Alchemy: Dire Straits Live

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Alchemy: Dire Straits Live
Live album by Dire Straits
Released 14 March 1984 (1984-03-14)
Recorded Hammersmith Odeon,
London,
22–23 July 1983
Genre Roots rock, blues rock,
progressive rock
Length 93:59
Label Vertigo
Warner Bros. (USA)
Producer Mark Knopfler
Dire Straits chronology
ExtendedancEPlay
(1983)
Alchemy: Dire Straits Live
(1984)
Brothers in Arms
(1985)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars [1]

Alchemy: Dire Straits Live is a double album and the first live album by the British rock band Dire Straits, released on 14 March 1984 by Vertigo Records internationally, and by Warner Bros. Records in the United States. Recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on 22–23 July 1983, the album features the band's best-known and fan-favourite songs from their first four albums, the ExtendedancEPlay EP, and the Local Hero soundtrack (composed by Mark Knopfler); many of the songs have reworked arrangements and/or extended improvisational segments. The album cover is taken from a painting by Brett Whiteley. Alchemy: Dire Straits Live was remastered and re-released on 8 May 2001.

Recording[edit]

Alchemy: Dire Straits Live was recorded live at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on 22–23 July 1983, the final two concerts of Dire Straits' eight-month Love Over Gold Tour promoting their album Love Over Gold. The concerts were recorded by Mick McKenna using the Rolling Stones Mobile unit. Nigel Walker was the recording engineer. The recording was mixed at AIR Studios in London in November 1983.[2]

"Tunnel of Love" is preceded by a roughly four-minute jam sequence that incorporates elements of the song, followed by the brief "Carousel Waltz" intro and standard version of the song (with improvisation sections).

Cover artwork[edit]

The album cover artwork was adapted from a section of a painting by Brett Whiteley titled Alchemy 1974.[2] Alchemy is a hypothetical process once believed to turn ordinary elements into gold. The image of a guitar with lips held by a hand was added for the album design. The original painting, done between 1972 and 1973, was composed of many different elements and on 18 wood panels 203 cm x 1615 cm x 9 cm. In terms of media it used everything from feathers and part of a bird's nest to a glass eye, shell, plugs and brain in a work that becomes a transmutation of sexual organic landscapes and mindscapes. It has been regarded as a self-portrait, a giant outpouring of energy and ideas brought forth over a long period of time.

Critical reception[edit]

Reviewing for AllMusic, critic William Ruhlmann wrote of the album "between the music, much of which is slow and moody, with Mark Knopfler's muttered vocals and large helpings of his fingerpicking on what sounds like an amplified Spanish guitar, and the audience response. The arena-size crowd cheers wildly, and claps and sings along when given half a chance, as though each song were an up-tempo rocker."[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs were written by Mark Knopfler, except where indicated.

LP[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Once Upon a Time in the West"   13:01
2. "Romeo and Juliet"   8:22
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Expresso Love"   5:41
2. "Private Investigations"   7:40
3. "Sultans of Swing"   10:48
Side three
No. Title Length
1. "Two Young Lovers"   4:51
2. "Tunnel of Love" (Extract from "The Carousel Waltz" by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II) 14:38
Side four
No. Title Length
1. "Telegraph Road"   13:19
2. "Solid Rock"   5:32
3. "Going Home – Theme from 'Local Hero"   4:58

CD[edit]

"Love over Gold", which had been released as a separate single in 1984, was added into the track list for the CD release, and the fade outs between sides 1 and 2 and sides 3 and 4 have been removed. A number of tracks had their length increased for the CD releases, and the track order is slightly different: "Romeo and Juliet" and "Expresso Love" are in reversed order.

Disc one
No. Title Length
1. "Once Upon a Time in the West"   13:01
2. "Expresso Love"   5:45
3. "Romeo and Juliet"   8:17
4. "Love Over Gold"   3:27
5. "Private Investigations"   7:34
6. "Sultans of Swing"   10:54
Disc two
No. Title Length
1. "Two Young Lovers"   4:49
2. "Tunnel of Love" (Extract from "The Carousel Waltz" by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II) 14:29
3. "Telegraph Road"   13:37
4. "Solid Rock"   6:01
5. "Going Home – Theme from 'Local Hero'"   6:05

Three other songs were recorded live, but not included on the official album releases: "Industrial Disease", "Twisting by the Pool" and "Portobello Belle", with an abbreviated version of the last song included on the compilation Money for Nothing, released in 1988.

