What happens when Dire Straits is in your town?

What happens when Dire Straits is in your town?


This is the story of Ingo Raven one German fan of Dire Straits, back in 1980 he was at one concert in Dortmund and that was his first concert that he had ever been. That was Dire Straits concert and through memory he explains this.

Dire Straits concert from the German Rock Pop in Concert TV show in December 1980 was a very special concert for one German fan of Dire Straits. The reason is simple, that concert was the first concert of his life. He was 15 then and had been a Dire Straits fan for one year and a half.

In that time Dire Straits were still a new band, but they were already big. The first two albums had both been mega-sellers in Germany and they had just released their third album Making Movies.

Dortmund is a city at the eastern edge of the Ruhrgebiet, one of Europe’s biggest urban areas and for this fan in that time was his hometown, so it was no question for him to go on this concert as soon as he heard of it.

“The ticket was 20.00 DM (German Marks, about 10.00 Euros now), really not much for something that was not only a concert of one of the biggest bands in the world, but in fact a complete festival evening with four bands. That night there was: Talking Heads, Roxy Music, Dire Straits and Mike Oldfield”, said Ingo.

Before the show, something amazing happened

There were even two shows, the first on Friday (Friday, 19 December 1980) and the second on the next day (Saturday, 20 December 1980). His ticket was for Saturday. But before the show, for this fan something amazing happened.

“The concert officially began at 07:00 pm, it was about midday. That day I got a phone call from a girl who was a class mate of mine, saying something like “I am here at the Westfalenhalle, Dire Straits are sitting in the hotel lounge next to it, they are really nice and I already got lots of autographs. You better hurry…”, said Ingo.

“I was there about one hour later, with no car, I had to take the bus – remember I was a kid and together with one friend of mine who was also a Dire Straits fan we took a bus and went there. Remember some band members were still sitting in the café next to the arena. I think that was Allan Clark and Hal Lindes, they were new in the band, and I did not even know about them at that time, neither did I know their manager Ed Bicknell. All I remember is that John Illsley which was the bass player of Dire Straits was there, but neither Mark or drummer Pick Withers. I still have those John Illsley autographs…I asked where Mark was, and someone gave me directions that he is in his hotel room and coming here, he was in the hotel elevator in that moment and came down soon”, added Ingo.

“We were waiting there, and I do not remember how many times the elevator door was opened and every time from the door came random people. Someone from the band gave us advice to go to the next hotel café which also was near the arena, and there to try to find them for autographs. It was only a few minutes later, when the elevator doors opened again, and I still clearly remember that there was only one single guy in it – it was Mark Knopfler. We were not the only ones waiting for Mark Knopfler, there were other guys who were waiting also for him for autographs. We got an autograph, but there was no time for a chat”, said Ingo.

Rhythm guitarist Hal Lindes.
Dire Straits at soudcheck, Dortmund, December 20, 1980.
Mark Knopfler at the soundcheck.

“The girl who had phoned me that day was even more lucky, she managed to get into the arena. I remember she regularly did so to collect autographs from all bands she liked, and she watched Dire Straits during the sound check. She even took some pictures. I also remember she told me later that she was just watching them from in front of the stage, when Mark came over to the stage front to give her an autograph (she did not even had to ask for it)”, finished Ingo.

Autographs from John Illsley.

The show

In that time the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund was one of the biggest Europe venues. There were two stages one at each end of the oval shaped arena. Talking Head and Roxy Music was alright, but for them they were not more than some kind of support act. Dire Straits’ show was spectacular and left a deep impression in fans that were there then. For Ingo Raven, like a 15 year old boy watching his first concert that was absolutely amazing. Many of Dire Straits fans know that concert from videos and TV. Years after Ingo read one interview of Hal Lindes and Pick Withers where they said that then they had one of the worst sound from all four bands, and on TV that was terrible to listen to.

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