Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Police

OK, I’m finally going to blog about The Police concert. Not that anyone gives a shit at this late date.

It was raining cats & dogs on the day of the concert. I decided to be Mr. Public Transportation and ride the train to the arena. If you’re from the Northeast you may not grasp how unusual public transportation is around here. Everyone usually takes their car everywhere. Although the train has proven to be quite popular and the lines are being extended, so maybe it will catch on more in the future. I wish I could ride it to work, but it doesn’t go where I need it to. The rain actually factored in a lot less than the fact that I really didn’t want to pay the ripoff $12 that it costs to park at the arena. I had to park a fair distance away from where one catches the train, and despite running as fast as I could I was pretty well soaked by the time I got on the train. I had dried off for the most part by the time we arrived, but there was another stretch of open air to get from the train stop to the arena. So by the time I got inside I was drenched. I was under the impression that you couldn’t bring an umbrella into the arena, so I didn’t bring one. Apparently you can, though, because on the way home I saw a lot of people who had been to the concert who had umbrellas. So I got drenched for nothing. Whoops.

Once inside I proceeded to find my seat. The opening act had already started, which I expected but it was OK as my interest in seeing them was fairly low. The opening act was Fiction Plane, which is fronted by Sting’s son. They were serviceable but nothing special, which is about what I expected. Joe does sound eerily like his father. Did any of you see the Sting documentary Bring On The Night? It was filmed in 1985 and featured the birth of one of his children (literally, in all the gory detail). I kept wondering if Joe was the kid that was born in that movie, but apparently he is not. So I don’t feel quite as old as I thought I did.

You have to understand that my anticipation for this concert was pretty high. I became a Police fan around 1985, and the following year they broke up. So I was thinking that I might never get a chance to see them live. So it was quite a rush when they came out and started playing. They opened with “Message In a Bottle”. Throughout the show the sound was OK, although the vocals were a tad muddled. It was sometimes hard to understand the between-song banter.

I thought Sting sounded better than I thought he would. He can still sing pretty high, although some of the songs have been rearranged to be in a slightly lower key. Speaking of rearrangements, they didn’t play most of the songs exactly as they were on the records. I actually thought this was a good thing for the most part, although I didn’t much care for the current version of “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”. I love how it was just the three of them up there playing. I think it’s kind of cheap when a band that claims to be a trio goes out on tour with a gazillion backing musicians. I guess I can understand it if one of the band members plays multiple instruments on the album, but I still like the idea of a band having X number of members and that’s the real band all the time.

Stewart Copeland was a highlight, he was drumming his arse off. He also had some special setups for some of the songs that had all kinds of weird percussion pieces. The crowd was pretty into everything, and at the end you could see Stewart positively beaming. I think he was a little taken aback by the reception. For me some of the song highlights were “Walking On The Moon”, “Wrapped Around Your Finger”, and “Roxanne”.

I read a review by one local writer whom I really respect on movies, but I thought he was off-base on his concert review. He hated it, and didn’t even stay for the whole thing. He sounded disappointed that they didn’t sound like they did in 1978. I mean, c’mon. In 1983 they didn’t even sound like they did in 1978. I happen to like Synchronicity and the early stuff. I guess if you expected them to sound exactly like their first album then you would have been disappointed, but who could have realistically expected that? Lots of us wish the Rolling Stones sounded like they did in 1968, but it just ain’t gonna happen. And yeah, I wish this concert had been completely free of the corporate-rock trappings, but that’s just not possible today with a band of this stature. You’re just not going to see The Police at the Gypsy Tea Room (assuming it was still there), and even when a big name plays a small place like that (like Beck did last fall), you still have people bitching about it. Yes, I’m sure it’s a great thing to see an up-and-coming band in a rattrap dive with 50 people, but you can’t go back in time.

I ended up not going the second night. I had bought some extra tickets when they first went on sale in an effort to make some extra money. I thought they would be in high demand and that maybe I could sell them on ebay for some extra scratch. Um, not so much. The market for these tickets was extremely soft. I listed them on ebay multiple times with no bids, eventually I even listed them for less than face value, and still – nothing. Finally on the actual morning of the second show I listed them one last time as a Buy It Now or Best Offer listing. At first it looked like it would be another slow listing, then around 4 some offers started coming in. I had decided that if someone didn’t meet the Buy It Now price by the time I got home from work I was going to cancel the listing and go to the concert. I was actually getting psyched up to go, but by the time I got home someone had paid the full price, so I sold the tickets. I sold them for about 60% of what I paid for them. Perhaps this is the universe’s way of telling me not to be greedy?

Teh Setlist:

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
The 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

Here are a couple of Youtube videos of halfway decent quality of “Roxanne” and “Walking On The Moon”:



Blogger paintergirl said...

You got soaked-that's not fun. I never would have thought umbrellas would be allowed either.
They sang some oldies.I really love Walking on the Moon. Stewart has been a fav too. Don't you think drummers suffer a little from ADS. It's a good thing for them. I like Andy's photos too. In spirit of your post, I put on an old police tee.

Oh and I know about southern public trans-Atlanta has a great one that goes straight to the airport.

7/26/2007 9:30 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

Oh JC that is so cool. That seems like one of those one chance in a lifetime shows. And you went! That's just awesome.

7/26/2007 9:59 PM  

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