|Tour||The Police Reunion Tour 2007/08|
2008-05-01 OTTAWA: Scotiabank Place / Sting Battles Cough, WinsSetlist
|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 are a reunion worth waiting for...
Sting Battles Cough, Wins...
Like a gold soldier and a true professional, Sting went on stage Thursday night in Ottawa, Canada, and won one for the Gipper.
It was an auspicious premiere for the last leg of the Police's grand reunion tour, which started in Ottawa and goes back through America and Europe before finishing up in New York on Aug. 3 and 4.
What to do when the lead singer of the world's most successful rock band (sorry, Stones) has what everyone has had for the last six weeks -- the hundred-day cough?
Try herbal teas, hot packs, eucalyptus creams, yoga, meditation. Maybe a cheeseburger would have helped, I don't know.
Maybe it was Elvis Costello and the Imposters' rockin' set at the ScotiaBank arena (formerly the Corel Center) that pumped Sting up. But by the time Costello was pounding through a triumphant reverie of '(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding', the Stingster was up and ready to go.
Of course, he was also wearing a skimpy T-shirt full of holes when I'll bet a warm sweater would have been preferred.
But there he was, as a new video played behind 'Voices in My Head', and suddenly he, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers launched into the new opening, 'Bring on the Night', that brought cheers. The audience never sat down after that.
The group has made some changes for this last leg, adding 'Bring on the Night', 'Demolition Man' and 'Hole in My Life' to the set. (My old favorite, 'Truth Hits Everyone', has been dropped!) 'Message in a Bottle' has been moved to the middle of the show, a smart idea since it further catalyzes the audience at just the right moment.
The Police show remains one of the most satisfying rock concert experiences I can remember. Three guys produce these amazing sounds. There is no augmentation. They just do it. No one else is playing the same instrument hidden in the background. It's all very real, even the mistakes, and the audience responds with a roar and waves of "Ee-oh." It makes you think rock is still alive.
Ottawa is just the beginning of this new wave as The Police head into places they haven't been for a long time: Buffalo, Columbus, Kansas City. No one will be disappointed. Andy Summers' guitar work remains intricate, skilled and supple as ever. He and Sting get into some ferocious, stunning jams. Stewart Copeland does stuff with cymbals, bells and baubles, not to mention drums, that cannot be reproduced by mere mortals.
Of course, it's pretty cool to have Costello as the opening act on this round. Ridding himself of 'Alison' as encore (it's in the middle of the pack), Costello is doing a greatest hits set mixing in a few songs from his new, mostly unattainable album, 'Momofoku'. There's a great one in there called 'My Three Songs', about his older son, Matthew, and twin toddlers Dexter and Frank. It's lovely. And we also got 'Accidents Will Happen', 'Radio Radio', 'Watching the Detectives', 'Pump It Up' and 'Everyday I Write the Book', all beautifully executed.
There are rumors that Sting and Costello will perform together as the tour proceeds - 'Shipbuilding' would be nice, from Costello; 'Canary in a Coal Mine' from the Police side. I'm just sayin'.
So hopefully everyone will get over their ailments - even Costello sounded like he needed a zinc drop - even though towns like Ottawa and Buffalo are no help. It was cold up there! At least the artists don't have to fly on Continental from Newark (the only non stop flight to Canada's capital city) on a small narrow plane that could have doubled as an MRI. What is it with Continental at Newark? At 8 a.m., the security line is pandemonium. Ah, but that's another story. Someone should call ... the Police!
© Fox News by Roger Friedman
2008-05-01 OTTAWA: Scotiabank Place / The Police and Elvis Costello Begin Again in Ottawa...The Police and Elvis Costello Begin Again in Ottawa...
It will be a shame if this is indeed the final North American swing for the Police, as the reunited group showed itself to be a joyous arena rock
machine that enthralled a sold out Scotiabank Place in Ottawa last night, their first visit to Canada's capitol since 1979.
