Some swing for Saturday.....
That song.....and that era,was the "best of times" for us Boomers
It was 1978. I was living in Orlando. I heard Dire Straits was playing at a hall in Tampa. All I had heard from them up to that point was "Sultans of Swing." The album had just been released, and I had not picked it up yet. Tickets were reasonable, $13 if I remember correctly. I drove a little over an hour to get to Tampa and found the hall, walked in and saw that there was a huge stage, something like you would see at an assembly in high school The stage was set with a lot of sound equipment, a few guitars on stands. and a drum set in the middle of the stage. There was a guy up front talking to the few people that had gathered there. I wasn't expecting much of a crowd to show up to listen to this semi-folk, Dylanesque group who sang about a blues-based band straight out of the forties. Still, the guy greeting folks was down to earth and talking about his first real trip to the Colonies. I had seen this sort of thing before and was convinced he was a roadie passing time until the show started.
A half-hour later, about a hundred people had gathered. A four-piece local band took the stage and play a mercifully short set. Then Dire Straits walked out, led by the guy we were talking to before the show! Their first song was "Six Blade Knife." It was good but pretty much lived up to my expectations of the band. The next song was "Down to the Waterline." In the middle of the song, Knopfler stepped to the front of the band and began to rip off a guitar solo the like of which I had never heard before. He was was incredibly fast! The "crowd" was gathered at the foot of the stage, almost everyone within feet of Knopfler. No one was distracted; everyone was in awe of what he was doing. I was familiar with some of the great guitar gods of the late sixties and early seventies. But, I had never heard someone so fast and so...precise! I was positive he was playing with multiple picks right up until I sidled up to the front and saw that he had no picks at all! And...he was using no pedals! It was pure, raw talent, not bending the notes and stretching them out but still making the guitar do amazing things. He played with unbridled passion, leading the band through over three hours of songs, almost all of them punctuated with that unearthly guitar and a band that could churn behind him without ever missing a beat, until he stood at the mic, totally spent, and said, "That's all we know!"
Then he met everyone at the exit and thanked them for coming to the concert, apologizing for not preparing more material! I shook his hand. His fingers were incredibly calloused and hard. I said, "That was amazing! You're one of the best players I've ever heard!" He said, "I'm working on it!" I went back to Orlando and started buying the album for friends.
As a young man, I grew up with heavy metal and the British New Wave Of Heavy Metal played its part in my musical life in the early 1980's.
There was nothing else for me.
Judas Priest and Saxon, along with all the other English heroes of that time.
From the US came KISS, which is no heavy metal, but more like a heavy rock.
Suddenly Dream Theater and Queensryche came into my spotlights...
Two groups of highly talented musicians making music I had never heard of before.....
And let's not forget Joe Satriani and Steve Vai and the likes.
And I must really say, in heavy metal I found fantastic albums.
Like, what musician produces also instrumental albums ?
Liquid Tension Experiment (Dream Theater).
And what musician produces concept-albums where complete stories are told ?
King Diamond and Dream Theater.
What musician produces an album where the American Soldier during its many battles is heard ?
But, as I see it now, they all can not be compared to the Canadian musician Devin Townsend, a brilliant bizarre musical mind in a human body.....
He produced albums that can not be described properly.
According to many people who know him, he is totally otherwordly..........with musical escapades that range from jazz, to extreme-metal, to yoga, to folk, to polka-ish.... to metal ...........and beyond.
With the Dutch Anneke van Giersbergen and the Canadian Che-Aimee Dorval he just enlightens my days.
Many vocal coaches are just amazed at what he can accomplish with his voice....
a story so well told, of a time many of us never got quite that close to.....Bravo JK