08.01.2007 - 2007-08-01 NEW YORK, NY: Madison Square Garden / The Police: Still a force - Rock trio reprise the legend...
The Police: Still a force - Rock trio reprise the legend...
The Police broke up back in '84, but last night at Madison Square Garden, for the most anticipated rock show of 2007, the trio was definitely together.
Twenty-three years later The Police line-up is the usual suspects - Stewart Copeland on drums, Andy Summers strumming guitar and a singing bassist named Sting. They were still able to deliver their trademark mix of pop, jazz and reggae at the first of three area shows.
The gig was outstanding, strat to finish (although hardly worth the nearly $3,000 some fans are reported to have paid scalpers for a single ticket). To some celebreity fans like Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, hanging designer Donna Karen, zillionaire Ron Perelman and rock impresario Ron Delsener, the price of tickets meant nothing compared to seeing this concert.
One of the reasons this band commanded respect with stars and regular fans alike was they've remained true to their original melodies, but playful with the arrangements.
That toying and tinkering, for instance, twisted 'The Bed's Too Big Without You' into a new song. It was that kind of musical inventiveness that kept this from becoming a sappy nostalgia show.
Police crowd control was effective right from the start, getting the fans up and dancing from the first song, 'Message In A Bottle'.
From there it was pretty much a nonstop hit-fest that followed with the trio pumping new blood into well-worn No.1 radio singles like 'Don't Stand So Close To Me', 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', 'Invisible Sun' and, of course, 'Roxanne', played under red lights.
In all, there were more than 20 songs during the two-hour set, which the band played on a small stage with multiple video screens above. Without standard flash-pot razzle-dazzle this show had an unusual intimacy about it that let the focus stay on the music.
Earlier this year when The Police played the Grammys, they were "Sting and the other two guys." Last night they looked and sounded like a band again.
At the heart of every song were Copeland's fast and furious temp switch-ups that kept his sticks a blur for most of the performance. His drumming today is even more experimental than when The Police were at their zenith and he hit his stride during 'Walking In Your Footsteps'.
Summers' fret-work was often heady as he intertwined off-centre jazz chords with Sting's bass thumps. Some of his solos noodled a little too hard, but he still has virtuosity and velocity in his fingers. He was excellent on the unexpected rocker 'Driven To Tears'.
The there was Sting.
The tantric singer is as physically buff as his beat-up Fender bass is decrepit. Sting stung the house with his signature reedy tenor and emotional delivery that said the words, some 30 years old, that still held meaning for him. When he introduced The Police schoolgirl jail-bait tune 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' he made the number even more personal when he reminded the house, "You Know, before all this, I used to be a teacher."
There's nothing unrehearsed about Sting. Despite his natural magnetism and charisma, he's a practiced musician who never makes the mistake of forgetting he has to entertain when on stage.
He didn't forget at this Garden party.
The Police presence will continue with another MSG show tomorrow and at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands Sunday. The Police return to New York for a one-night stand, back at the Garden, on Halloween.
© New York Post by Dan Aquilante