Personnel[edit]

Dire Straits
Additional musicians
Production
  • Mark Knopfler – producer
  • Mick McKenna – recording engineer
  • Nigel Walker – engineer
  • Jeremy Allom – assistant engineer
  • Brett Whiteley – artwork (adapted from Alchemy 1974)
  • C More Tone Studios – design

Video release[edit]

Alchemy: Dire Straits Live
Video by Dire Straits
Released 1984 (VHS),
1995 (VHS remastered),
2010 (DVD, Blu-ray)
Recorded Hammersmith Odeon,
22–23 July 1983
Genre Roots rock, blues rock,
progressive rock
Length 90:00
Label PolyGram Video
Producer Mark Knopfler

The concert film was originally released in Beta, VHS video cassette and Laserdisc formats, and digitally remastered in 1995. A DVD and Blu-ray Disc version with newly remixed 5.1 DTS-surround mixes were released in May 2010. The new mixes have been prepared by Chuck Ainlay in 2009. The original film itself was digitally enhanced.[4] The song "Love over Gold" is not included in the video (it is included in the DVD and the Blu-ray), just like the original album, but is available on the compilation Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits. It includes a mix of the live band footage with circus spectacle scenes.

The video opens with scenes of the band in a pub playing pool, interspersed with concert clips. Playing over this is the song "Saturday Night at the Movies" performed by The Drifters. The music changes to the instrumental "Stargazer", from the film Local Hero, over external shots of a sold-out Hammersmith Odeon. The scene switches to the inside of the venue as Dire Straits are announced and walk onstage for the concert. The closing credits again use the Drifters' "Saturday Night at the Movies".

  • A Limelight Films Production
  • Director – Peter Sinclair
  • Film Editor – Peter Goddard
  • Soundtrack produced by Mark Knopfler
  • Recorded by Mick McKenna, Rolling Stones Mobile

Charts[edit]

Album[edit]

Chart (1984) Peak
position
Austrian Albums Chart[5] 9
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[6] 26
Dutch Charts Chart[7] 1
German Albums Chart[8] 8
New Zealand Albums Chart[9] 3
Norwegian Albums Chart[10] 7
Swedish Albums Chart[11] 19
Swiss Albums Chart[12] 3
UK Albums Chart[13] 3
US Billboard 200[14] 46

Video[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Australian Music DVDs Chart[15] 1
Austrian Music DVDs Chart[16] 5
Belgian (Flanders) Music DVDs Chart[17] 2
Belgian (Wallonia) Music DVDs Chart[18] 3
Danish Music DVDs Chart[19] 3
Dutch Music DVDs Chart[20] 5
Finnish Music DVDs Chart[21] 7
New Zealand Music DVDs Chart[22] 2
UK Music Videos Chart[23] 2

Certifications[edit]

Album[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[24] Gold 50,000^
France (SNEP)[25] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[26] Gold 250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[27] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[28] Gold 250,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Video[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[15] Gold 17,500^
Portugal (AFP)[29] Gold 4,000x

^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Alchemy: Dire Straits Live – Dire Straits". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Alchemy: Dire Straits Live (booklet). Dire Straits. Burbank, California: Warner Bros. Records. 1984. p. 12. 925085-2. 
  3. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/alchemy-dire-straits-live-mw0000189678
  4. ^ "Mark Knopfler News". Mark Knopfler. 4 August 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Dire Straits – Alchemy – Dire Straits Live". Austriancharts.at (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "100 Albums". RPM 40 (11): 8. 19 May 1984. ISSN 0033-7064. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "Dire Straits – Alchemy – Dire Straits Live". GfK Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Top 100 Longplay". Charts.de (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  9. ^ "Dire Straits – Alchemy – Dire Straits Live". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Dire Straits – Alchemy – Dire Straits Live". Norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Dire Straits – Alchemy – Dire Straits Live". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "Dire Straits – Alchemy – Dire Straits Live". Hitparade.ch (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "1984-03-24 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive | Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "Alchemy: Dire Straits Live – Dire Straits: Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "ARIA Top 40 Music DVD" (PDF). The ARIA Report (1056): 23. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "Austria Top 40 – Musik-DVDs Top 10 04.06.2010". Austriancharts.at (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  17. ^ "Ultratop 10 Muziek-DVD". Ultratop (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "Ultratop 10 DVD Musicaux". Ultratop (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "Musik DVD Top-10". Hitlisten.nu (in Danish). IFPI Denmark. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  20. ^ "DVD Music Top 30". GfK Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "Suomen Virallinen Lista – Musiikki DVD:t 20/2010". Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland (in Finnish). Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  22. ^ "Top 10 Music DVDs". RIANZ. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  23. ^ "2010-05-22 Top 40 Music Video Archive | Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  24. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Dire Straits – Alchemy". Music Canada. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  25. ^ "French album certifications – DIRESTRAITS – Alchemy: Dire Straits Live" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 6 March 2013.  Select DIRESTRAITS and click OK
  26. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Dire Straits; 'Alchemy')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  27. ^ "British album certifications – Dire Straits – Alchemy". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 6 March 2013.  Enter Alchemy in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  28. ^ "American album certifications – Dire Straits – Alchemy". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 6 March 2013.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  29. ^ "Top Oficial AFP". Artistas & Espectáculos (in Portuguese). Associação Fonográfica Portuguesa. Archived from the original on 15 July 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 

External links[edit]