More early Dire Straits pictures: unknown 1978 gig

The late 70ies were long before the invention of the digital camera. There would be so many more pictures of all kind of events if everyone could take pictures as easily as today. As this was not the case, the majority of all pictures of rock bands from that time were taken by professional photographers who sold them to magazines or newspapers, making their pictures public this way. For this reason  I was sure that almost all of these pictures of the early Dire Straits era have by now appeared here or there in the web and that we won’t see many new ones anymore.

It was a nice surprise that I lately found some pictures I have not seen before, like the one of a 1977 gig covered in the last blog post, or some new pictures of the gig at the Clapham Common Bandstand in Andra Nelki’s photostream at flickr  (might be covered in one of the next blog posts), or the following seven pictures from a 1978 gig that are featured with this post.

Unknown Dire Straits  gig – about summer 1978

I am absolutely sure that these pictures are from 1978, approximately between late May and late July. I always base such assumptions on the gear: here we have the 80470 maple-board Strat over two Fender Twin Reverbs into Marshall cabs, pretty much the same setup as we see on the promotional video clips of Sultans of Swing and Wild West End (filmed June 12) or in the Revolver TV appearance (July 9). The Live at the BBC live CD and the ‘Barbarellas’ bootleg was also recorded during this time (July 19 and July 4).

Mark with his #80470 Strat – having the pickguard of his #68354 Strat, but without the black volume knob. That black tape (?) under the tremolo appeared only in mid 1978. I am not sure for what purpose it was, maybe to stop some vibration (?). It seems to be under the tremolo, otherwise I would have suspected it was to protect his hand against sharp edges of the bridge saddles (any more ideas ? – then use the comments function to tell us).

This picture shows the gear they were using at that time probably better than any other we have from this era. In the background we can see Mark’s sunburst 1966 Telecaster Custom (the earliest picture with this guitar I think), almost hidden by David but still visible is the Les Paul Special, and David’s black Telecaster Thinline.

The two Fender amps should be Twin Reverbs, both into Marshal cabs. There is another Fender amp right of these, so I would guess that Mark plays both of the Twins and David the other.

Then we can clearly see the Morley volume pedal (left) , and the green MXR analog delay (right). Mark used a spiral cable before and behind the volume pedal. I am not sure if there is “something” in front of the Morley. Also I have no idea what the silver “switch” (?) in front of the MXR is (it is not the switch of the MXR which must be behind the knobs, not in front). Left of the MXR we might see a footswitch of one of the Twin Reverbs.

In the dressing room – lots of guitar cases, the sunburst Telecaster, a Precision Bass, Pick with his practising drum kit, and Mark tuning the red Strat.

12 thoughts on “More early Dire Straits pictures: unknown 1978 gig

  1. Since Mark was changing pickguards at this point, perhaps the tape could be to hold in a loose screw?

    1. Maybe.. But me too when I first saw the tape I thought was sticked for sharped edges as Ingo said. That’s the most physical. Great pics Ingo!!!

  2. Do you think the tremolo was flush with the body and wanted to close a smalll gap back from the tremolo plate? Because 5 springs and a floating tremolo seems difficult..

    1. It rather seems to me that the tremolo is not floating but flat or at least almost flat (so that pulling it causes a bit of vibrato). No idea how many springs, the other Strat was without tremolo cover, and some of the poor quality pictures we have from its backside might suggest “many” springs, but this one always has the cover. We might assume that he had the same numbers of springs in both of his Strats, well, he might have or he might not

      1. Yes I suppose too, not floating because never on double bends the others strings go flat. The other strat that I have seen on two videos got 5 springs and seem tight.

    1. David’s Strat was refinished (black) as it seems at the same time (late summer /early autums 1978) as Mark’s 1961 Strat (the one with the rosweood fingerboard). This is the maple-board Strat (which was already refinished on the first pictures we have of it)

  3. Yesterday, by reading topic about Mark and David on AMIT, when clicking on a link about David’s response, I found at the bottom of the page this link :

    do you know these pics ? I’ve never seen them before. seems to be from late 78 ? the rosewood strat seems tob be red, although pics are B&W, and the strap is the thin one

    1. I did not know these pictures before. They are labelled to be from Hamburg 1978 (where they played on October 28). I guess this is correct.

      I used to think that Mark started to use the Music Man guitar strap on this tour from the Hamburg gig on, but I have to correct it. Hamburg was the last day with the thin brown strap, and on the next day (Berlin October 29) he had the Music Man strap. He still might have bought the strap in Hamburg (where Europe’s Music Man distributor was located at that time) but did not use it on the same evening but on the next.

      In the pictures I have which I thought to be from Hamburg all gear and the clothes they wear etc. are identical, just the Music Man strap seems to be new. In one magazine the name of the photograper is given (Jim Rakete) who is a known photographer from Berlin, so we have pics identified from Hamburg Oct. 28 and from Berlin Oct. 29 now.

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