Happy 25th: Dire Straits, ON THE NIGHT
25 years ago this week, Dire Straits released the second live album of their existence, giving their newer fans an opportunity to hear in-concert versions of some of their hugest hits from the then-recent past.
Recorded in Nîmes, France and Rotterdam, Netherlands in May 1992, ON THE NIGHT was a document of a lengthy tour that proved to be a truly grueling experience for frontman / guitarist Mark Knopfler, not to mention the rest of the band. It was profitable, to be sure, which no doubt had something to do with the fact that it went on for the better part of two years, but as Bill Flanagan wrote in GQ at the time, it “drove Dire Straits into the ground,” ending both the band and Knopfler’s marriage.
That said, the audio document of the tour turned out to be a major commercial success, climbing into the top 5 of the UK Albums chart. Additionally, an EP containing four additional tracks from the tour – appropriately entitled ENCORE – proved to be a significant success as well, actually hitting #1 on the French and Spanish singles charts.
While the band’s first live album, 1984’s ALCHEMY, was slightly more acclaimed by critics, ON THE NIGHT filled a void in the band’s catalog by providing fans with live versions of material from both BROTHERS IN ARMS (“Walk of Life,” “Your Latest Trick,” “Money for Nothing,” “Brothers in Arms”) and ON EVERY STREET (“Calling Elvis,” “Heavy Fuel,” “On Every Street,” and “You and Your Friend”). It also led to a concert video, featuring all of the songs from ON THE NIGHT plus “The Bug,” “Solid Rock,” and “Wild Theme.”
Post-script: Sadly, Dire Straits fans waiting on another studio album by Knopfler and company have been left wanting, but they did at least score one more live album a few years later. If you’ve never gotten around to picking up a copy of their LIVE AT THE BBC album, it’s a hole in your collection that’s well worth filling.
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