06.06.2007 - 2007-06-06 SEATTLE, WA: KeyArena / The Police work magic in inspired reunion...
The Police work magic in inspired reunion...
Competing with the memory of your own greatest performances is a daunting proposition.
But the Police, the classic English rock trio that had not played in the Seattle area since its memorable 1983 show at the Tacoma Dome, managed to pull this feat off pretty well Wednesday night at KeyArena.
Though the band wasn't exactly relaxed - you could often feel their concentration - they played their old songs with real spirit and commitment and were sometimes even inspired.
By the end of the show, pumping out those insistent punk/new wave beats, they had worked their magic. It felt like 1983 all over again.
Just before the band came on, a recording of the Wailers' 'Get Up, Stand Up' played over the sound system. An appropriate introduction, given the band's famous blend of reggae, punk-rock and pop melodies.
The affable Sting wore a white muscle shirt and tight black pants. The stage setup, while plain, had a high dais with a jungle of percussion instruments, supplying drummer Stewart Copeland with an arsenal for a few songs.
After Copeland banged a huge, ceremonial gong, the band kicked right into its set with the hard-driving 'Message in a Bottle'. Sting was in good voice, hitting those sustained high notes and warbling notes that made him a star.
It took a few tunes for the band to hit its stride, but the dark, threatening, 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' did the trick, about five songs in.
The down tempo 'Walking on the Moon' was a winner, too, as Sting initiated a call-and-answer of "yo-yo-yo"-ing with the crowd.
Guitarist Andy Summers zinged a guitar solo on 'Driven to Tears', and Sting hunkered down on bass along with him.
The crowd, a nice mix of young and old fans, clearly was loving the band's generous revue of its greatest hits. Fans stayed on their feet throughout most of the show, clapping and singing along.
With the audience firmly in its palm, The Police zeroed in for the first one-two knock-out combination: 'Truth Hits Everybody' and 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', revving up the crowd with a pulsing, new-wave beat.
Bringing the mood back down, they sang 'Wrapped Around Your Finger'. Copeland mounted the percussion dais and that mysteriously floating voice of Sting's wafted out over the crowd.
The band was at its spooky best on 'Murder By Numbers' and turned in strong renditions of 'De Do Do Do De Da Da Da' and 'Invisible Sun' and 'Walking in Your Footsteps'.
The band's last encore, ending their two-hour show, naturally included their greatest hit, 'Every Breath You Take', followed by a long, climactic jam on 'Next To You'.
It was the Tacoma Dome all over again.
The Police spent several weeks in Vancouver, B.C., tuning up their act before the tour opened there May 28.
After the opening concert, Copeland criticized the show as "lame" on his blog. A lot was made of this in the media around the world, but it was mostly just musician talk.
However, there was one moment in Wednesday's show when it felt like there was some tension between band members. During a particularly lively and loud guitar solo on 'So Lonely', one of the songs on two sets of encores, Sting said sarcastically, "Welcome to the Andy Summers show," and Summers rolled his eyes.
Show-opener Fiction Plane featured Sting's son, bassist and vocalist Joe Sumner. He demonstrated tremendous vocal control and rock-steady time - sounding a bit like a young Sting, in fact. But the band's songs were one-dimensional, and at 45 minutes, went on far too long.
© The Seattle Times by Paul de Barros