25 Jun 2024
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking
  • Articles »
  • Reviews »
  • Gig Review: Come Together: Dire Straits @ Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Auckland - 10/06/2023

Gig Review: Come Together: Dire Straits @ Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Auckland - 10/06/2023

11 Jun 2023 // A review by roger.bowie

Come Together came together last night at the Kiri Te Kanawa theatre with another tribute to Dire Straits. What, again? Are they running out of albums? Can we stand two nights of Dire Straits (Come Together celebrated Brothers in Arms back in November 2020)?

Of course we can. 

Dire Straits released their third album in 1980. It was called Making Movies and was recorded in New York with Jimmy Iovine. 7 songs, longer songs than usual, and a break-up between the brothers, no longer in arms. David Knopfler left the band early in the recording stage and disappeared from view. Mark Knopfler reigned supreme, making movie soundscapes which permeate the annals of time and timeless music. 

Dire Straits emerged in the late seventies with origins in a pub rock band called Brewers Droop and then they became the Café Racers. I remember 1979 in Bahrain, when their debut album became the album of the year in our little community, an early sign of the burgeoning Aussie Rock trend. Except these guys weren’t Australian, they were from the last place they sounded like they were from, first Newcastle, then South London, of all places. That album, self-titled, is still in my view their best, but the following series of releases were still bloody good, and of course Brothers in Arms in 1985 broke all the records’ records. But only because of Sultans of Swing.

There are 11 Sultans on stage tonight at various times (but no Sultanas). Feudal lords of sound and voice, New Zealand’s rock royalty, who have made this format their own, plying their unambiguous talents to recreate the greatest albums of our time, the soundtracks of our youth. Under the masterful oversight of Jol Mulholland, here they are again, Brett Adams on guitar, Matthias Jordan on keys and piano, Finn Scholes on keys and trumpet, Mike Hall on bass, Michael Barker and Alistair Deverick swapping out on drums and percussion, and Nick Atkinson cameoing on saxophone. Masquerading as Mark Knopfler are Jon Toogood, Milan Borich and a new Sehzade (Prince) in Arahi, a young man from Hawkes Bay who is making his own moves, both as a solo performer and in collaboration with Jazmine Mary. Royalty indeed.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel Waltz wafts gently over us and we enter the Tunnel of Love with Jon swinging his recently long hair like a genie prophet, and off we go, a frantic run through the album before, yes, we know it, a selection of greatest hits, typically a democratic process of band choices before Jol makes a rule.

Jon Toogood has found a new voice and a new home in Auckland, and it’s all about ageing disgracefully but respectfully in homage to past legends. Arahi makes his debut early with the classic Romeo & Juliet, and, although he is perhaps not as assertive as he could be, there’s no denying the quality of voice. He’s where Jon was 30 years ago. Milan Borich comes in for perhaps the weakest of this album’s songs, Hand in Hand but that’s not his fault, and then he’s back in leather and abs, for the gloriously camp Les Boys,  an odd song in the album’s thematic content, about a band of gay leathery cabaret dancers dressed in almost Nazi style, but this is homage, not homophobia, and remember the context of the times: homosexuality in New Zealand wasn’t decriminalised until 1986. A touch of cabaret to end the album, which in today’s rendition totally eclipses the original. These kiwi guys are just too good…….

The band continue with three songs before the break, and the musicians step up to the mic, first Jol, then Mike, and then Brett, reminiscing about seeing Dire Straits at Western Springs in 1981, and buying their albums as a schoolboy, and now singing Once Upon a Time in the West which is obviously inspired by our own Westie culture (or maybe not).

Brett Adams is New Zealand’s finest guitarist. I know that because all the other guitarists tell me so. Most guitarists of international note have their own sound, their own signature. But Brett on the fret can forge any signature and make it his own, and tonight we get Mark Knopfler plus. Jol Mulholland is no slug either, as we hear later on Brothers in Arms. Together they weave magic, as do another pair, drummer /percussionists Alastair Deverick and Michael Barker, playing and paying each other in mutual homage and respect and swapping places seamlessly.

Another pair pierce the air with woodwind and brass, Finn Scholes on trumpet triumphantly baying like an elephant on Les Boys and joined by Nick Atkinson on saxophone on several occasions and solo on Your Latest Trick as well as the finale.

Dire Straits were never a boogie band, but they could rock amongst all the other Americana (before the term was invented) influences which drove the brilliant Mark Knopfler. Take Private Investigations which opens the second set, sounding at first like a film noir soundtrack with whispered Milan vocals before Spanish acoustic is ruptured by staccato guitar before building (as per the live version and as per tonight) but not quite erupting. Well, it does on the next song, forever my favourite, but I’ve said that already. 

The point is, Dire Straits defy not only South London logic, but any other genre logic before we were blessed with the broad church of Americana 20 years later. The funky, swampy Water of Love didn’t come off a tube ride to Streatham, so where did it come from? The deep in the dungeon seedy bar where you are looking for Your Latest Trick could be anywhere but most likely New York or Orleans. And Telegraph Road is in Detroit. 

No wonder we scratched our heads in 1979. No wonder Sultans of Swing topped the charts in Australia and made huge waves in America before the British woke up.

