SPECIAL PERFORMANCES 1980 - 1991
immense Brothers in arms world tour, Mark Knopfler needed a break. An
uncertain period lay ahead for the fans as Mark never spoke about the
intention to reform Dire Straits again. The years that came were filled with
film scores and
various (mainly charity) concerts of which one really stood out: the concert
for Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday tribute at Wembley Stadium which was
broadcasted worldwide and viewed by 600 million people! To be fully
prepared as the major act of that day, Dire Straits decided to play two
special concerts in Hammersmith Odeon, London. These two concerts were
played on 8th and 9th June 1988, just before the big Nelson Mandela concert. The
management of Dire Straits had decided that tickets would only be available
for members of the Dire Straits Information Service. Tickets were just 10
Pounds each and the money went towards the costs of putting on the Wembley
show, so more money could be given to the charities. Jack Sonni was still in the
USA because his wife just gave birth to two baby daughters, so he was not
available for the rehearsals and concert and was replaced by none other
than Eric Clapton.
Official recordings made during these years
|Concert||Bootleg release||Official release|
|Concert||Bootleg release||Official release|
|Nashville (01 & 02.05.1987)|
|London (05 & 06.06.1988)|
10.06.1980 Royal Exchange Pub Camden Town London UK
On 10th June 1980, while rehearsing for the later recordings of the album Making Movies, Mark Knopfler and Pick Withers joined their old pals during a Cafe Racers reunion at the Royal Exchange Pub, Camden Town, London, UK.
See also a newpaper article here.
xx.11.1983 Dingwalls London UK
Additional information: Liz Whatley wrote in the November 1983 D.S.I.S. newsletter:
On Tuesday night, Paul Brady (one of our other artists) played a gig at Dingwalls in London, and Mark got up and played about six songs with him, much to the surprise and delight of the crowd. I think Mark found it a nice change to play in a small club for a change!
Which Tuesday it exactly was in November is still unclear to me.
xx.12.1985 Julie's Night Club, Newcastle, UK
On the left you can see Joop de Korte (percussionist) and on the right Ron Eve (Mark Knopfler's guitar tech).
Dire Straits plays here at the Julie's Night Club in Newcastle, after one of their shows in Newcastle, December 1985.
According to Alan Clark is was a cool down show and done more often. The headband Mark wears here was probably given by a fan.
31.05.1986 The Grove Pub Leeds UK
Mark Knopfler sat in on a gig at
The Grove, Leeds, with long time pals Steve Phillips and Brendan Croker. Price
of entry to the gig was £1 and the three split £66 pounds between them. Many see
this as the birth of the Notting Hillbillies.
On the photo: Brendan Croker, Mark Knopfler and Steve Phillips, The Grove, Leeds, 31st May 1986.
01.06.1986 The Fenton, Leeds, UK
Mark Knopfler and Steve Phillips
play a gig at The Fenton, Leeds. They get paid £40 in total, £20 each.
20.06.1986 Prince's Trust Rock Gala, Wembley Stadium London UK
Before the show in the presense of Prince Charles and Princess Diana:
The complete lineup:
From left to right
Top row: Mark King, Ray Cooper, Bryan Adams, Midge Ure, John Illsley, Joan Armatrading, Paul Young, Rick Parfitt
Middle row: Francis Rossi, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler
Front row: Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, Phil Collins, Howard Jones
The picture below was most likely
taken just before the show.
From left to right: Mark Knopfler, Phil Collins and Sting:
Picture taken at the Prince's
Trust Rock Gala 1986:
From left to right: Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Mark Knopfler, David Bowie, Mark King and Bryan Adams
28.03.1987 Secret Policeman's Third Ball, Palladium London UK
29.03.1987 Secret Policeman's Third Ball, Palladium London UK
01.05.1987 AOL Sessions with Chet Atkins, Nashville USA
02.05.1987 AOL Sessions with Chet Atkins, Nashville USA
The pictures below are taken during the rehearsals for the concert in Nashville:
Press picture, taken during the show:
02.10.1987 Mean Fiddler London UK
20.10.1987 The May Fair Hotel London UK
See here a few very rare pics from this special event:
??.??.1987 Limelight Club, Manhatten, New York, USA
Willy Deville's birthday was on
25th August, so the above mentioned birthday party most likely took place around
Mark and Willy recorded the album Miracle together which was released on 31st October 1987.
