06.20.2007 - 2007-06-20 LOS ANGELES, CA: Staples Center / Police Cruise Through Los Angeles Opener...
Police Cruise Through Los Angeles Opener...
Three weeks into 2007's largest reunion tour, The Police hit a mix of high notes and partial duds during the first of three nights in Southern California on Wednesday (6/20).
The band's return to the stage after a 23-year hiatus has been one of the few bright spots in a sluggish concert season, and is expected to be the top-grossing tour of the year by a wide margin, due to a combination of stadium stops in several cities and ticket prices surpassing the $250 mark in larger markets.
That set of factors bring a pretty high level of expectations, and the band didn't quite deliver superstar pacing, performance or production at the Staples Center.
The nearly two-hour set was plagued early on by sound problems that gave Sting's bass a quacky tone and buried Andy Sommer's intricate chord work too deep in the mix. The sound sorted itself out a few songs in, and Stewart Copeland in particular shone, nailing many of the crisp fills and syncopated rhythms that formed much of the Police's trademark sound.
Sting at 55 is a wonder to behold, with a chiseled physique and in fine voice, though like many of his contemporaries (Bono and Bruce Springsteen come to mind), he's taken to artistically stepping away from some of the high notes of the early catalogue.
As a group, the band's biggest problem proved less to be the mechanics of their performance than their projection of it. During several of the too-long-and-interchangeable ska jams that punctuated the night and at some critical points in their bigger songs, the band felt less like they owned the material and more like a talented cover band that hadn't quite nailed some of the nuances.
The fact that the setlist has changed since the first couple of shows indicates the show may still be finding its rhythm. There was a palpable sag about mid-set during 'Invisible Sun' and 'Walking In Your Footsteps' that may find its footing later in the tour.
Highlights included terrific takes on 'Driven To Tears', 'Can't Stand Losing You' and 'So Lonely'. Sting's voice lit up compelling performances of 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' and 'Every Breath You Take'.
In all, the show was a fun - if uneven - journey through one of the premiere staples of the early music video generation.
© Soundspike.com by Richard Tafoya