The Straits bring Dire Straits classics to Stevenage and St Albans

11:32 20 January 2014

The Straits, featuring original members of Dire Straits, will be in concert at the Alban Arena in St Albans

The Straits, featuring original members of Dire Straits, will be in concert at the Alban Arena in St Albans

Archant

The Straits, a band made up of members of Dire Straits, can be seen live on stage in Hertfordshire next month in St Albans and Stevenage.

The StraitsThe Straits

Money for Nothing was the song that exploded rock band Dire Straits onto TV screens across the world.

With its pioneering pop video, it was a staple of MTV for years and helped the album it came from, Brothers in Arms, sell millions across the globe.

With singer/guitarist Mark Knopfler now doing his own thing, fans are unlikely to ever see Dire Straits perform live again.

However, members of the band still play live as The Straits, and they can be seen in Stevenage and St Albans next month as part of the group’s February tour.

They will be appearing on stage at the Gordon Craig Theatre, in Stevenage, on Friday, February 14 and at the Alban Arena, in St Albans, two days later on Sunday, February 16.

Dire Straits keyboard player and producer Alan Clark explained how The Straits came together.

“It all began two years ago in Rome. Dire Straits’ sax player Chris [White] and I were having breakfast beside a pool one beautiful, sunny morning when I declared we were going to form The Straits,” said Clark.

“We’d been presented with the opportunity to put a band together to play at a charity show at the Albert Hall, and as I’d recently ‘discovered’ Terence Reis and heard him performing some Dire Straits songs rather brilliantly, it seemed the logical thing to do was to form a band around him. So, next we needed a band.”

On recruiting the members, Clark said: “My first thought was to call guitarist Phil Palmer, who’d played on Dire Straits’ On Every Street world tour in ’91/92, and that was easy because he lives in Rome.

“There was only ever going to be one drummer: Steve Ferrone, probably the best rock drummer in the world.

“There was a slight catch in so much that he’s Tom Petty’s drummer and has been for the past 20 years but I figured Tom wouldn’t mind sharing him for a good cause.

“Then we needed a bass player. We’d briefly considered using a line-up of ex-Dire Straits players but we decided to go our own way, to hand-pick the absolute best, so Mickey Feat was recruited on bass.

“As for the additional keyboard player role, I’d watched Jamie Squire grow up. His family were neighbours of mine in a village in Northumberland, as were Tim Healy and Denise Welch, Brendon Foster and Rowan Atkinson, and develop into the amazing multi-instrumental singer/songwriter he is today. So, he was on board too.”

The Albert Hall gig was a resounding success. Since that first concert, Palmer has left the group to fulfil a previous commitment to tour with George Michael, and Adam Philips has replaced him.

Clark added: “People regularly tell us we are at least as good as Dire Straits in their heyday; some, and discretion prevents me from naming names but suffice to say they are very well qualified indeed to make judgement, say we are even better.”

Tickets for The Straits at the Gordon Craig in Stevenage on February 14 cost £26 and £28.

Tickets costs £27.50 and £25 for the band’s gig at the Alban Arena in St Albans on February 16.

* For more entertainment news, visit the Welwyn Hatfield Times’ What’s On section here >>

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