Okay, so let me say two things before I start: 1/. I am a long time fan - my very first concert was Dire Straits in 1983 (you can see photos of this, and my ticket stub at Julio's "Ticket to Heaven" web page. 2/. I also love the music of Bruce Springsteen, and he is like a jukebox when he goes on tour - two nights in a row can be like two completely different concerts, and I love that. On to Perth:
The opening four song set is phenomenal! So much energy, and a bass/drum sound that just thumps your chest. The harmonies in Why Aye Man were a little off, but in its slowed down form, even though I don't really like the song, it plays out very well. WII and StP are just great - really rich. Mark had throat problems, and it showed on some songs, so I just hope future gigs are affected.
On Guy's page he talks about being the audience attentive - well at the guitar change on the second song, there was SILENCE! It was quite strange! Mark asked off the darkened stage "Are you still out there?" and everyone laughed. I worried people may not go for the new songs, but the crowd was great.
The mixing was a bit haphazard at times - the National Steel was not miked in at the intro of R&J, and I Mark's vocals seemed to vary from up front to buried by the music. I just put that down to learning the set, and a venu that Guy himself say is hard to get good sound from.
Having said that SaN kicked! I was not familiar with the song, but the drums and guitar combo on this one just rocked! We heard people around us complain, but they were older - the sort of people who go to a gig expecting to hear each song played just like the record.
Sultans is played as a four piece band - like the 1978 line up! It sounded better than I have ever heard it, and Mark was bending strings and making the red strat wail at each break. The crowd just went ballistic at the end, as he burned the strings with his fingers on the outro solo. Standing ovation in the middle of the set foe that one!
Boom Like That, for my ears, was not as rich as on the record - and Mark's voice was getting scratchy. It led into TR, and that was a treat too - very similar to the album version, it has been stripped down from the BiA and OES tour versions to a more basic sound.
The BiA trio claimed the first encore. The masses loved it, and it was fine. I just would have loved some earlier material. One wag in the crowd kept calling for "Lady Writer"!!!!! Why?
I missed hearing Tunnel of Love and Wild West End, and would have liked to hear 5:15 and Shangri-La played - Hank Marvin Jr now lives in Perth, and I had hoped he was going to be a guest - Mark mentions him in the tourbook even, but it was not to be.
The Local Hero duo closed out the gig - some nice star effects with the lights made it a mellow ending.
Its going to be a great tour, and I know you will all enjoy it! I was 1/2 way back on the floor, and for a few moments in the middle of the show was able to sit there, and gaze over in wonder at this now grey haired man (who wore glasses the whole set BTW), and marvel that his thoughts and music have touched me for 25 years. Shangri-La indeed!