Q - 7/96, p.1413 Stars
- Good - "...admirably recorded...gruelling world tour and Knopfler's theme from Local Hero added to the set..."
Dire Straits: Mark Knopfler (vocals, guitar); Hal Lindes (guitar); Alan Clark (keyboards); John Illsley (bass); Terry Williams (drums).
Additional personnel: Mel Collins (saxophone); Tommy Mandel (keyboards); Joop De Korte (percussion).
Recorded in July 1983.
Laser disc also available on IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT (6305).
ALCHEMY-LIVE captures Dire Straits live sound on a two-CD set. The set draws from their first four albums and includes among its highlights "Sultans of Swing" and "Tunnel of Love."
There is an interesting contrast on this 94-minute double-disc live album (recorded at London's Hammersmith Odeon in July 1983) between the music, much of which is slow and moody, with Mark Knopfler's muttered vocals and large helpings of his fingerpicking on what sounds like an amplified Spanish guitar, and the audience response. The arena-size crowd cheers wildly, and claps and sings along when given half a chance, as though each song were an up-tempo rocker. When they do have a song of even medium speed, such as "Sultans of Swing" or "Solid Rock," they are in ecstasy. That Dire Straits' introspective music loses much of its detail in a live setting matters less than that it gains presence and a sense of anticipation. Alan Clark's keyboards help to fill out the sound and give Knopfler's spare melodies a certain majesty, but Dire Straits remains an overgrown bar band with a Bob Dylan fixation, and that's exactly how the crowd likes it. [The CD version of the album contains one extra track, "Love Over Gold," which adds a needed change of pace to the otherwise slow-moving first disc.] ~ William Ruhlmann