Talking Heads live in 1978 – Encores with Mark Knopfler and John Illsley

It is always a nice surprise to see “historic” pictures or recordings appear from the very early Dire Straits era. This time no pictures but a recording from the Talking Heads tour in early 1978  – to be precise ,  from February 5 at the Greyhound Croydon. This was the last gig of the Talking Heads tour on which Dire Straits were the support band, 5 days after the gig in Leeds which is – with the exception of the song Eastbound Train that was recorded live in 1977 and released as b-side of the Sultans of Swing single –  the first existing Dire Straits live recording.

On this Talking Heads recording, Mark appeared on two encore songs It seems a third one – Gloria – was played on that concerts but it is missing on the recording, too bad. John Illsley also appeared on one of the two. So it is really a very early diamond that was dug out (the full recording is available at the Spanish City tracker – thank you guys for your great work over there).

The first song with Mark is called I’m Not In Love. Unfortunately he is rather low in the mix, and as it as an audience recording )of course …) plus the fact that Talking Heads already had two guitar players on stage, it is hard to identify what exactly he is playing, and what the other two guitar players. The bright rhythm guitar should be David Byrne, but the second guitarist Jerry Harrison has a similar sound and makes identifying a bit difficult.

Here is an excerpt of the song I’m Not In Love, the first solo you hear is probably Mark (as said very low in the mix), while the second solo (starting at 0:50) might be Jerry Harrison. Another solo, starting at 1:56, is IMHO Mark again.


The second song is Psycho Killer (one of their hits, so you might know this one). Interestingly it was played before on that concert, and then again as an encore with Mark and John Illsley. Comparing both versions makes it easier to tell what is Mark – probably the guitar parts that were not there in the first version (in which we hear also a guitar solo, but much louder). I think Mark’s solo starts around 0:40, while another guitarist plays the riff starting at 1:00. Then Mark plays the licks and solo parts during the rest of the song.


Talking Heads on stage a few weeks later (May 1978)

One thought on “Talking Heads live in 1978 – Encores with Mark Knopfler and John Illsley

  1. Hi – I can remember seeing Dire Straits in May 79 ish at Hammersmith and the Talking Heads joining them for the 3rd encore when again they played Gloria.

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