Sunday, July 15, 2007

NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SEE THE DAY

I'm not a huge concert-goer, but I've had occasion to see some of the biggest acts in the world over the years. I include U2, Prince, Alice Cooper, Coldplay, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Blind Melon, Foreigner, The Beach Boys, Steve Miller, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and The Rolling Stones among the events I've had the good fortune to see. One that I most certainly never expected to have the opportunity to catch live was The Police. They finished their final tour together in early summer 1984 and the relationship between lead singer/bassist Sting and drummer Stuart Copeland could be described as strained (at best).

But that was then...now they're back together and going their first world tour in 23 years. As thrilled as I was at the thought of seeing them, I was also skeptical. Sting didn't seem capable of hitting those distinctive high notes anymore, and surely two-plus decades apart would have them out-of-sync and rusty. This seemed to be confirmed when Copeland savaged their effort in an early concert in Vancouver. Other reviews were similarly mixed.

Well, not last night. Holy crap. That's what a concert is supposed to be like. My general impressions?

"Message In A Bottle" was the opener and it was so dead-on that I was worried initially that they were lip-syncing the performance. Just amazingly tight and Sting's voice sounded great. That led right into "Synchronicity II," which I'd told Meg on the drive over that I really hoped they would play. They played around with the arrangement a little bit, giving it a different feel starting about halfway though that differentiated it from the album cut...the highlight being a blistering guitar solo by Andy Summers. "Walking On the Moon" calmed things down a little bit. Next it was the chorus of "Voices Inside My Head" that immediately segued into "When The World Is Running Down." Sting and Summers combined for an amazing duo on guitars, which was topped off by a thunderous drum solo from Copeland.

This was followed by the first example of Sting not being able to quite hit those upper registers anymore. "Don't Stand So Close To Me" was closer to the original version than the updated one they did in 1986, but he did tone things back during the chorus. "Driven To Tears," never released in the United State but one of my personal favorites ran a little long (but not in a bad way) when Sting repeated the second verse immediately following the third before wrapping it up.

If there was a screw-up along the way, it came with "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic." Summers started up, but I think Sting was expecting a different song. He stopped and stared at his guitarist in amusement for several seconds before joining in. Then after the first chorus, Sting made some comment about not knowing what in the heck they were doing. That misstep, however, was more than remedied by "Wrapped Around Your Finger." This was Copeland's time to shine, as he stepped out from behind his drum set to a contraption rigged up with chimes, cymbals, a xylophone and gong. Extremely cool watching him work. The underrated "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" was next, and again Sting dropped down in register during the chorus.

My least favorite part of the entire concert came with "Invisible Sun" and "Walking In Your Footsteps," the latter of which had completely cheesy animation superimposed on the video monitors. Just silly. But that allowed them to rebound in a big way as they closed the set with "Can't Stand Losing You," which I was was a very cool rendition, and "Roxanne." Now don't get me wrong, I'm loving the concert to this point. One of the best I've seen. But the electricity that surged through the crowd was chilling; it got the hair standing on the back of my neck was. The only comparable concert experiences to it were during "Let's Go Crazy" (Prince) and "Where The Streets Have No Name" (U2).

They then pulled off three encores..."King Of Pain" to open, then followed by "So Lonely" off of their first album. After leaving the stage again, they came back out to do the classic "Every Breath You Take." I was really worried after the first few moments that this was going to be a giant letdown (much like "Satisfaction" was during the Stones concert last summer). But it got progressively better and better. We figured that was the end, but they came out one more time and rounded things out with "Close To You," which had a great video package put together of highlights from their entire career.

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4 Comments:

Blogger calencoriel said...

Nice work with the Synchronicity color coded links embedded in your entry...good stuff!

My favorite was when they segued from "Can't Stand Losing You" into the little known (except for from former concert goers and Message in a Box owners) "Regatta de Blanc."

8:34 PM  
Blogger coachsullivan said...

I occasionally try to be a little creative with my links if appropriate. I'm glad someone recognized what it was. I forgot to mention the segue you wrote about, and for some reason I deleted out their performance of "Truth Hits Everybody," which I'm going to have to update.

8:59 PM  
Blogger PHSChemGuy said...

You people are fuckin' crazy...

fuckin' crazy...

10:21 PM  
Blogger PHSChemGuy said...

Hullo...

Is this thing on?

8:26 PM  

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