07.10.2007 - 2007-07-10 MIAMI, FL: Dolphin Stadium / The Police reunion tour rocks retro...
The Police reunion tour rocks retro...
Three men, two sticks, a drum, bass and guitar.
That's pretty much all The Police needed to revive the stadium tour in South Florida - if only for one night, Tuesday, before more than 44,000 people at Dolphin Stadium.
Promoters called it a sellout. Fans called it historic.
The Police reunion tour is the first major stadium concert in the area in 10 years, and the three musicians haven't toured as a unit since wrapping their 'Synchronicity' Tour in 1984.
"To see the Police back together is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, especially in South Florida," said Stephen Baker, 20, of Coral Springs.
Fans came from all around - even Birmingham, England.
"I always said if The Police went live I'd follow them like The Dead," said Scott Thomas, 37, who crossed the Atlantic with companion Rachel Gainer, 31. "We planned a whole vacation around this concert."
This wasn't just any stadium tour. Forget the city block-sized stage that turned this venue's football field into something rivaling Dante's Inferno in 1994 at the Rolling Stones' Voodoo Lounge Tour.
For the reunited Police, who looked remarkably well-preserved and played with more precision than they did 25 years ago, the still-massive oval stage has been designed to showcase the trio, and only the trio (no backing singers or extra musicians, not even a pianist for 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic') in a simpler setting. Singer and bassist Sting and guitarist Andy Summers played to the left and the right of the stage, just as they had nearly 24 years ago at the Orange Bowl, while Stewart Copeland's drum kit took center stage.
Six automated lighting towers, craning like E.T.'s neck, were programmed to bathe the boys in a style of lighting both modern and retro.
It was an effect mirroring the audience. Fans were all ages. Some witnessed The Police during the group's early '80s heyday. Many were toddlers or not yet born.
Becky Sigurnjac, 33, says she became a fan of The Police while in fourth grade in Jacksonville. "I'm a dedicated fan club member," she said from the 12th row on the floor where the sound was warm, detailed and crisp. "The music has been the soundtrack to my life."
As such, The Police stuck with familiar, crowd-pleasing hits in the 19-song set, most of them delivered as before, except for a few questionable alterations. A slower 'Don't Stand So Close to Me', now in its third incarnation (the band recorded it in the studio in 1980 and 1986), lost its pep. A section of the concert comprised of jam-oriented tunes - from an awkward medley of 'Voices Inside My Head'/'When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around' through 'Truth Hits Everybody', would have fared better in a more intimate club show.
But Sting, who spoke little except to note that the "sweaty people in Miami" looked "as if they just had sex," found the right touch on a feisty 'Every Little Thing' and turned 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da D'a into a call-and-response party.
The rest of the concert similarly popped. Copeland's polyrhythmic, world-beat percussion on 'Walking in Your Footsteps' and Sting's plump bass playing turned what was once a minor album cut into a stadium natural. That 1983 song, about the extinction of dinosaurs and performed with images of the doomed beasts on high-res screens behind the trio, could lead to a too-easy crack against rock groups who have no new music but regroup to play the oldies for the mega bucks. There's truth to this charge, but the exceptional musicianship made it easier to let that slide.
Even the real police on duty seemed excited to bask in the world of Sting & Co. "I'll get to see the show. I've always liked Sting," said Miami-Dade Lt. Ray Gonzalez.
Opening acts Fiction Plane, featuring Sting's son Joe Sumner - who wails just like Dad but who plays unexceptional rock - and Maroon 5 played tight, crafty pop. Both acts came and went fast - leaving more time for the main attraction, and for that we're grateful.
© The Miami Herald by Howard Cohen