No matter. That was then and this is now, and how lucky we are to see a super version of Dire Straits come together and blow us all away with their brilliance.

My cousin and her partner came up from Invercargill to see this show. She thinks it was fucking awesome.

I think she's right.

Set List 

1. Tunnel of Love (Jon Toogood on lead vocals)

2. Romeo & Juliet (Arahi on lead vocals)

3. Skateaway (Arahi)

4. Expresso Love (Jon)

5. Hand in Hand (Milan Borich on lead vocals)

6. Solid Rock (Jon)

7. Les Boys (Milan)

8. Wild West End (Jol Mulholland on lead vocals)

9. Lady Writer (Mike Hall on lead vocals)

10. Once Upon A Time In The West (Brett Adams on lead vocals) 

11. Private Investigations (Milan)

12. Sultans of Swing (Jon)

13. Water of Love (Milan)

14. The Man’s Too Strong (Jon)

15. Your Latest Trick (Arahi)

16. Down to the Waterline (Arahi)

17. So Far Away From Me (Milan)

18. Brothers in Arms (Milan)

19. Telegraph Road (Arahi)

20. Money for Nothing (Jon/Matthias Jordan)

21. Local Hero (Nick Atkinson on sax)


Photo Credit: Chris Zwaagdyk / Zed Pics
View the full gallery here

 

Other Reviews By roger.bowie

Album Review: Subset BC
16 Dec 2023 // by roger.bowie
Here’s an interesting little thing from Gisborne. A funky little band with three bass players.
Read More...
Gig Review: The Best of Come Together @ The Civic Theatre, Auckland - 9/12/2023
12 Dec 2023 // by roger.bowie
Get your heads around this line-up:  The singers: Jon Toogood, (lead and backing vocals), Julia Deans (lead and backing vocals), Dianne Swann (lead and backing vocals and occasional guitar), Samuel Flynn Scott (vocals and guitar), James Milne (lead and backing vocals), Milan Borich (Mick vocals) The players: Jol Mulholland (guitars and vocals), Brett Adams (lead guitar and vocals), Mike Hall (bass), Matthias Jordan (keyboards), Alastair Deverick (drums), Finn Scholes (trumpet, clarinet and percussion), Nick Atkinson (sax and percussion).  Stopped spinning?
Read More...
A Crude Mechanical - Album Review: Discourse
08 Dec 2023 // by roger.bowie
Shane Warbrooke doesn’t believe in lyrics, because of the risk of lyrics being hi-jacked and meanings bent to suit ideologies which he doesn’t like. Well, such ideologies which most of us don’t like, truth be known, but then again, Beethoven didn’t write lyrics, so the freedom of speech counter argument only goes so far.
Read More...
Gig Review: The Phoenix Foundation @ Hollywood Avondale, Auckland - 24/11/2023
26 Nov 2023 // by roger.bowie
This is a first of many things. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen The Phoenix Foundation play live.
Read More...
Velvet Arrow - Album Review: Songs of Solitude
17 Nov 2023 // by roger.bowie
A Song Of Hope & Fear would normally be a contradiction in terms unless darkness prevails and light shines through, which is an appropriate metaphor for the debut album from Whangarei’s Velvet Arrow and the opening song, with Dan Stenhouse’s husky voice helping us through the night against a ghostly horror wail from Hannah Jane. After all it’s just a song to help you through the night, just the words that speak, it’s not real.
Read More...
Gig Review: Atomic: Women of Rock @ The Civic, Auckland - 11/11/2023
13 Nov 2023 // by roger.bowie
What a feast of nostalgia we’ve had from Liberty Stage (Simone Williams) these past few years, as New Zealand’s finest have Come Together to cover the classic albums which made the soundtracks of our youth. In addition to this, there have also been special tributes like Tami Neilson’s rock ‘n roll party with Dinah Lee, just last month.
Read More...
Dimmer - Album Review: Live At The Hollywood
09 Nov 2023 // by roger.bowie
Wow, not very often that we see alive album these days, an unusual beast, but that’s we have, a 14-track monster from Dimmer, recorded from last year’s sold-out trilogy at the Hollywood Avondale. Which, if you didn’t get to go last year, you can still see on December 2nd at the Powerstation, unless, like me, you are going instead to The War on Drugs.
Read More...
Killergrams - EP Review: Lonely Nights In A Little Town
27 Oct 2023 // by roger.bowie
Someone walked out, and Tom Maxwell has lost his mind, in a gentle, acoustic way. Then his mind explodes in a cacophony of chaos, which might just be what it feels like, losing something that important.
Read More...
View All Articles By roger.bowie

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
    Sabrina Carpenter
  • MILLION DOLLAR BABY
    Tommy Richman
  • HOUDINI
    Eminem
  • ESPRESSO
    Sabrina Carpenter
  • BIRDS OF A FEATHER
    Billie Eilish
  • A BAR SONG (TIPSY)
    Shaboozey
  • TOO SWEET
    Hozier
  • I HAD SOME HELP
    Post Malone feat. Morgan Wallen
  • NOT LIKE US
    Kendrick Lamar
  • BEAUTIFUL THINGS
    Benson Boone
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem