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Alchemy Import


Price: £40.99
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Amazon's Dire Straits Store

Music

Image of album by Dire Straits

Photos

Image of Dire Straits

Biography

Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Dire Straits emerged during the post-punk era of the late '70s, and while their sound was minimalistic and stripped down, they owed little to punk. If anything, the band was a direct outgrowth of the roots revivalism of pub rock, but where pub rock celebrated good times, Dire Straits were melancholy. Led by guitarist/vocalist Mark Knopfler, the ... Read more in Amazon's Dire Straits Store

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for 77 albums, photos, discussions, and more.

Product details

  • Audio CD (25 Oct. 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Warner Bros
  • ASIN: B000002L5V
  • Other Editions: Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 189,797 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Once Upon A Time In The West
2. Expresso Love
3. Romeo And Juliet
4. Love Over Gold
5. Private Investigations
6. Sultans Of Swing
Disc: 2
1. Two Young Lovers
2. Tunnel Of Love
3. Telegraph Road
4. Solid Rock
5. Going Home-Theme From 'Local Hero'

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Sherlock on 9 Oct. 2000
Format: Audio CD
from the gentle start of 'Once upon a time in the west' to the high peak of 'Sultans' and then easing down to 'Local Hero', this album never fails to impress. All your dire straits favourites extended and with extra twiddly bits. The highlight is the 6 minutes of pure genius going by the name of 'Sultans of Swing'. Just when it looks like taking a break from it's virtuoso guitar to give you a rest, it starts up again, faster, louder and even more twiddly. Absolutely wonderful!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Themis-Athena on 4 Oct. 2006
Format: Audio CD
Have you ever wondered how many variations of a song, or of a song's theme a band can perform live without ever getting boring? Ever listened to somebody play and wished he'd never stop because he is just that great? "Alchemy" is exactly that kind of experience. Recorded two years before what was probably their most successful studio album ("Brothers in Arms"), this more than 90 minute-long live release easily explains why Dire Straits took off with rocket speed in a time otherwise dominated by disco music on the one hand and punk on the other, and why to this day they are considered one of the greatest rock bands ever to have existed. Listen to the first chords of "Once Upon a Time in the West," and you'll know why Mark Knopfler is, in addition to all his other accomplishments, a much sought-after film score composer. Listen to "Romeo and Juliet," and you'll understand why the greatest love story ever told truly is more than a story of two rich kids born to feuding families a couple of centuries ago in Italy, and holds as much truth for us streetwise teenagers of the late 20th century as it did 400 years ago. Listen to "Telegraph Road," and you`ll find a dark, brooding novel of epic proportions condensed into one song, culminating with as haunting and intense a guitar solo as you'll ever hear - by Mark Knopfler or others.

From their first studio album on, Dire Straits defied the three-minute limits imposed by the conventions of radio airplay. But it has always been in a live venue that Mark Knopfler's talent shines most, and that he is able to fully explore all that his Fender will give him ... and more.
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By kris on 16 Feb. 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 95 reviews
76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
Makes you wish they'd go on and on and on! 2 July 2001
By Themis-Athena - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Have you ever wondered how many variations of a song, or of song's theme a band can perform live without ever getting boring? Ever listened to somebody play and wished he'd never stop because he is just that great? "Alchemy" is exactly that kind of experience. Recorded two years before what was probably their most successful studio album ("Brothers in Arms"), this more than 90 minute-long live release easily explains why Dire Straits took off with rocket speed in a time otherwise dominated by disco music on the one hand and punk on the other, and why to this day they are considered one of the greatest rock bands ever to have existed. Listen to the first chords of "Once Upon a Time in the West," and you'll know why Mark Knopfler is, in addition to all his other accomplishments, a much sought-after film score composer. Listen to "Romeo and Juliet," and you'll understand why the greatest love story ever told truly is more than a story of two rich kids born to feuding families a couple of centuries ago in Italy, and holds as much truth for us streetwise teenagers of the late 20th century as it did 400 years ago. Listen to "Telegraph Road," and you`ll find a dark, brooding novel of epic proportions condensed into one song, culminating with as haunting and intense a guitar solo as you'll ever hear - by Mark Knopfler or others.

From their first studio album on, Dire Straits defied the three-minute limits imposed by the conventions of radio airplay. But it has always been in a live venue that Mark Knopfler's talent shines most, and that he is able to fully explore all that his Fender will give him ... and more. Each song on this double CD is extended as compared to its respective studio version; no less than four of them ("Once Upon a Time in the West," "Sultans of Swing," "Tunnel of Love" and "Telegraph Road") are over ten minutes long, three even over 13 minutes - only a Dire Straits live album would make it necessary for "just" 11 songs to be spread out over two discs. But these recordings are not about length. They are about one man's dialogue with his guitar, the poetry of his lyrics, his awareness of society; in short, all that great music stands for and can express. Gifted as he is, Mark Knopfler has always found musicians who are exceptionally talented in their own right to provide a foundation he can build on, and this early (although not the earliest) incarnation of Dire Straits is no exception. Yet this band, in all of its formations over the course of the years, was as dominated by Knopfler's musical genius as few other bands have ever been, and nothing could have made this clearer than their live recordings; an experience only surpassed by actually witnessing Knopfler live on stage, particularly as he just seems to get better and better over the course of the years. "Telegraph Road" alone, the dramatic finale of his unforgettable live appearance during the recent "Sailing to Philadelphia" tour, left me completely stunned and wishing the show would go on and on for hours more.

