06.06.2007 - 2007-06-06 SEATTLE, WA: KeyArena / Synchronicity...
Outside Key Arena last night, there were a few religious protesters with big signs urging passersby to repent of their evil ways, but inside the venue was a packed house eager to see The Police for their first tour in twenty years. The crowd definitely skewed older (and drunker), kinda like your parents at Oktoberfest, and the stage was sparsely set for the band's three solitary figures. As always, Sting was in one of his sleeveless t-shirts that rode up in the back, all the better to show off how well he's aged, thanks to approximately nine thousand hours of yoga a day. The show kicked off with 'Message in a Bottle', complete with a greeting of "Hey Seattle, how ya doing?" to which the crowd, on its feet, responded enthusiastically: "OH MY GOD, STING IS TALKING TO ME AND HE KNOWS THE NAME OF THE CITY IN WHICH I LIVE!"
The erstwhile Gordon Sumner's pipes are fully intact and he maintains the ability to hit (and hold) those high notes, whether the notes in question are an "ee-yo-oh-ohhh" or an "ee-yo-ee-yay-ee-yay-yo." The entire band was in great form, with Sting playing an old beaten-up bass and Andy Summers (who damn near stole the show) on a weathered electric with a South Park strap. Stewart Copeland appeared ready for a race of some sort, what with his sweatband, bike shirt, gloves, and bottles of Gatorade next to his still-huge drum kit, but then again, with the intense way dude plays the drums, that's hours of aerobic exercise.
Most of the crowd remained on their feet for the entire two-hour set, which featured all the hits: 'Spirits in the Material World', a slowed-down, dreamy version of 'Don't Stand So Close to Me', 'Walking on the Moon', 'Can't Stand Losing You', a completely revamped 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic', and 'Roxanne', which of course featured heavy use of the red light. Speaking of the visuals, they were off the hook, with huge LED screens above the stage showing the band in HD, as well as 'Ghost in the Machine' logos and other throwbacks. There were sci-fi-looking towers with beams of light that would rise from the stage as needed. A scrim emerged for 'Walking in Your Footsteps' on which a plodding dinosaur skeleton was projected, which seemed like a big to-do for a relatively minor song. Only a couple visual miscues: 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' featured Stewart Copeland on the gong (and about nine million chimes and cymbals) and was accompanied by images of a sea of candles (wank wank). But the more egregious was during 'Invisible Sun', which mingled shots of the band playing with footage from Iraq. We're not really sure what the message was (war is bad, mmmkay?), but anytime you superimpose an image of an unbelievably healthy Sting over a poor Iraqi kid with missing limbs, we're gonna hafta give you a hearty "fuck you."
Thankfully, those were but brief unfortunate moments in an otherwise stellar high-energy show. Even the sign language translator was way into it (plus we learned ASL for 'De Do Do Do De Da Da Da'). The set proper ended with 'Roxanne' and the biggest crowd sing-along of the night. The band brought it down for a call-and-reponse, deconstructed that, and then brought it back up again, closing with Sting doing his little Sting jump on the final beat. For the encore, the band engaged in a little faux-bickering before 'King of Pain' and a super-reggae version of 'So Lonely' with another monster Summers solo and the modified line "Welcome to the Stewart Copeland show." During the final encore, we tried to ignore the gross Eastside couple across the aisle slow-dancing (literally) and swapping spit during ode to stalking 'Every Breath You Take'. We woulda been happy with that being the last song, but the band threw in one more ('Next to You') for good measure before the three of them held hands and took a bow (awwww).
Apparently they don't completely hate each other just yet. Tonight's your last chance to see them before they do.