Clad in a black suit and restrained specs, opener Elvis Costello unleashed a mixture of classics and cuts from the recent 'Momufuku', his lively new album. 'I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea' grew anthemetic with gristly bass lines and a haunting keyboard drone, while 'Alison' oozed kitschy charm as
Costello held a quivering high note. Along with Momofuku's gorgeous acoustic ballad 'My Three Sons' - an ode to his own children, not the Fred MacMurray vehicle - Costello's set defined how well-worked neurosis can be channeled into transcendent pop moments.
Even if Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers and Gordon Sumner actually hate each other's guts, the virtuosic chemistry produced by their 21-song set was unparalleled. This is still a band on their A-game - gleaming, precise, and infectious. As Sting teased out melodies like Chet Baker, a surreal
percussion showcase sent Copeland barreling between toms and an upright glockenspiel, transforming 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' into a would-be Japanese Shinto ceremony. Bathed in blue light (guess what color scheme lit 'Roxanne'?), final encore 'Every Breath You Take' became a slinky,
wraith-like warning, dissolving into applause as cell phone cameras blazed like fireflies. But even after his bandmates' exit, Summers played on, peeling out electric shocks of guitar riffs with a naughty grin. "Andy, what the fuck are you doing? I thought we said no!" joked Sting upon re-entry, launching into the more-appropriate closer 'Next To You'.
© Rolling Stone by Chandler Levack
2008-05-01 OTTAWA: Scotiabank Place / Further Adventures of a Man in a Suitcase...
The Police are a reunion worth waiting for...
The Police at Scotiabank Place Ottawa, Canada & HSBC Arena Buffalo, USA.
You would think by this point in the tour I would have done and seen most things?
Like so much in life there is always a surprise (or two, or three) waiting to happen?
As members of the fan club we all seem to set ourselves our own unique targets on how many shows we can get to during the extended run of the tour. I have totally smashed my expectations and have even surprised myself and other fans along the way.
It can be an intricate juggling act of getting time off work, timetabling family commitments, travel plans and making sure you have enough funds to furnish your passion. You might think this somewhat complex interaction of factors would get easier over time, the opposite is true. (Well, for me it is?)
I left things so last minute to decide to go to Ottawa, it was on, then off and then on again for me.
In many ways it was like a covert operation done in silence and alone without any of my work colleagues even knowing. "Just popping out the office for a few days, back after the Bank Holiday", I was heard to say the day before the concert.
"You're never alone, not here you're not", and I wasn't, fellow co-conspirator in my Ottawa operations was another long term UK Fan club member, Andy.
We were amazingly on the same flight from London and staying in the same hotel, so the party was going to start early. I had visions of (the night) of us propping the bar up with other fans till the wee small hours, discussing all aspects of the tour and our past tour related adventures.
Slight problem, no bar in hotel! "Sacre Bleue!" was our reaction as our next thoughts turned to having some food. Our fortunes were quickly reversed as we found an English pub, an oasis of life in the suburban landscape of out of town office development.
Unfortunately the Bailiffs' had arrived earlier in the year and closed the place down. The diner next door provided us with the subsistence to keep our energy levels up for the night, before returning to the hotel.
It seemed to work, I now felt energised, although I didn't sleep much. The combination of jet-lag and excitement provided me being in a dual state of not knowing exactly where I was and being totally knackered?
This leg of the tour for me (certainly the Buffalo part) I could not have done it without the kindness and support from Jock, Bruce, Chris and Christine.
Andy, like me was up early the next day and by mid morning we were walking to the venue; via a slight geographical detour; which included passing a Garden centre, several office car parks and navigating around various forms of wildlife (including a dead Beaver (poor fellow) and some geese (flying south?) who seemed to be playing a game of flying across the road in combat formation.
The risk of us being potential targets of their bodily discharge was quite high, I'm glad to report we arrived at our final destination dry! (We know how to travel!)
I think most fans feel slightly on edge before a concert, I know I am. You can't properly relax until you have your precious tickets in your hand.
The venue looked deserted but luckily for us, the Will Call ticket window was open, and after collecting our tickets, we asked when things would start to liven up and just as important, what were the food and drink options at the venue!
