebrating music whose heart never stopped beating even when the original band’s did.
Tribute shows without the original lead singer might discourage die-hards, but watching vocalist Terence Reis (and his countless guitar changes) strut about the stage calmly but confidently in place of Mark Knopfler was great enough for original member and saxophonist Chris White to grab the microphone and address the ecstatic crowd at the Amex Music Park.
“I thought we couldn’t replace the guy who stands in the middle,” he said, “But Terence keeps the music alive for me, he keeps it fresh!” It showed. The energy and interaction of the two musicians felt renewed, with White busting out sax solos and interchanging seamlessly between flute and tambourine.
Both hit all the right notes with precision and skill.
The hits came fast and furious. “Walk of Life,” “Money for Nothing,” a slower, more acoustic-driven “Romeo and Juliet” and “Private Investigations” all brought the crowd to a symphonic singalong. Air drumming, whistling and clapping ensued with “Brothers in Arms” and “Sweet Surrender” finding some members leaving the stage to reveal a four-piece, an ode to the days of the original lineup. While Reis’s vocals are more gruff and rock-slanted, he came alive during this song.
But nothing could prepare the crowd for the encore “Sultans of Swing.” In true rock-god fashion, every member wielded their instruments as if they were many limbs of one body. It wasn’t just the music elevating the stadium’s atmosphere, or the lyrics, but the sense of camaraderie among the band members.
This wasn’t a tribute; this was pure guitar rock in all its wonder.