07.17.2007 - 2007-07-17 DETROIT, MI: Palace of Auburn Hills / Police get over issues, rock Palace...
Police get over issues, rock Palace - After bitter breakup in '80s, pop trio performs hits like 'Wrapped Around Your Finger'...
It's easy to be cynical about the Police reunion tour, a grossly overpriced affair which reunites the legendary trio after bitter infighting sent them their separate ways in the early 1980s.
But Tuesday at The Palace of Auburn Hills before a capacity crowd of approximately 20,000, it was clear singer/bassist Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland have at least temporarily buried their differences and are back to being a well-oiled musical machine. So what if it took millions of dollars and tour sponsor Best Buy to get them there?
Tuesday's tour stop came 29 dates into a run that will bring them around the world for the next 12 months, and the famously contentious band members have clearly found a comfortable on-stage groove with one another. Oftentimes that involved them doing their own thing during the 1-hour, 50-minute show, but when they interacted with one another, that's when the sparks flew.
A medley of 'Voices in My Head' and 'When the World is Running Down...', both from 1980's 'Zenyatta Mondatta', built to an electrifying crescendo - four songs in, it was the first time the band truly jammed together -and the individuals' mutual respect for one another was apparent and undeniable. When Sting and Summers stood side by side while Summers burned through a fiery solo, the moment lived up to the tour's huge billing.
Later, a moody, slowed-down 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' cooly washed over the audience while Copeland stood inside a mini-percussion chamber behind his drumkit, playing chimes, cymbals, and Timpani drums, not to mention a giant gong.
Still, not every little thing they did was magic. 'The Bed's Too Big Without You' was a giant fun-stopper in the middle of the set, drawn out with Sting's laborious world music chanting. Elsewhere, 'Invisible Sun' unfolded as images of impoverished children flashed on the video screens - a predictable "serious" moment that attempted to be weighty but came off as cliche.
And on several hits, including 'Don't Stand So Close to Me' and 'Every Little Thing...', the mighty trio was outmatched by years of endless playback on FM radio; at this point, there was little the Police could do to bring new life to these overly familiar standards. Meanwhile, an attempt to spice up radio staple 'Roxanne' with a free association jazz centerpiece was misguided, and came off no better than it did earlier this year at the Grammys.
In a cut-off white V-neck T-shirt and tight black jeans, Sting looked amazing - his body is an advertisement for yoga - and was in good voice, even if his upper register can't go where it used to. Early on he reminisced playing a show at Bookie's in Detroit in 1978, saying there were only three people there, "and one of them was the agent."
But it was Copeland who frequently stole the show. Behind his kit, mouth agape and his floppy hair falling over his black headband, it was tough to take your eyes off him, as he drove songs such as 'Walking in Your Footsteps' and 'Can't Stand Losing You' to muscular heights.
The oval-shaped stage allowed nearly every seat in the house to be sold, and the audience was filled with middle-aged rockers and corporate types who were able to not only afford the $200-plus tickets but a sitter.
In a blatant display of nepotism, Sting's son Joe Sumner's band Fiction Plane opened the concert as crowds filed in from the parking lot. But with their wandering alt-rock serving as little more than passable background music, it's doubtful Best Buy will be shelling out for their reunion tour in 30 years.
© Detroit News by Adam Graham