On the off chance I cheekily asked at the box office if there were any tickets left in the first couple of rows available to buy. Not a chance! Always worth asking you just never know?
After another wander around the venue we walked back to the hotel in now beautiful sunshine. I was starting to get hot and I hadn't even started dancing yet!
With the forecast for rain on the weather channel for the rest of the week, we both thought we had somehow imported the rain from England; luckily it was a case of "Heavy Cloud and No Rain" for today.
Whilst we walked back to the hotel, we discussed how we could possibly pass the time, for the four hours before the Toronto fans we were meeting with, would turn-up?
We needn't have worried, it was decided for us!
We had already found the business centre in the hotel. (That's probably being too kind?) A room which supplied our coffee needs for the next couple of hours, along with our only access to the worldwide web. One PC that was probably the slowest PC I have ever had the misfortune to use.
If I told you I spent most of the afternoon doing what I am about to tell you, you wouldn't believe me? Either that or I was so fuzzy with jet-lag that I must have had the speed of a snail in go slow mode!
Do you ever get those days where you think there is a global conspiracy that involves all forms of technology on a mission to mess up your best laid plans?
It wasn't long before I was coercing this damn PC to work faster than the first dial up modem that was ever invented. Soon I was putting my IT support hat on, and was on the floor checking the cables! Christ it was almost like being at work, I had escaped from all that, what the hell was going on?
It was because we had noticed an urgent message on the website. "Unitus" (the Group's Chosen charity for this leg of the tour) still had three front row seats for the Ottawa concert that day! (That had suddenly become available within the time it had taken us to walk from the venue, about 15 minutes.)
The wait to the cut off time of the auction was a nervous one, and while I was trying to secure all this, the cleaners now wanted to clean my room!
So bad timing on their part added to my stress, they had no idea what I was doing, and how annoyed I looked as I snarled "I'm busy come back in twenty minutes!" I was almost in the hot sweat that Sting would later display that evening under the bright lights.
The tension, the wait, the drama, it felt like I was doing a day's work stuck in a sterile Business centre, it was brilliant to have Andy there, who had to put up with my bouts of swearing and caffeine induced mouse rage as the PC eventually crawled into life.
Weird that technology wasn't on my side today of all days, my mobile could text fine to people in Canada but not for phone calls - err go figure?
Even the usual problems when you book tickets abroad surfaced, the question what "State" you are in always proves difficult for foreign computer systems, Sober! I felt like saying on the phone, by this point I needed a drink to cool me down.
After what seemed like hours of emails / phone calls/ missed calls / engaged tones and low signal coverage.
Finally success! It was all worth it, I had done it, and for the first time on this tour I'd made it to the front row and would soon be the proud owner of an autographed tour program as well.
I am so relieved to have safely brought it back home, to be in the centre stage of my 2008 tour merchandise collection.
This was the joyous news we greeted our Toronto friends with, Bruce looked totally relaxed and had informed us that Jock was now in training for tonight's concert in the hotel's fitness centre. Setting a fine example that I should follow, but if I'd done that I wouldn't have any energy left for the concert!
So we agreed to meet up at the venue and I went down there with Andy to pick up my newly purchased prized ticket as quickly as possible.
Guess what I called over to Andy, I had been allocated Row one, seat nine, that's "Next to You", "Next to You..", We had a laugh over that, is there no stopping my musical punning?
I wonder if Sting would realise, on first night back, he would face two of the most devoted UK fan club members and craziest dancers on the planet in front of him in the front row!
It seemed to take an eternity for the staff to figure out where my ticket was, "Do you mind waiting Sir?" and out of nowhere came the distinctive guitar riff of "Bring on the Night" resounding around the inside of Scotiabank Place.
"Holy F***!" The boys are sound checking BOTN. My last post on the Community boards was "Bring it on, Bring on the night!" see you in Ottawa."
I wasn't expecting it to be first song! Where's Jock, still working out, can't wait to tell him, I started to get ecstatic? I probably started jumping around, the staff behind the Will Call window were probably wondering what was happening.
