Like any other tourist with a bagpack, he visited India four years ago with his girlfriend. Saxophonist Chris White, an original member of the British rock band Dire Straits, performed in Gurgaon on Friday with guitarist and vocalist Terence Reis and other members of The Dire Straits Experience. The band is on its debut tour to India. Although Mark Knopfler, the lead vocalist of the original band, performed in India in 2005, Dire Straits never came here.
Chris talks about his India experience, saying, “When I came here last time, people did not recognize me at all, and I did not get a chance to see anything except Mumbai. I was travelling with a bagpack with my girlfriend, and I just fell in love with the country at that time. And this time, when the tour is supported by a cause, we are very fortunate to be able to do what we are doing and it puts us in a privileged position.”

The original band members parted ways in 1995, and soon after, Chris and Terence, along with other musicians, including Chris Whitten, the drummer from the original band, collaborated to form The Dire Straits Experience. Chris tells us that he always wanted to come to India, but never got the opportunity. “This time, while travelling to our hotel in Gurgaon, we saw bits of Delhi that appeared quite European. Mumbai was very different when I came to India last time, in terms of people, hustle and bustle, but I had loved it, and I really wanted to come back here and see more of India,” says Chris.

He also tells us that a local pharmacist in London suggested that he visit Akshardham temple in Delhi. “Before coming here, I went to a local chemist to take my travel injections. When I told him that I was going to perform in India, he told me to visit Akshardham temple in Delhi. He appeared like a patron of the temple. Imagine, I was getting my injections done, and he was writing an invitation for me to visit the temple,” laughs Chris.

Though the current music scene seems to be dominated by electronic dance music (EDM), the members of the rock band seem quite positive about the future. “People either respond to a particular genre of music or they don’t. You can pretend to like something, but soon, you will find out whether people like it or not. Chris started with jazz, rock and roll and then also experimented with blues, so there isn’t only one genre that people like,” says Terence, the guitarist of the band.

The band is supporting Seagram’s 100 Pipers Music CDs Play for a Cause, an initiative aimed at providing clean and sustainable water to several villages in Rajasthan. A part of the proceeds from the ticket sales will be used to help over seven villages in Rajasthan.