After Coldplay, another British rock band Dire Straits is now performing in the country to bring about a ‘change’
Playing for a ‘cause’ seems to be the new mantra among foreign musicians visiting India. In January, British rockers Coldplay performed in Mumbai as part of the Global Citizen Festival “to encourage social change across the country”. Be it gender equality, clean water and sanitation or quality education, Global Citizen Festival is aimed at eradicating the issues that plague nations.
Now, it’s the turn of another British rock band Dire Straits, which is here in India to play for a ‘change’. The cause we are talking about is sustainable drinking water that the classic rockers are aiming to provide to villagers in Rajasthan through their maiden tour of the country. While the band mesmerised its fans with some of its greatest hits, including Money for Nothing, Walk of Life, Brothers in Arms, Sultans of Swing, Romeo and Juliet and Tunnel of Love, in Gurugram on Friday, it’s all set to set the stage on fire in Bengaluru on Sunday.
Ahead of their concert in Gurugram on Friday, band member Chris White said, “India had always been on our list of countries where we wanted to perform, but never got the opportunity. So when the organisers (Pernod Ricard India, through its initiative ‘Seagram’s 100 Pipers Music CDs Play for a Cause’) invited us to be a part of this noble initiative, we were really excited. The power of music is incredible and it brings together people across nations and cultures. We are happy to become a part of this great event, which is bringing music and artistes together to make a difference to society.”
Fans of the legendary band, however, should note that apart from White, who plays the saxophone and flute, the only other member to belong to the original line-up is Chris Whitten on drums. The duo are being supported in the lead by Terence Reis (lead vocals and guitar), Tim Walters (vocals and guitar), Simon Carter (piano, organ and keyboards), Danny Schogger (piano, organ and keyboards) and Paul Geary (vocals and bass guitar). Together, they are reviving the Dire Straits catalogue for fans under the name ‘Dire Straits Experience’.
While guitarist Mark Knopfler, who exited the band in 1995, has performed twice in India (the last time was in 2005), the current tour will see the two other former members of Dire Straits perform for the first time in the subcontinent. “For us, India only meant Bollywood and Life of Pi,” says lead vocalist Reis, who is now fronting the band in Knopfler’s absence. “But we’ve got to experience a completely different side of the country during our current visit,” he adds.
Talking about Dire Straits’ music, which surprisingly finds takers even today—especially among a generation that is growing up on YouTube stars and social media sensations—White says, “I have been truly amazed and humbled by the response we have had from fans on hearing these songs again and again. It has been so great to reconnect with people and see them still getting so much from this music. Also, it is fantastic to make new friends among the many young people who are now discovering Dire Straits. So many people still want to experience this live.”