The staff were still rummaging around to find my ticket when the loud burst of Andy's guitar storms into "Demolition Man", my face must be a picture by now, I can't quite believe what I'm hearing not only the sound check, but this song! It didn't stop there; they did run through both songs a couple of times.
I also reckon Andy was testing out some new effects pedals. In between the different "takes", we could clearly hear all kinds of amazing Andy Summer's guitar effects, whooshes and sweeps of guitar sounds that sounded amazing and out of this world.
Could "Secret Journey" be on the cards I thought? Sadly not, that's probably got odds of 4 billion to one to reach the set list, but how cool would that be?
Sting was only singing the first verse of BOTN and I got the feeling he was trying to conserve his voice.
Meanwhile this sound check was blowing me away, Stewart's prediction that this was going to be the best part of the tour to date, already for me seemed to be coming to fruition.
He later saw both Andy and my drumming moves, as he banged on his drum with renewed vigour, how he didn't break them I don't know?
I was enjoying the sound check so much; I had forgotten how long I was waiting. The big grin on my face was plain to see to the few people who were around at that part of the day, 4:30pm. I think.
One thing about this trip, I lost all sense of time, so I stand corrected if anybody has a more detailed timeframe. Bruce was spot on about this whilst we were discussing the Ottawa gig on the way to Buffalo.
Debates will no doubt start on whether BOTN is in the right spot in the set list and whether this version is a Police version of it or more Stingesque in nature?
My take on it, is that it is a cool thing to do at the start of a Sting gig, but this is the Police gig and you need to kick ass with a fast song to get things off to a flying start.
I was very moved by this version, the delicate nature of the guitar playing is following the take Andy Summer's and Ben Verdery use on their "first you build a cloud" album.
It was great hearing it performed in this new way, harping back to the original on "Reggatta de Blanc", it further developed in Buffalo, and will continue to do so through out this leg of the tour.
I might dare to go even further and in my humble opinion think it will eventually end up next to "When the World Is Running Down." I don't think we have seen the last of the tweaking of the set list. "Shadows in the Rain" anybody?
If they move BOTN they need to replace it with "Message in a Bottle" or "Synchronicity 2". Hearing "Demolition Man" was pure joy, it ROCKED, it sent me into orbit. I was flagging by the second song, but I didn't let it show.
The metal barriers at the front are usually there to stop people getting on the stage; they had a dual function of propping me up and as a launch pad for my jumping around. Space was tight, so my usual leaps weren't as adventurous as say in Montreal.
Nobody seemed to care at the extent of my dancing technique, in Buffalo one of the security staff spent a good part of the gig starring at me intently, (not even saying a word), but thinking is this guy going to cause a crowd surge to the front of the stage?
Or was he thinking my dancing should be given a Parental guidance warning. I wasn't even in my prized aisle seat for my action shots and my timing was a bit out as well.
It's not as if I'd been drinking, the pint I had in "Marshy's" before the show (in Ottawa) was soaked up by the huge burger meal I had superbly delivered by the super efficient Erica, who had one of those luscious smiles that could break many a man's heart.
She spotted my English accent a mile off, but we had no time to exchange pleasantries as the sports grill was filling to Capacity.
I knew at this point the crowd would be up for it, as they were singing along to covers of eighties classics by Queen and Culture Club, with the Eagles "Peaceful, Easy Feeling" thrown in for good measure. There was a lovely pre-match type atmosphere in Marshys.
My mind momentarily drifted back to Vancouver and dancing next to one of the prettiest singer song-writers I have ever met! Andy knows what I mean; you wanted to swap seats with me! J
Also earlier in the year, I've been lucky enough to see the Eagles on their current tour, and like the Police an amazing show, that seems to have everything to keep all types of fans happy from the regular punter to the fan who knew The Police hadn't played Ottawa on the 15th September 1979 as they were in Oxford in England on that date!
Don't worry Sting; I can't remember what I was doing on that day either?
