05.28.2007 - 2007-05-28 VANCOUVER: GM Place / Police kick off reunion tour in Vancouver...
Police kick off reunion tour in Vancouver...
The Police kicked off their 30th anniversary reunion tour with an arresting Message - in a Bottle.
The sold-out crowd at GM Place in Vancouver, on hand for the tour's official opening Monday night, screamed their appreciation as the legendary eighties trio dove into their hit song from 1979's 'Regatta de Blanc'.
The figurative castaways, who parted ways in 1984, followed with an extended, six-minute version of 'Synchronicity I', filling the song and setting the evening's tone with lots of leaping upon speakers, self-satisfied grins and windy, drawn-out solos.
"This is our first concert in 25 years," Sting announced, although it seemed hardly necessary considering how many devoted fans had shelled out $225 for the best seats in the house, not to mention the $450 for the leather Police jackets being sold at the merchandise stands.
"We chose Vancouver because you're Vancouver, the lead singer/bassist added, as if that were self-explanatory.
The Police chose not to introduce any new songs and stuck to a crowd-pleasing set list, but did update several of their classics with contemporary sounds. 'Every Breath You Take' was infused with a driving rock rhythm, E'very Little Thing She Does Is Magic' was slung with a slinky jazz vibe and 'Can't Stand Losing You' was ringed with echoing howls.
Sting, drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers have been rehearsing since March. Sting later thanked the Squamish First Nation for letting them use their longhouse on Vancouver's North Shore, where the band has been practising for the past few weeks.
Sting was chatty all evening. He told the crowd it was "looking good" and repeatedly urged everyone to clap and sing along. "I want to see more hands," he shouted, during 'Voices Inside My Head'.
There were many laughs throughout the night. 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' took on new meaning when Sting introduced the song by spraying breath mint in his mouth and sniffing his armpit. Copeland smiled, madly banged his gong quite a bit and raced across the spacious oval stage screaming like a maniac at one point. Summers seemed as low-key as ever.
The set design was fairly low key for the first half of the two-hour show, with the effects consisting mainly of flashing lights. Later on, during 'Roxanne', the entire stadium was bathed in a red glow. For 'Invisible Sun', a video suddenly appeared on the six jumbo screens above the stage, playing clips of Middle Eastern refugees drinking water from muddy pools. A not-so-subtle reference, perhaps, to WaterAid, the official tour charity.
'King of Pain', 'So Lonely' and 'Every Breath You Take' rounded out the first encore.
Urged on by thunderous applause, the band returned to end the concert with 'Next to You' and a boisterous round of hugs for each other. Guess the boys are getting along better these days, at least for now. They still have some 60-odd concerts to go.
© The Globe and Mail by Alexandra Gill
Photo by Dave & Wendy