Saw the last U.S. show of this first leg of the Police's '07/'08 tour at Giants Stadium last night. Having never caught them back during their heyday, this was a must-see gig. (Geez, did I really pay THAT MUCH [take a guess] for these tickets back in February?) Sting, guitarist Andy Summers, and drummer Stewart Copeland put on a muso/chops clinic for about 100 minutes or so, giving us about 19 songs' worth of full stadium singalong bliss. (Paging new contestants for Don't Forget the Lyrics...) I thought the boys were having a good ol' time up there, the show being a little less bloodless to me than it's been to other tour bloggers. Maybe it had something to do with an end-of-tour-leg adrenaline rush. (I coulda done with more audience interaction, though.) I liked that they played vintage instruments from tours past and that they chose not to add any accompaniment (i.e., no keyboardists, second guitarists, sax players, or background singers) to fill out the sound. That decision resulted in some creative intros that didn't immediately give away the song at hand.
Highlights for me included a driving "Synchronicty II," the "Voices Inside My Head/When the World Is Running Down" combo, Summers' searing solos on "Driven to Tears," and Copeland's percussive tour de force on "Walking in Your Footsteps." "The Bed's Too Big Without You" meandered a bit too much — I would've preferred they swapped that one out with "Murder by Numbers," which was on the setlist earlier in the tour. (What's my favorite Police song, you ask? Ghost in the Machine's "Secret Journey.")
Overly familiar tracks like "Message in a Bottle" and "Every Breath You Take" — the latter surely one of the most misunderstood songs ever (it should NEVER EVER be a wedding song, people; it's textbook Stalker-Obsessive 101!) — felt obligatory at best, though "Roxanne" did have a good kick to it.
Sting seemed to get off on the 55,000 in attendance (key words there, perhaps, are "seemed to"). His playing benefited from the push-pull tension Copeland and Summer provide, the two more equal to him in this troika setting than any of his solo-act bandmates, who tend to have to serve their master, making for lazier-than-need-be arrangements (as I felt was the case at a Sting show I saw at the Beacon during the Sacred Love tour a few years back). Here, the songs simply CRACKLED with life, because, well, they had no choice otherwise. Speaking of no choice, here's another patented
blurry artistic cellphone shot for you, a stage repose in blue.
One other point about my man der Stingle. What is it with his enunciation? I mean, since when is "tears" two syllables? That is, "TEE AIRS," as he's sung it for years (or should that be "yee airs"?) in "Driven to Tears." And I'm not sure what a "same old thin" is (from "King of Pain"). Okay, okay, I keed, I keed, but in all seriousness, I'm curious to know why he's made those clearly deliberate vocal choices. (I may have read an explanation of the "tee airs" things once, but if somebody can chime in on either point, please do.)
Will we ever get new music from these three (sort-of) blondies? Probably not, though I've heard rumblings of an acoustic album of familiar hits may be on tap. Whatever. In this case, I'll take what I can get, and I got it good last night. And, hey, we even beat the usual Giants Stadium traffic snarls and got home before 11:30! —Mike Mettler
Copyright © 2013 Bonnier Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.