Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Police - August 3, 2007

I only had the opportunity to see The Police once in my life, and it happened to be on their recent reunion tour. I was a tad too young when the band split in 1984, but my cousin was able to see them at Shea Stadium for one of their final concerts before what everyone thought was a permanent retirement. I had heard the stories of their performances and really enjoyed their music in my teenage years. I just never believed that I would see them in concert because I never believed that this band would be able to get back together. They hated each other and hadn’t talked to one another in almost 20 years.

Then one magical day the announcement was made. The Police were reuniting and going on a world tour. There would be no new music, only the classics being performed live. Wow! I had to get tickets for this one. I had to see The Police live.

Surprisingly, my wife was not interested in seeing them in concert. I was shocked about that. I thought everyone was a Police fan, but not her. She told me to have a good time, but she was taking a pass. I immediately talked to my friend Alicia, (who attended the night of the Lesbians Billy Joel concert with me) and she definitely wanted to see The Police live. It was set; we would try to get tickets for their Friday night performance at Madison Square Garden.

We ended up with seats behind the stage, but as this was an open stage, that was all right. We would be seeing the backs of the three band members all night long, but that didn’t matter to me. We were four rows away from Stewart Copeland’s drum kit (which was quite impressive). Alicia and I were very excited; it was going to be an amazing night.

We took the path in from Hoboken and got to the Garden well before show time. After a few drinks, we headed into the arena and found our seats. Excellent. There was an opening act, Fiction Plane, but I honestly can’t remember if we sat through them or not. If we did, they obviously weren’t that memorable.

When the houselights went dark, the sold out crowd roared, and The Police walked to the stage. We could see them come up from the side and we watched Copeland settle in behind the drum kit before kicking off the opening song off the night, Message In A Bottle. I’ll send an SOS to the world. It was fantastic.

The band sounded impeccable. Father Time had not hurt these legends at all. They sounded as great that night as they did on their studio albums some 20 years earlier. They were all trim and fit, and Alicia commented on how good-looking Sting was. At 50-some-odd years old, he still impressed the ladies.

The set list was one that fans dream of. Hit after hit after hit were performed by the band and consumed by the fans. Walking On The Moon, When The World Is Running Down…, Don’t Stand So Close To Me, Wrapped Around Your Finger, and more were all performed to perfection. Even if the band was only back together for the money and had no intention of speaking to each other ever again after this tour was over, you’d never know it in their performance.

Sting, as the band leader, showed the most energy, but his band mates were not that far behind him. Running around the stage, jumping off the drum riser, and standing atop the amplifiers, Sting made it seem like it was the early 80s all over again with his youthful energy and playfulness. This got the crowd into the spirit and they were on their feet for the entire evening.

The 4-song encore was where they saved the best for last. It was an incredible selection of what happens to be some of my favorite Police songs and to close out the night with the lead track of their first album, Next To You, was an enjoyable way to end the evening.

In a word, The Police were excellent. They played a memorable performance and definitely gave us our money’s worth. Impressive in their ability to still rock out like it was 1982, it’s a shame that The Police split up so many years ago. Now they’ve gone back to whatever they were doing prior to the reunion and the chances that we will see them again are very slim, but in 2007, The Police had a brief moment to rule the world one more time. And I was able to fulfill the dream of seeing them in concert.

Message In A Bottle
Synchronicity II
Walking On The Moon
Voices Inside My Head
When The World Is Running Down…
Don’t Stand So Close To Me
Driven To Tears
This Bed’s Too Big Without You
Truth Hits Everybody
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Wrapped Around Your Finger
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
Invisible Sun
Walking In Your Footsteps
Can’t Stand Losing You
King Of Pain
So Lonely
Every Breath You Take
Next To You

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