12.02.1988 Le Papillon Restaurant, Corbridge, Northumberland, UK
Additional information: Liz Whatley wrote in the March 1988 D.S.I.S. newsletter:
Mark and Brendan met up with Guy and Alan, and they all played at a small restaurant called "Le Papillon" in Corbridge (between Hexham and Newcastle). The restaurant owner is a friend of Mark and Alan. Mark then spent the next few days at Gleneagles in Scotland, taking part in a charity clay-pigeon shoot for racing-driver Jackie Stewart's JPS Team. Apparently he was surprisingly good for a beginner... .
05.06.1988 Prince's Trust Rock Gala, Royal Albert Hall London UK
06.06.1988 Prince's Trust Rock Gala, Royal Albert Hall London UK
Below a photo featuring some of the
artists that performed at the Prince's Trust Rock Gala 1988:
Rick Astley, Howard Jones, Peter Gabriel, Joe Cocker, Elton John, Phil Collins, Midge Ure,
Mark Knopfler, Brian May, Eric Clapton, Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb and Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees)
NELSON MANDELA 70th BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE:
Keyboards , vocals
Keyboards / piano
Pictures below are taken during the first warm-up gig, 8th June 1988:
Pictures below are taken during the second warm-up gig, 9th June 1988:
To be fully prepaired for both
the Prince's Trust concerts and the Nelson Mandela warmup shows & main show,
Dire Straits and Eric Clapton rehearsed at Brixton Academy on 30th and 31st May
and 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 7th June 1988.
The picture below is most likely from one of these dates, otherwise from the first warm-up gig on 8th June 1988: Mark is wearing the same striped jacket and unstriped trousers.
And here a very rare picture
which definately is from the rehearsals as the band is sitting down and Mark
is using his black Pensa-Suhr.
This picture is most likely taken just before the famous Pensa-Suhr MK1 was finished, so somewhere just before the Prince's Trust concert on 5th June:
And a rare picture from the big day itself, most likely taken just before the band went on stage:
And a nice picture of Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton, waving the audience goodbye after the main show on 11th June 1988:
08.06.1988 Hammersmith Odeon London UK
09.06.1988 Hammersmith Odeon London UK
11.06.1988 Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert, Wembley Stadium London UK
here for a picture before the show
featuring Harry Belafonte, Whitney Houston and Mark Knopfler.
06.03.1989 Pontefract Park, Wakefield (Leeds), UK
Additional information: this was a concert from Brendan Croker and 'The 5 O'Clock Shadows with Mark Knopfler and Alan Clark as a special guests. Mark Knopfler's appearance was supposed to be a secret but it wasn't a very well kept one. A cue of about half a mile snaked it's way across Pontefract Park more than an hour before the doors opened. Below a few pictures from that special performance:
27.04.1989 Natural History Museum, London, UK
Additional information: this was a special performance to raise money for The Lung Foundation charity. It was called the Red Balloon Ball held in the The Dinosaur Room at The Natural History Museum, Kensington, London, UK. Other artists besides Mark Knopfler were David Gilmour, Gary Brooker, Sam Brown, Gary Moore and Chris Rea. They played the track A whiter shade of pale.
17.05.1989 The Anugraha Centre Egham UK
Additional information: this was a one-off charity concert by Dire Straits, 17th May 1989. It was a private "invited-guests only show" and the tickets were 125 UK Pounds each! It was done to raise money for the Life Education charity, which helps prevent drug abuse among young kids, and of which John Illsley is a committee member. The evening raised 40,000 UK Pounds! A nice mostly up-tempo set featuring Sultans of swing, Two young lovers, Walk of life, Romeo and Juliet, a calypso version of So far away, Money for nothing, a cover-version of Chuck Berry's hit Nadine and Twisting by the pool. See below a little article from The Sun:
18.06.1989 Polytechnic, Leeds, UK
Additional information: this was a concert from Brendan Croker and 'The 5 O'Clock Shadows with Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton as special guests. A few tracks from that performance ended up on a single called EP
09.10.1989 Mayfair Ballroom Newcastle UK
Additional info: Mark Knopfler lead his supergroup Dire Straits infront of just 700 people at the Mayfair Ballroom, Newcastle. The gala dinner concert was in support of North East Personality of the Year, Joanne Gillespie, 11 years old, who wrote the book 'Brave Heart' about her fight against cancer. The charity raised more than £45,000. Sadly, Joanne died in 1993. The pictures below show Mark playing at the show and Joanne Gillespie (with tongue out) and her sister Sarah together with Dire Straits. Remarkable is that Jack Sonni did not perform with Dire Straits anymore after the Brothers in arms tour, for this show he was replaced by Brendan Croker. Click here for a press release by Immediate.
From left to right; Alan Clark, Terry Williams, John Illsley, Sarah Gillespie, Mark Knopfler, Joanne Gillespie, Chris White, Guy Fletcher and Brendan Croker.
The official website from Brave Hearts of the North East mentions:
07.12.1989 Abbey Road Studios, London, UK
Roger Scott (23rd October 1943 - 31st October 1989) was a respected British radio disc jockey. He was best known for presenting an afternoon radio show on London's Capital Radio from 1973 until 1988. In June 1988, after fifteen years with Capital, he moved to commercial-free BBC Radio 1. There, he reached a national audience for the first time, presenting a Saturday afternoon show and a late night Sunday show. The Saturday show featured interviews with many artists, including Mark Knopfler. The Sunday shows were featuring 1950's rock'n'roll, soul, classic rock and more contemporary music. Roger Scott's last show was on Sunday 8th October 1989 and he sadly passed away on 31st of that month aged only 46, after a brief battle with cancer. A tribute programme about Roger's life on the air was broadcast by Radio 1 on 4th November 1989, entitled 'Radio, Radio', recorded just a few weeks before his death. On 7th December 1989, various artists gathered to pay a tribute to Roger at the Abbey Road Studios, London, UK. Mark Knopfler and Guy Fletcher are present to play a live version of Feel like going home with Mark on vocals. Mark has a pretty emotional speech, talking about making The Notting Hillbillies album and specially the last song Feel like going home. This song has a very special meaning because Mark wanted Roger to have a listen to it, but sadly passed away before the track was finished and recorded.
The artists of the memorial concert around a piano with Alan Freeman. Cliff Richard, Chris Rea, Mark Knopfler & Guy Fletcher, Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, Mark Germino:
And here an earlier picture of Mark Knopfler, Roger Scott and Randy Newman:
30.06.1990 Knebworth Park Hertfordshire UK
From left to right: Tessa Niles,
Nathan East, Guy Fletcher, Ray Cooper, Mark Knopfler, John Illsley, Eric
Clapton, Alan Clark, Steve Ferrone,
Greg Phillinganes, Phil Palmer,
Elton John and Katie Kissoon
Additional info: this was a charity concert in aid of the Nordoff-Robbis Music Theraphy Centre for providing music theraphy for handicapped children and the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology. For this historic event gathered 120.000 fans at Knebworth park. Mark Knopfler played three of his own songs with Eric Clapton's band with the addition of Guy Fletcher, Alan Clark and John Illsley: Solid rock, I think I love you too much and Money for nothing. Mark also played on a few tracks for Eric Clapton and Elton John: Pretending, Before you accuse me, Old love, Tearing us apart, Sarifice, Sad songs, Saturday night's all right (for fighting) and Sunshine of your love.
??.??.1991 Unknown location, UK
Somewhere in 1991, Mark Knopfler played guitar on Jeff Sadler's wedding. The pictures below are taken from the official Lindisfarne website.
Sadly, nobody had a tape running, so these pictures are the only evidence of this special performance.
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