Mark Knopfler – Portobelle Belle – the only existing live video (Belfast 1996)

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Dire Straits/ Mark Knopfler live pictures and videos

Although Portobelle Belle from Dire Straits’ second album Communiqué was played on so many tours,  it seemed that there are no live videos of this song at all. It was played e.g. on each gig of the Love over Gold tour in 1982/3 which ended in the Alchemy live video concert but just this song was not included on the Alchemy video, neither on the original vinyl album or CD, nor on the VHS tape or on the recently reissued DVD/blueray version (an incomplete audio version was included on the greatest hits compilation CD Money for Nothing).

It was just a few weeks ago that I found the following video on youtube which in fact seems to be the only video of this song. It is from the Golden Heart tour, Mark’s first tour as a solo artist after the Dire Straits era. The song “about a long gone Irish girl” was played mainly on the Irish gigs of this tour and Mark was joined by some Irish folk musicians on stage.

From a guitar player’s point of view it is interesting to watch this video because I was never sure whether Mark played the song with his right hand in a fixed position (playing with thumb and two fingers and the right hand resting on the other two fingers) or with his hand swinging freely like he normally does when playing rhythm. Unfortunately the quality of the video is not too good but as it looks Mark used a mish-mash approach of the two styles, playing mainly with thumb and two fingers but moving the whole hand at least on the upbeat strokes.

It is also intersting that this song was played in different keys over the years. Originally in C major it was shifted to D on the On Location tour in 1980/1 (played on different guitars like on a Rickenbacker, see this blog post),  then down to Bb on the Lover over Gold tour, and back to C on the On Every Street tour in 1991/2 (compare this video) or here in 1996.

"Buy me a beer" - donate for the site via PayPal. Or buy a backing track in my online shop 🙂

Dire Straits – Portobello Belle – The Point, Dublin, 1991

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Dire Straits/ Mark Knopfler live pictures and videos

Again I found something nice on youtube I personally have never heard before: Portobello Belle from the On Every Street tour in 1991, performed at The Point in Dublin.. I have had one “official” bootleg (= silver pressed CD) called Strait to the Point from a Dublin gig of that tour (August 26 – they played there for 5 nights from August 23 – 27) but the one I have does not include Portobelle Belle (and neither some other rare songs performed there like Fade to Black, Long Highway, or Iron Hand). In fact it seems that Portobelle Belle was performed on that tour in Dublin only (correct me if I’m wrong) – well, it is a”song about a long gone Irish girl …”

This version starts with a sax intro by Chris White and ends with a ‘pedobro solo’ by Paul Franklin  (pedobro = an acoustic pedal steel with a dobro resonator, built by Paul Franklin’s father I think), and it is generally rather different from previous or later version. Mark plays the National Style-O it seems (it is an audience recording so the sound is not perfect) It does not feature much spectacular guitar playing, but a great version anyway. Enjoy!

"Buy me a beer" - donate for the site via PayPal. Or buy a backing track in my online shop 🙂

Mark Knopfler’s Rickenbacker of Portobello Belle live in 1981

Posted on 6 CommentsPosted in Dire Straits/ Mark Knopfler live pictures and videos, Guitars, Mark Knopfler gear

On the Making movies tour in 1981, Mark Knopfler played a Rickenbacker guitar on Portobello Belle. To my knowledge only one single picture exists with this guitar which is the one below.

Since I have this picture at a rather high resolution, I also put in an enlarged version with just that guitar.

I would be lying if I said I am an expert on Rickenbacker guitars, so feel free to suggest which model it is using the comment function.

"Buy me a beer" - donate for the site via PayPal. Or buy a backing track in my online shop 🙂