The Dire Straits Experience gig at Leisure Valley Park in Sector 29 on Friday was reminiscent of the tunes of 1980s and 90s -- the heyday of vocalist guitarist Mark Knopfler and the British rock band Dire Straits that he co-founded.
Though Knopfler was missed, Dire Straits’ original member Chris White and other musicians touring the country as members of the Dire Straits Experience had plenty to offer on the night.
The concert, Play for a Cause, was organised to provide drinking water to seven villages in Rajasthan from the revenue generated through ticket sales.
Unlike previous instances in which performances by international bands and artistes such as Metallica and Skrillex at the same venue led to crowd trouble and harm to human life, Friday’s event was peaceful. A total of 800 police personnel were deployed to ensure law and order around the venue.
The evening started with a performance by popular NCR rock band Barefaced Liar, followed by drones hovering over the crowd and visual effects on the main stage.
Dire Straits Experience opened with telegraph road, a track from the 1982 album Love Over Gold by Dire Straits. The crowd, a mix of youth and older generations who grew up listening to the British band, were enchanted with the band’s two-hour performance.
A couple from Guernsey (an English Channel island under the British Commonwealth located close to French coast), Bryan and Leslie Hugo’s trip to India coincided with the band’s performance.
“As a teenager in 1977, I heard Dire Straits performing next to the Covent Garden in London. They were an instant hit with me. Their music was raw, uncomplicated with a great blend of jazz and funk incorporated into rock. I have to thank my wife for this,” Bryan said.
Leslie said it was under her compulsion that Bryan cancelled their plans to visit Jaipur and catch the gig.
The thousands gathered at the venue sang several songs with vocalist Terence Reis and the rest of the band.
An hour into the performance, tracks from Dire Straits’ popular album Brothers in Arms came to the fore. The crowd grew louder when one of the album’s most successful tracks -- Walk of Life -- was played.
The band also performed other tracks from the album followed by a solo performance by Chris White on the saxophone.
When it seemed that the band’s performance had concluded as the members started taking a bow, the crowd started shouting “one more”, only to find that they were left with the big number of the day.
Dire Straits iconic track, money for nothing, was the showstopper.
“I want my..I want my…I want my.. I want my MTV..” resonated around the venue with loud cheers from the crowd. Such was the popularity of the song that drummer Chris Whitten and guitarist Reis had to repeat the segment in a loop to appease the crowd.
The performance concluded with Reis thanking the crowd and indicating that the band’s maiden tour of the country would not be their last.
“We are here because of you…the thousands who have purchased tickets to watch us here tonight…….As we move to Bangalore for the next leg, the response here tell us we are wanted ,and, hence, we can’t wait to be back here in front of you,” Reis said.