REVIEW: The Straits, Ipswich Regent, Thursday

IF you closed your eyes at the Ipswich Regent on Thursday night it was easy to image you had been transported back 30 years in time.

It was December 1980 that the theatre first reverberated to the unmistakable sound of Dire Straits, who continued to entertain audiences worldwide until 1995.

Such was the response to their performance after the band was initially put together for a charity concert in London, The Straits are now bringing back to life the original band’s catalogue of music live on stage – and how.

This is no tribute act as in the genial Alan Clark on keyboards, the splendid Chris White on saxophone and guitarist Phil Palmer, The Straits feature three members who played in Dire Straits.

Finding a vocalist to not only replace the soft, gravelly tones of Mark Knopfler but also play guitar was an unenviable task, but in Mozambique-born Terence Reis, The Straits certainly struck gold.

From the haunting opening track Private Investigations, via the magnificent Telegraph Road, Walk of Life, Romeo and Juliet, Tunnel of Love, Communique and Brothers in Arms, The Straits captivated the audience.

Sultans of Swing, inevitably, had the audience off their seats and rocking in the aisles and a richly-deserved standing ovation followed before an encore featuring Money for Nothing and Portobello Belle rounded off an unforgettable one-and-three-quarter hour set.

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Folk rock singer Jon Allen kicked-off proceedings with a 30-minute set on what was a truly memorable evening, enhanced by the fact that the band say they will keep playing as long as audiences wish to hear them. They should be around for a long time to come.