Saturday, 2 June 2018

Dire Straits - Alchemy (1984)


Released in 1984

Live material

Released in 1984, by which time Dire Straits had become a “big” band and were playing places like the Hammersmith Odeon, where this was recorded, a sold out, enthusiastic crowd whoops and hollers along, despite much of the material being introspective, laid back and moodily atmospheric. Classic examples of this are the extended bluesy rocker “Once Upon A Time In The West”, the eerie “Private Investigations”, with its killer guitars interjections near the end, and the beautiful but solemn “Love Over Gold”.

The sound, despite being remastered, contains a considerable amount of live “buzz” noises, but it doesn’t detract from the quality too much. Overall, it is a good live album of a band just about to become massive. The crowd noises are stirring, particularly on “Tunnel Of Love”, as the guitar parts kick in.

Highlights are extended, inspirational versions of “Romeo And Juliet”, “Sultans Of Swing” and, of course, the band’s masterpiece, “Tunnel Of Love”, given an extra, wonderful saxophone and guitar ending here. Bloody marvellous stuff. Actually, I was forgetting “Telegraph Road”, another fourteen-fifteen minutes of Straits’ magnificence. It ends with the anthemic “Going Home” which builds up to its rousing climax quite exhilaratingly.


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