The Sultans of swing couldn't have done it better themselves as Dire Streets took to the stage of the 'Royal' on Sunday night to pay tribute to one of the biggest rock bands in history, writes Paul Thomas.

John Brunsdon got his fingers picking in true Mark Knopfler style as his band brought the tunes of Dire Straits into the hearts of adoring fans at Windsor's Theatre Royal.

From Once Upon a Time in the West to Walk of Life, Romeo and Juliet, Private Investigations, Money for Nothing and Lady Writer, this cracking band had everyone clapping and up on their feet to some of the most memorable hits of the 70s and 80s.

John is a big fan of all things Fender-shaped and for Dire Streets plays a self-built guitar based on Knopfler’s famous red Fender Strat, a Highlander-equipped steel resonator rebuilt by Brook Guitars, a Godin Multiac electro-nylon and a ’99 Gibson Les Paul Standard.

John says: “Dire Streets is about playing some of my favourite songs to an audience who want to hear them – and hopefully doing the songs justice and giving the audience a good time.”

With Dik Chandler on drums, Gaz Keenan on guitar and backing vocals and Eoin McQuone on bass plus some fantastic sax playing this was so resonant of the band that changed the face of music.

It also speaks volumes about the quality of the acts theatre director Robert Miles has got lined for Sundays at the 'Royal'.

This was yet another great Sunday night out at our great theatre and there's more to come.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday sees Ellen Kent's Rigoletto, La Traviata and Madama Butterfly operas at the 'Royal' including live greyhounds and an eagle on stage.

Thursday sees a brilliant production of Great Expectations.

So ditch the boring tellybox and get down to the 'Royal'. It has something for everyone.

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