Dire Straits in concert late 70s

Dire Straits in concert late 70s
I can’t remember where I first saw Dire Straits, or where I first hear “Sultans of Swing”, but the song was everywhere during 1978. It provided a welcome alternative to the fast and loud punk music which was also omnipresent in university student unions and ballrooms at the time. Not that I didn’t like punk, I did, but it was nice to have a softer alternative. Somehow this rootsy pub rock band crept up from left field, and established themselves as a major act. Their relentless touring was a large part of the secret to their success. I saw them support Talking Heads at Newcastle Poly, a few months later headlining at Middlesbrough Rock Garden, and then back at the Poly. Each time “Sultans” was the stand out song of the night. By June 1979 Dire Straits were big enough to headline at Newcastle City Hall, in support of their second album “Communique”. I recall being surprised at how quickly they had graduated to playing concert halls, and wondering if they could sell out such a large venue. The fact was, the tickets sold out quickly for the City Hall gig and the place was packed. This was one of those nights that posed a dilemma for me. The City Hall had Dire Straits, and on the same night The Police were headlining at the Mayfair, with support from The Cramps. My mate Ian and I decided to try and see both gigs, and for once the timings worked. We went to the City Hall, saw the Dire Straits gig (the support came from a band called Metro) and then we headed straight down to The Mayfair for The Police. We had missed The Cramps, but saw The Police’s set. A great night, seeing two great bands who were both on their first headlining tour, and both on the brink of mega stardom. “Sultans” is still my favourite Dire Straits song, and for me they were at their very best in those early days. A typical Dire Straits setlist from 1979: Down to the Waterline; Six Blade Knife; Once Upon a Time in the West; Lady Writer; Single-Handed Sailor; News; What’s the Matter Baby?; Portobello Belle; Wild West End; Lions; Angel of Mercy; Solid Rock; Sultans of Swing; Where Do You Think You’re Going?; Southbound Again; Setting Me Up; Twisting by the Pool.

One response to this post.

  1. I certainly agree with you about Dire Straits being better in the early days – I loved that gig at the Poly and ended up backstage talking to Knopfler while we waited for my mate Keith’s dad who had to come and pick us up as we’d missed the last train back to Sunderland (Don’t think he was too impressed).

    I was also at the City Hall show and I remember when they started to play Where do you think you’re going I cheered and I was the only one who did!!

    Here’s a link to one of the picture’s I took


    I also saw them again on the next tour but by then I’d gone off to Uni so that was at the Apollo in Manchester.


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