As Mark Knopfler proved this year by not even showing up when his band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Dire Straits are never, ever getting back together. However, that’s not stopping past members, including keyboardist Alan Clark, percussionist Danny Cummings, saxophonist Mel Collins and guitarist Phil Palmer, from hitting the road in late September for a tour under the banner DSL Dire Straits Legacy. The group will be joined by Heartbreakers drummer Steve Ferrone and the Buggles’ Trevor Horn on bass along with Marco Caviglia on vocals and Primiano DiBiase on keyboards.
“The DSL Dire Straits Legacy project was born from our love and respect for the music of Dire Straits, and to bring the music to fans who have been starved of hearing it played live by the musicians who made it, for far too long,” Clark and Collins said in a statement. “Now, after many requests, we’re coming to the US! Along with all the Dire Straits hits, we’ll also be playing one or two songs from our new album 3 Chord Trick, and a couple of other tunes we’ve been involved with. See you there!”
Former members of Dire Straits have toured together in recent years under various names, including the Straits, but this is the first time they’ve come to North America. Their South American tour earlier in the year was packed with Dire Straits classics like “Walk of Life,” “Money For Nothing” and “Romeo & Juliet.”
None of this has sat well with bassist John Illsley, the only member of Dire Straits besides Knopfler to endure through every incarnation of the group. “I said to them, ‘If you’re going to do it, will you please call it something else,'” he told Rolling Stone last year, referring to their incarnation as the Straits. “‘It would be like some people coming together and calling themselves the Stones or the Floyd. You can’t really do that. You were members of the band for a while, but you don’t own the name. You have no ownership. Can you please it call it something else? Call it what it is, which is basically a tribute act.’ There’s a lot of tribute acts. That’s what happens when there’s a vacuum. You just have to accept that, but I found it very difficult. It didn’t last very long.”
It’s unclear if Illsley is satisfied now that they are called DSL Dire Straits Legacy, but the addition of Horn to the lineup does pose some intriguing questions regarding the setlist, especially since they pledged to play “a couple of other tunes we’ve been involved with.” As the frontman of the Buggles, Horn was the lead vocalist on their classic “Video Killed The Radio Star.” He also fronted Yes for their 1980 LP Drama. And with Ferrone in the lineup, there could potentially be a show that features Tom Petty’s “You Wreck Me,” Yes’ “Machine Messiah” and “Video Killed The Radio Star” in addition to all the Dire Straits tunes. As weird as that sounds, we now live in a world where Vince Gill is in the Eagles and Neil Finn is touring with Fleetwood Mac.
As Knopfler and Illsley would be the first to point out, many members of DSL Dire Straits Legacy had very brief tenures in Dire Straits: Mel Collins, best known for his work in King Crimson, didn’t play on any studio albums and was only around for the 1982/83 Love Over Gold tour. Danny Cummings and Phil Palmer only contributed to 1991’s On Every Street and its supporting tour. Alan Clark had, by far, the longest stint in the Dire Straits, playing with them from 1980 until the final show in 1992.
DSL Dire Straits Legacy Tour Dates
September 26 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
September 28 – Riverside, CA @ Fox Performing Arts Center
September 29 – St. Charles, MO @ Family Arena
October 2 – St. Charles, IL @ Arcada Theatre
October 4 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Parker Playhouse
October 5 – St. Petersburg, FL @ Mahaffey Theater
October 6 – Westbury, NY @ NYCB Theater At Westbury