Just imagine if the Police did an Eagle's and didn't have a support act, but played almost thirty songs? I'll leave you to ponder that thought?
The more concerts I go to, it seems the more the Media want to talk to me? I'm turning into a right Media tart in my older age.
If any of you French Canadian fans watch you're local French television station you will probably see a clip of me being interviewed before the concert!
The presenter first spoke to me in French, which is always a good challenge for me. The last time I spoke any French was probably in 1981 and that's only because I liked singing "Hungry for you!"
I stuck to my normal reply, "Hi my name is Roger and I'm from England" After mentioning how many concerts I'd been too, the presenter instantaneously switched to perfect English "We definitely want to talk to you!!"
Hope I wasn't too emotional; they seemed to spend five times as long asking me questions than anybody else.
They had their set of questions, and I had my own agenda of sorts.
Not only had I just heard the guys' sound check but heard them play "Bring on the Night" and "Demolition Man."
I can't fully describe how happy that made me feel, I wanted to tell Jock about BOTN but also, announce to the whole world they were also going to perform "Demolition Man."
This excitement seemed to be lost on this stunningly beautiful presenter, "So how many counties have you been to?" I desperately tried to count them up in my head; all I could think about was the sound check.
That really got me started; I'd probably had way too much coffee earlier in the day? I was on a sound check high trying to convey my enthusiasm to the viewers in Ottawa. How I will edit together I don't know, I can't actually remember all that I said, but did say some words about the "Stade de France" as it was a French TV station.
During the close of the interview, fans were now starting to arrive to the Scotiabank Place in bigger volumes, some seeing me being interviewed started chanting "De do do do" and "Roxanne!"
I felt the presenter could not fully understand why an Englishman would come all this way for a concert, join the club! (I felt like saying)
It was soon concert time, the start was slightly different from previous ones, with a play out of "Voices" from the PA as the band arrived on stage, with great visuals on the video screen.
It felt odd seeing Sting sitting down whilst playing the first song, but you need to be, playing such a small guitar. He appeared in full concentration mode whilst playing this, not too dissimilar from the level exhibited on the "Songs of the Labyrinth tour."
Sometimes being at the front you cannot gauge the real reaction of the crowd. From where I was the crowd participation during "Walking on the Moon" didn't appear to be the huge wall of sound from the floor I had experienced in previous venues.
So much fun, the energy coming off the band was amazing I was in danger of peaking too soon.
Not only was the barrier getting in the way of my dancing but provided support for my huge leaps in the air. I was leaping around for England in the front row!
By one point during "Can't Stand Losing You" it felt like all the cameras had panned around and were now pointing at me! I didn't see the resulting output as I was absorbed in Andy's guitar section.
I think Andy noticed my leaping around. I know one of the cameramen smiled as he heard me shouting out the lyrics during "Wrapped Around Your Finger" and he had heavy duty headphones on!
It was one of those gigs where the crowd momentum steadily built throughout the concert. Was anybody following my lead, who knows?
A huge difference on this leg of the tour is the total change in style of the video screen. A lot of the visual effects and wipes have been stripped back, concentrating on close-ups of the band and splitting the screen to see all three members of the band at the same time.
"Walking In Your Footsteps" has been dropped from the set-list so the dinosaur has now become extinct. In its place comes "Message in a Bottle", its position in the set-list still surprised me, even in Buffalo, when I knew what to expect!
At this point I was clasping onto the barrier to give be some more momentum for my jumps, I was starting to run out of energy.
I had to look at the set list (Thanks ChristineJ) at the end of the evening to see where Message came in the order of things, as I couldn't remember! (After "Invisible Sun" was played faultlessly.)
I think Ottawa is meant to be a quiet conservative place in general, but having two English people in the front row must have been a treat for them?
At several points Andy noticed my leaping around, smiling in a way as if to confirm, there is another fan going nuts again! (Did anyone see his photographic camera?)
There was a memorable section during "Can't Stand Losing You" where I first thought Sting had forgotten where he was? I slightly misheard him the first time.