"Anybody who finds nothing to love here has either got a problem with the essential fabric of rock and roll or cloth ears," writes British music journalist Robert Sandall in the introduction to Dire Straits' greatest hits album, "Sultans of Swing." And while this is true for anything they have ever released over the course of their career, and likewise for each and every one of Knopfler's solo albums and movie scores, you have to have more than cloth ears and a problem with the things that rock music is all about not to be inspired by this incredible piece of live recording.

Also recommended:
On the Night
Dire Straits
Night in London
Sailing to Philadelphia (CD & DVD Audio)
Local Hero (1983 Film)
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
The Way a Live Show Should Be 18 April 2001
By Russell Diederich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Mark Knopfler and boys know how to put together a great show. This energy-packed ninety minutes of raw music is how live shows should be done. If you are one that is looking for the songs straight off the studio albums, better look someplace else. Music is a living entity that changes each time it's played. Knopfler doesn't keep within the restraints of the original format of the song and uses his guitar as a medium to explore the possibilities in longer, more intricate pieces.
Knopfler is a great guitar player, but he is even more so when he is standing under the lights before an audience. His perfectionist attitude and desire to play to his fans allows him to rise to the occasion of superb showmanship. Don't listen to a Dire Straits studio album immediately after listening to this live album - it will sound lifeless and flat in comparison.
"Sultans of Swing" closes the first of the two discs in this set. Listen how Knopfler's end solo is used to build and relieve tension by changing his volume and intensity, even providing a space for the crowd to become involved. Check out his solo work on "Two Young Lovers" and "Tunnel of Love" and hear notes played with a feeling that no studio album has been able to capture.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
AMONG THE BEST LIVE RECORDINGS EVER ! 3 Nov. 1999
By "craig_paul" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"Alchemy" matches Dylan and The Band's "Before The Flood" in intensity. Mark Knopfler is at his best here with wonderfully layered arrangements of Tunnel Of Love, Telegraph Road, Romeo And Juliet, and with the incredibly powerful rendition of Sultans Of Swing. The theme from the film Local Hero is a definite bonus - very moving.
Knopfler's guitar virtuosity is simply amazing - obviously evident on all the studio albums, but even more impressive live and raw. I purchased this recording on vinyl the day it hit the stores, wore it out, bought the compact disc, and have listened to it as often as anything i own.
Dire Straits is the band that got me through the late 70's / early 80's wasteland of popular music and the group never let me down, and never sounded any better than on this absolutely essential recording. Knopfler's smokey voice and unbelievable guitar playing, coupled with a tight backup cast (Mel Collins' saxophone adds a great feel) make for a great listening experience.
Whether dancing to Solid Rock or crying while listening to the moving version of Romeo And Juliet, the album has something to evoke every emotion.
Buy this disc right now, and - if it still can be found - pick up the "Alchemy" video. It's worth it. Trust me.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Fitting showcase for greatest piece of music ever recorded 21 Dec. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have been a Dire Straits fan of moderate sorts since the early 80's, but I can assure you that this album changed my whole perspective, not just on the band, not just on live albums, but on music. No other live album I can remember has so many good songs, all of which sound great, better and more musical live than in the studio album. I have seen 150+ live acts, but I don't think any of them could have compared to the fantastic guitar work of Mark Knopfler on this double live album.
While I enjoyed the band's debut album and found "Sultans of Swing" quite catchy, I was completely unprepared for the live version of Sultans. No other song, work of art, literature or architecture has ever been this intensely emotional and beautiful. I have heard and enjoyed thousands of songs and performances of every type of music, but none even begins to compare to live Sultans of Swing. Quite simply, it is the finest piece of music, of any genre, ever recorded. Period. It is perfect, the equivalent of a date in which you and your partner suddenly and for the very first time, find that you are in love, so head-over-heals in love that you lose track of the passage of time for hours.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The best Live concert in the 80's....it must be..! 12 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This 2 CD album has many very terrific tracks which are totally perfect to play live, and no one does it better than Dire Straits, so once again great storys in the songs, all of them and the instrumental sound is fantastic , they plays very good in good teamwork, M.K, Hal lindes, etc...and john illsley, etc. best bass player. One of the best songs here are "Sultans Of Swing", perfectly played in live, and "Telegraph Road", "Private Investigations", these are totally brilliant, and the others are great too. And "Going Home" is a good finish on the album. I like the pocketpictures too, it's art to me... the arrows fits very well, to their music,on several ways. Live whitout crowd nosie is not live, so this album have no problems whith this.And i miss "industrial Disease" here.Too bad, that this great heavy rocking song not is playing Live on this album. But thats no problem, the album is great anyway. I like his clothes too. A percect album, buy it it's worth the money, and even more...... thanks, JOHN. L
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