The Dire Straits Experience coming in 2018

Two touring members of the band are trying to keep the music alive

The Dire Straits Experience is coming to Lucerna's Velký sál (Great Hall) on Feb. 17, 2018. This is not the original band, but not exactly a cover band either.

The Dire Straits broke up in 1995, but demand for their music has remained steady in the decades since then. The original frontman, Mark Knopfler, has moved on with his career and doesn't want to go back.

Chris White, who toured on sax with the Dire Straits from 1985 to 1995, and other musicians have created a new group called The Dire Straits Experience. It now includes drummer Chris Witten, who spent 18 months touring with the Dire Straits to promote the On Every Street album.

Lead vocals and guitar are performed by Terence Reis, who filled in when White and other former band members played some shows under the name the Straits starting in 2011.

Two of the band members eventually left, leaving just White from the original group. But he wanted the music to continue.

“I have been truly amazed and, frankly, humbled by the response we have had from the fans on hearing these songs again. Dire Straits have the most amazingly loyal fan base. It has been so great to reconnect with people I last saw in 1992 and see them still getting so much from this music. Also, it is fantastic to make new friends among the many young people who are now discovering Mark and Dire Straits. So many people still want to experience this live,” White said on the Dire Straits Experience website.

Aside from White, Witten and Reis, the show includes four other experienced musicians who have over the years played with a long list of top acts ranging from George Michael to 10CC.

The band is somewhat hard to categorize. It is often called a cover band, though two members have some experience with the original group. There is now a long list of bands that feature only one or two long-time members, such as the Beach Boys, but still use the original band name without any caveat that favorite members won't be there. The band Yes, due to deaths and lineup changes, has no original members left.

So if anything, the Dire Straits Experience gets points for being honest about not having the original lineup and simply trying to bring a good show to the fans that want it. The word “experience,” though, is smaller than the others in the advertising. Fan response, at least over social media, has been enthusiastic.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the song “Sultans of Swing,” which became the Dire Straits first big hit. A look at what the Dire Straits Experience has played recently shows they also do “Money for Nothing,” Telegraph Road,” “Walk of Life,” “Down to the Waterline” and a dozen more popular hits.


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