Dire Straits “Alchemy-Dire Straits Live”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#517 in the Series, and #53 in the Live Saturday Night Series) is Dire Straits, Alchemy Dire Straits Live

I’ve been now lucky enough to see Dire Straits (on the Brothers in Arms tour at The Mecca in Milwaukee) and Mark Knopfler (in 2005 at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago).  Both shows were unbelievably entertaining and fine exhibitions to true musicianship.

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the Auditorium Theater. It is a 3000 or so seat venue or absolute magnificence.  I would be hard pressed to find another small theater sized venue that can match it. It  was built as an opera house in 1889.  Remember, you didn’t have PA systems back then. It had to be acoustically perfect to get the sounds to reach the back of the venue, now when you put modern bands in that house, they don’t have to play full-blast, so the sounds are as pure as it gets.

The main floor has a nice slow upward curve as it extends what is the mezzanine.  Why do I tell you this? I do so because I remember one specific instance during the show.  Our seats where right at the curve level where we were just about eye level with the band. It’s so nice to have main floor seats and not have to look up. We were dead center and quite probably, in the best seats in the house, sound-wise and also sight- wise.  Later in the show, Mark and the band kicks off the beginning of “Telegraph Road.” As I was sitting there, thinking about the venue, thinking about the seats, thinking about the band, thinking about the song he was about to play, I then said to myself, “Do not forget this moment. Concentrate on what’s happening and what you are about to watch. It just does not get any better than this, it just does not.”  It was indeed true magic.

“Telegraph Road” is also one of the highlights here on Alchemy as well. You really need to give that great song a listen.  One of the things that I like about Alchemy is the fact that the songs are presented so well, that you don’t even realize that you’ve listened to a ten plus minute song. I think I know one of the reasons why. That would be the, at the time, new drummer Terry Williams playing. You know Terry from his work with Rockpile and all those classic Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe albums. He can lively up and song. He really added a new dimension to Dire Straits.  Check out the machine gun style playing that he adds to ‘Sultans of Swing.”  After you get through that you’d be shocked to know that the song just lasted nearly 11 minutes in length.

Alchemy is a double album with only 10 tracks, but every one of them is strong. I have all of them in the video playlist below for you to enjoy. Hit that play button and sit back and enjoy.

— Larry Carta

Track listing

All songs written by Mark Knopfler except as indicated.

Side one

  1. “Once Upon A Time In The West” 13:01
  2. “Romeo and Juliet” 8:22

Side two  

  1. “Expresso Love” 5:41
  2. “Private Investigations” 7:40
  3. “Sultans of Swing” 10:48

Side three

  1. “Two Young Lovers” 4:51
  2. “Tunnel of Love (Mark Knopfler, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II)” 14:38

Side four

  1. “Telegraph Road” 13:19
  2. “Solid Rock” 5:32
  3. “Going Home – Theme from ‘Local Hero” 4:58


The Auditorium Theater

Dire Straits

  • Mark Knopfler – guitar, vocals
  • Alan Clark – keyboard
  • John Illsley – bass
  • Hal Lindes – guitar
  • Terry Williams – drums

Additional personnel

  • Mel Collins – saxophone
  • Tommy Mandel – keyboards
  • Joop de Korte – percussion


Posted by Larry Carta

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