Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Police

How was it? Well before the concert got started I had Sting under me... Heh-heh. No, really. We were seated at exit stage left, over a lower entrance to the 'backstage' of the arena, and he walked right underneath us while the warm-up band FictionPlane was playing. He paused to wave up at us. My sister had just stood up to step outside and almost got pushed off the balcony by the enthusiastic groupie behind us. "That could have worked," she said later. "I could have landed on top of him and have it not be my fault!" Alas, her natural dexterity worked against her and she kept her feet.

The best part of the show last night for me was that it was obviously for real Police fans. They skipped some radio favorites like "Spirits in the Material World" and played deeper cuts like "Invisible Sun," "One World is Enough," and my personal favoritest favorite "Driven to Tears." The only one that they skipped that I wish they had played was "Bring on the Night." I wasn't sure if they did that because Sting had pretty much commandeered it for his solo work in the late 80s.

In the years since they broke up the band Sting has certainly been the biggest pop sensation and easiest to follow, and I am admittedly a huge Sting fan. But I have also kept tabs on Andy and Stewart as well. It intrigued me that I was more glad to see Andy and Stewart in concert, I am assuming at least partially because I hadn't had the privilege before. I didn't "get into" The Police until the Synchronicity album and was about 13 when they broke up. (I didn't go to a concert at all until I was 30, a birthday gift from my husband for the 2000 Sting tour.) Once I was "into" them, though, I was very, very seriously into them. All of the albums, tons of bios and articles and picture books. I read Jung and Koestler. I considered buying the Klark Kent album... In the fun kitsch department I have a Synchronicity beach towel and black satin jacket.

At first I wasn't sure that our seats were going to be satisfying (the prices were outrageous for a "good" seat). But first we had the up close Sting sighting. Then it became obvious that our seats gave us an intimate sort of "back stage" (or at least side stage) view of the band. From a proximity perspective this was the closest I've ever been to the stage and we could actually see what Stewart was doing (including the two times he bonked the cameraman).

Further entertainment happened today when the alarm went off and the morning DJs were talking about the concert. One of them, who is also something of a local musician, was marveling at their vintage guitars and the fact that they could actually, like, PLAY. That Andy Summers can wail, baby, yeah. I'm sure that I had the typical Police fan smirk when I said to the radio, "If you didn't know that, you weren't paying attention all these years." The sound that they constructed for The Police - spare, precise, unique in rhythm (who had heard of reggae punk before that?) - was built on theory and a desire to do something different. Their musical roots ran mostly from jazz as well as various aspects of rock, and each is a virtuoso musician in their own right. And, as Sting said in the tour program, "The songs have to evolve. Twenty-odd years later we have to be better musicians than we were. So we've slowed it all down, looked at where we are, and how the songs are now happening by listening to ourselves play them."

In short, I just love these guys. I could go on for hours about the history of the band and what they've all been doing individually in the intervening years between breakup and reunion. If you haven't been paying attention, now would be a great time to start. Before the tour is over.
Stewart Copeland Official Website
Andy Summers Official Website
Sting Official Website
The Police Official Website

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