He hadn't forgotten where he was, he was saying this is "Ottawaaaa, not Toronto, or Montreal or Edmonton, Ottawaaa" with this most amazing crazy expression on his face, especially in his eyes, bulging outwards"
He looked like he had a possessed look on his face, but he was whipping up the crowd up to another level, I was already there!
My emotions were getting the better of me; Grace and her friends probably thought my God there goes Roger again. Whether they took a picture of me like in Toronto in November I don't know?
I think this was on of the best versions of the song I have heard on the tour so far.
Sting almost messed up the words during EBYT at one point his facial expression was like "f**K", but he recovered well, it was after an earlier fluff Andy made at the start of the song.
Another cool moment was Andy's guitar gaffe at the beginning of "Next to You" where his guitar actually went out of tune, and he changed his guitars over.
Sting wasn't amused, his words were like "I leave you on the front of the stage, and what do you do F*** things up!"
Yeah Sting seems to be swearing more on this leg? At the start of "Don't Stand so Close to me" where he stated he used to be a "F****** School Teacher."
I think Andy just thought Sting was overreacting, because Andy recovered straight after this to do a rousing version of "Next To You". He looked as if he didn't give a damn about Sting's snarling comments.
The other thing that I felt was the concert seemed shorter, I don't actually know if this is the case, but time flies by when you are having this much fun.
The guys ROCKED and I danced like there was no tomorrow! So much fun and I've used all my energy up! I was leaping around for England in the front row, totally exhausted.
I was in need of some vocal rescue myself by the end of the evening?
Another concert over, it was now back to the hotel for a well earned rest! [See Buffalo for Part 2]
© Roger Puplett
For earlier adventures visit Man in a Suitcase...
2008-05-01 OTTAWA: Scotiabank Place / Police melt years away for 12,000 faithful...Police melt years away for 12,000 faithful...
The Police kicked off the final leg of their reunion tour at Scotiabank Place last night with a concert that was remarkable for two main reasons.
First of all, despite rumours of infighting among the three band members, singer-bassist Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland played like a fully integrated unit. It was just the three of them on stage, and each musician held his own. Plus, for a concert tour based on old material, it was far more musically adventurous than expected.
Of course, there are always a few purists who don't like it when their favourite band changes the songs, but even they would have to admit that the Police have it down to a science, finding the perfect balance between the familiar melodies and the meanderings that keep it interesting.
Beneath artful lighting that illuminated the white T-shirt clinging to Sting's yoga-chiselled physique, the concert started with the undulating 'Bring on the Night' before the familiar strains of 'Demolition Man' raised the mercury, enhanced by digitally-inspired red lights and white strobes.
In need of a shave, a beaming Sting made a couple of references to the last time the band played Ottawa, which he said was Sept. 15, 1979. "Are you ready to sing tonight?" he asked, knowing full well no one's voice could soar like his.
Still, you can't underestimate the power of an audience on a nostalgia high, and there were unabashed attempts to match his sterling vocals on songs such as 'Walking on the Moon', 'Synchonicity II' and 'Don't Stand So Close To Me'. One highlight was the rousing, extended version of 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic', which gave way to the crystalline 'Wrapped Around Your Finger'.
Close to 12,000 people attended the concert, most representing the demographic that came of age in the 1980s. For them, the years melted away.
During his generous, hour-long opening set, British rock legend Elvis Costello spun through his catalogue, harkening back to the days when vinyl ruled, and including a couple of songs from his new disc, Momofuko, which is available on vinyl. Not a shiny piece of plastic, he noted between songs, but a "big black vinyl record."
Yup, that's right. In an era when artists are seeking hot new technology to deliver their music, the famously crusty Costello chose to debut his new studio album last month on vinyl (with a digital download key), though it will be released on CD later this month.
From that new album, recorded with the core Imposters band members, came the lyrical 'My Three Sons' and the crisp rocker 'American Gangster Time'. They blended seamlessly with classic material such as 'Alison' and 'Accidents Will Happen'. Also given new life by Costello and his band were the lilting Watching the Detectives and searing versions of 'