07.14.2008 - 2008-07-14 SAN FRANCISCO: Shoreline Amphitheatre / An arresting show by Sting and the Police...
An arresting show by Sting and the Police - At Shoreline, they sounded far better than a year ago in Oakland...
|01||Message In A Bottle |
|01||Walking On The Moon |
|02||Demolition Man |
|03||Voices Inside My Head |
|04||When The World Is Running Down |
|05||Don't Stand So Close To Me |
|06||Driven To Tears |
|07||Hole In My Life |
|08||Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic |
|09||Wrapped Around Your Finger |
|10||De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da |
|11||Invisible Sun |
|12||Can't Stand Losing You |
|14||King Of Pain |
|15||So Lonely |
|16||Every Breath You Take |
|17||Next To You |
The Police didn't need any backup this time.
The show Monday at Mountain View's Shoreline Amphitheatre promised to be one of the great double-bills of the season, with the reunited mega-trio - which will make its final Bay Area appearance tonight at Concord's Sleep Train Pavilion - being joined by another distinguished alum from the London new wave class of '77, Elvis Costello & the Imposters (ne the Attractions).
But Costello's usually passionate voice was hamstrung by hoarseness; he didn't give the crowd anything to get excited about until the end of his set, when Sting was beckoned out to sing on 'Alison'."
Fortunately, the Police stepped up, delivering a 100-minute set that found a satisfying balance between the adrenalin-charged days of old and the realities of the band's current age, interests and energy level.
It was a marked improvement from the reunited band's first Bay Area appearance last year at Oakland's McAfee Coliseum, just two weeks into the band's commercially colossal comeback tour. Now with more than 100 shows under their its belts, in a more congenial setting, the reunited Police reminded us what the fuss was all about.
Overall, the contours of the show were similar: It opened with a Stewart Copeland gong crash that kicked off an assured 'Message in a Bottle' and closed with 'Next to You' - fun, but without the headlong rush it had on the band's debut LP 31 years ago.
Where there were changes to the set list, it was to make things tighter, punchier and better suited to the power-trio lineup. Gone was Sting's Pan flute excursion on 'Walking in Your Footsteps', replaced by a fiery 'Demolition Man', with some uncharacteristically crunchy guitar from Andy Summers. Goodbye, ponderous 'Spirits in the Material World'. Hello, playful 'Hole in My Life', complete with a little ass-wiggling by Sting.
Even with a week's worth of gray scruff on his face, the 56-year-old frontman and bassist remains rock's ultimate tantric sex symbol. The sinewy singer-songwriter wore skintight, long-sleeved garb that looked like the top half of a superhero's get-up: Call him Yogaman. Many vocal lines had been shifted down from the stratospheric heights of old, but every "ee-yo-yo-yo" still came through loud and clear.
Throughout, there was a pleasing tension between the tight songcraft of the original records and the mature musicians' desire to stretch out. The dynamic worked perfectly on a thrilling 'Can't Stand Losing You' that closed the main set.
One gripe: The Police have been tinkering with 'Don't Stand So Close to Me' since '86, slowing it down and smoothing it out, and they haven't gotten it right yet. With just 15 shows left before they hang up their badges for the last time, it doesn't look as if they're going to. Too bad.
© San Jose Mercury News by Shay Quillen (with contributions by Jim Harrington)