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    The radio concert of Dire Straits live at the Schouwburg in Rotterdam, October 19, 1978 was one of the earliest Dire Straits live bootlegs, and for this reason has been known for long among fans. However, I have never seen pictures of this concert (at least none with realizing that they were from this gig). Yesterday when browsing Dire Straits pictures at Getty Images I found some which were specified to be from just this famous gig.

    For copyright reasons I do not dare to show them here in full size, but you can click on them to open enlarged in a new tab at Getty Images (where you can also buy them in high resolution if you want).

    While watching the pictures, you might like to listen to a sample from this concert:

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    Dire Straits, Once Upon a Time in the West, Rotterdam, Netherlands, October 19, 1978

    The three picture show mark playing the #68354 rosewood Stratocaster, which he played on the complete late 1978 tour it seems (for more info see this blog article) over the HD 130 212 Music man amp. David plays the Peavey Deuce amp, I am not sure, but there might be a third amp right of the Peavey (third picture), no idea what this can be, on other late 1978 pictures or videos (e.g. Paris October 14, 1978, Chorus TV) there seem to be just the two amps.

    The following two pictures are said to be from the same location, something I personally doubt:

    I guess these are from early 1979 (probably in Germany), I think so because of a different red Strat (with the Music Man guitar strap), different sweat bands, Mark is wearing a neck lace etc. See the article on Angel of Mercy for more information on the guitar played in the left picture.

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    Mark Knopfler never played that much bottle-neck guitar on his albums or concerts, nevertheless he occasionally did: except Water of Love from the first Dire Straits album of course, songs like The Man’s too strong (from Brothers in Arms), Do America (from Sailing to Philadelphia), Money for Nothing intro (live version 2001 tour), or Right now (All the roadrunning) come to mind. (I guess there are more, but before thinking about these for too long I will leave it to you to add these with the comment function below this article).

    One song that was normally never played with a slide guitar is Angel of Mercy from Dire Straits’ Communiqué album (1979). However, the live version we have on some bootleg recordings from Germany, February 1979 features a slide lead guitar. On this tour Angel of Mercy was played as an encore, see more on this in this forum thread.

    Mark Knopfler on slide guitar live in 1979

    Before many will ask where they can hear this recording, I thought to write this article to include an audio clip. Enjoy:

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    Dire Straits, Angel of Mercy, Mannheim, Germany, February 14, 1979

    Edit March 27: original text:
    By the way, I have no idea which guitar he is playing here. Normally they had a black Fender Telecaster Thinline (from around 1969) tuned to open A on which Mark played Water of Love. So it would make sense that it is also the black Tele, as the Strats were setup for normal playing  with an action probably not suited for bottle-neck. On the other hand, Angel of Mercy does not call for an open tuning. I am afraid we will probably never know for sure :(

    Update March 27:
    If you read the comments to this article, you have probably seen the following picturs (thanks to Brunno):

    Click to open enlarged in new tab at Getty Images

    The description at Getty Images says that it was taken in Rotterdam, October 19, 1978 (like four other pictures , see also this article), but I think this picture one (and one other) are in fact from early 1979 (similar but not identical clothes, different guitar, Mark is wearing a neck lace, etc.). If so, this picture is the proof for a 12-string (a Burns Baldwin Double Six by the way) played with bottle-neck, and the song can be no other than Angel of Mercy.

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    Chris Rea Bombollini – live from Loreley 1985

    Posted in: Misc by Ingo on March 17, 2010


    This is the second time I want to feature Chris Rea here (first time: click here). The reason was that today I surfed into a video on youtube from a concert I watched about 25 years ago on television:  Chris Rea on a festival from the Loreley – that famous rock on the river Rhine-  that was live broadcasted by Germany’s WDR Rockpalast. By the way, Dire Straits also played there a festival gig some years before (summer 1979). It is a beatiful place and those summer evening concerts were always a highlight.

    The song is called Bombollini, a song from his 1984 album Wired to the Moon. I never liked this album that much because it sounds somewhat like a cheap and quick production to me although some of the songs were real gems. This song was the openener of the concert, and it always reminded me of the way Dire Straits used to open their concert at that time with Ride across the River: similar pace, similar groove, similar instrumentation to some extend -the flute, the bass marimba sound – … who knows, Chris Rea is known to be a huge Mark Knopfler fan.

    The song builds up more and more, ending with a guitar solo on Chris’ ’63 fiesta red Strat nick-named Pinky, played through a silver-face Fender Twin for the clean sounds and an old blonde Fender Bandmaster amp.

    But now enjoy:

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    Today I was on the Fender website and accidentally found a nice little tool there: the online guitar tuner.

    When you click on one of the six tuners of the peghead, the software will play a sample of the corresponding note, played with a clean Fender sound.

    There are some very useful options: loop on or off (the note will be played again and again in loop mode), and you can select the tuning – standard or all different kinds of open or special tunings. You can even create your own tuning.

    The only thing that is missing is the option to fine tune to another root pitch than 440Hz – but to be honest, not something many of us really need.

    I like the idea to tune the guitar using your ears instead of a tuner device – helps to keep your ears fit :)

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    I often read threads in forums about how to check if a certain part on a Fender vintage guitar is original or not. Of course there are countless books and websites which show many details that help to do so. However, there is one particular detail which is only rarely mentioned: the ‘dowel holes‘ on those old Fender bodies (I am not talking about ‘nail holes’ here!)

    Dowel holes

    If I understand it right, Fender used some clamps to hold the wood plank when sawing out the body. These clamps left two holes in the body which were filled with wooden dowels. These dowel holes are at exactly the same location on all old Stratocaster bodies – in fact all other models seem to have them as well, however, at completely different places than the Strat.

    Dowel holes (in red circles) on a '63 Stratocaster

    So if you happen to see an old stripped Fender body, you can easily spot these. New Fender and all the reissue bodies don’t have them. Thus this seems to be a reliable detail to tell an old body from a fake.

    ..and here on a '58 Strat at exactly the same two places

    And on a '66 Stratocaster

    Unfortunately, you normally can’t see them on a painted body, at least not easily. However, if you know exactly where they are and observe carefully the way the body reflects light at these places, you might see them through the finish. This is because old nitro finish is often really thin and the dowel holes leave a tiny inaccuracy in the body surface. And of course there are all those Stevie Ray Vaughn or Rory Gallagher-like looking battered Strats which are partly bare of any finish and allow to see those dowel holes directly.

    If you know where to search you can often even see them through the finish, like here on a '64 Strat

    I am not sure in which year these disappappeared, I guess somewhere in the 70ies, when Fender switched to a different method of cutting out the bodies.

    Theoretically  it is possible to fake these holes, too, but I think this is rarely done – yet …

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