The first time I saw Dire Straits at Newcastle Poly (now University of Northumbria) on 3rd November 1978. In those days it was difficult to get into gigs at the Poly unless you were a student so you had to stand outside and try and get someone to sign you in. As luck would have it as me and my mate Keith were standing there two girls I’d met queuing for Eric Clapton tickets outside the City Hall came along and they signed us in!
I’d seen Dire Straits on the OGWT and subsequently bought their first album so I was looking forward to seeing them. I can’t remember what they played but I suspect they played the entire first album and possibly a couple of new songs that ended up on Communique. I seem to recall that when they came back for the encore somebody shouted for Sultans of Swing to which Knopfler replied “we’ve already played it” The response was play it again so they did!
(photo not from gig – photographer unknown)
The gig finished quite late and my friend had to phone his dad to come and pick us up which didn’t go down very well! It was usually my dad that got lumbered but I think he was away so it was good for someone else to have to do it! As we were waiting at the side of the stage someone asked us if we wanted to go and meet the band so naturally we said yes! We were escorted backstage and sat taking to the band in a room. Someone passed me a joint which I then offered to both my friend and Knopfler but both refused!
My mate who played the guitar asked Knopfler about his playing style to which he replied that he just got sick of dropping plectrums! I got him to sign my ticket (shown above -the other side just said admit one so it’s probably a good job I got Mark Knopfler to sign it) When I asked him to sign it he said why? I replied because you’ll be massive one day! Shame I never got the chance to say “told you so!”
Setlist was probably something like
Down to the Waterline
Six Blade Knife
Once Upon a Time in the West
Single Handed Sailor
Water of Love
In the Gallery
Follow Me Home
What’s the Matter Baby
Sultans of Swing
Ticket price was £1
Support was Lee fardon & The Legionaires