By Nick McCabe – Front Row Photo
The Straits, a seven piece band of world class musicians, two of whom are former Dire Straits band members performed in the Montbleu Theatre at Lake Tahoe Friday night to an enthusiastically appreciative crowd. It was an evening of (as you might expect from the billing) Dire Straits music. This was their next to the last show in the United States so if you missed it, it’s too late now. It’s difficult to put in to words how fantastic this show was. From the perfectly mixed sound quality to the flawless musicianship, nothing was lacking.
With the stage lit by blue lights pulled down low and accents of red spots bathing the musicians, they started the show with “Private Investigations”, a dark and moody song from DS 1982 album, Love Over Gold. It began with a deep brooding synthesizer and a classical acoustic guitar accompaniment, and built from there. This got everybody’s attention. Then they picked up the mood with “Walk of Life” from Brothers in Arms, and moved on to the impressively long and thought provoking “Telegraph Road”, a song about development and decay, also from Love Over Gold. By now it was obvious that we were in for a hell of a show.
There were no dancers, no costume changes, no glitter, and no choreographed moves. The lighting was understated but effective and well done, nor were there any cannons firing confetti or streamers into the audience. It was all about the music.
They played for almost two hours touching on some of DS most popular and successful hits including “Romeo & Juliette”, “Tunnel of Love”, “Your Latest Trick”, “Sultans of Swing”, and encoring with “Money For Nothing” and “Portobello Belle”. As far as I’m concerned they played everything perfect. All members of The Straits are very accomplished players. The hardest job of all fell on the shoulders of Trevor Reis, the current ‘front man’ of the band whose job it was to sing and play the songs of Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits well enough to dispel any nay-sayers in the crowd who might think it couldn’t be done, and he pulled it off. Trevor had Knopfler’s finger picking staccato style down, and his voice was eerily similar to Mark’s. Besides the performance aspect of his job there was the interaction with the audience that he was charged with. His seemingly natural charisma carried him thought. He was comfortable in the position and presented himself quite well. Near the end of the show he spoke to us for quite some time about their tour of the United States and how much they had been enjoying their visit and thanked all the audiences for making their time here a pleasant experience. It was apparent that they were having a jolly good time (that’s a British thing, right?) performing.
I really, really enjoyed this show. Between the excitement of hearing all those iconic Dire Straits songs played so well by some of the original members and the other masterful players, and the killer solo’s that were sprinkled throughout the evening – it was hard not to get worked up. One woman in front of us started dancing on her table which was up against the stage, and she moved right up onto the stage. Security kindly escorted her back to her table, but she tried again. Thankfully her friends intervened and kept her from getting out of hand.
The Straits were put together back in 2011 by keyboardist Alan Clark (DS member since 1980) and saxophonist Chris White (DS member since 1985) for a charity event, and they have been playing gigs and touring the world ever since. The rest of the band consists of Steve Ferrone on drums (due to commitments with his other band, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, he was not with them this night), Mick Féat on bass guitar (also not there), Adam Phillips on guitar and vocals, Jamie Squire on keyboards, guitar and vocals, and the previously mentioned Trevor Reis on guitar and lead vocals. I'm ready to go again!
I have many more quality shots of these guys than will fit on this page. For a gallery with many more pictures, click here.
…and the beat goes on.
Nick can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org