LISTEN: Nik Brown speaks with Dire Straits' John Illsley about their iconic 86' NZ show

Morning Sound 09/03/2022

In 1986, Dire Straits played on of the biggest tours of all time including four NZ shows.

As part of the Brothers in Arms world tour, the band sold over 900,000 tickets in the southern hemisphere alone. Something which bassist, John Illsley, says was obviously very satisfying.

"For a start you probably knew you got your costs covered" Illsley joked.

Speaking with Nik Brown, Illsley says it did take the band by surprise just how big their following was in New Zealand and Australia.

"we were all impressed when we got on the plane and flew over thinking, this is going to be, this is going to be a good tour."

Speaking of taking that next step in Dire Straits musical career, from playing pub gigs, to performing in front of thousands at Western Springs and Mount Smart Stadium, Issley says there's a natural progression.

"What happens is you become a little bit more detached from the audience, so you become much more of a performer. You have to make a lot more movements on the stage."

"When you're on a long tour and I think the tour was over 200 shows you, you become sort of like a almost like an actor in a scene."

After being asked the tough question of which Dire Straits song is his favourite to perform, Issley said:

"I always say brothers in arms because I think that's one of those sort of songs, which is what is particularly relevant at the moment. But. You know, I think that's one of those songs that has a depth to it, which reaches very far into the state of of us as human beings and how we respond to each other."

As well as talking the iconic 86' shows, Illsley also spoke about owning his own pub, and a TV series he had started.

I had this idea some time ago, and I was discussing it with a mate of mine who was actually a worked for, you know, worked for a film production company.

"I had an idea for a series of guitarists, you know, well-known guitars talk about why they chose a particular guitar for a particular song and what it meant to them"

Listen to the full interview above.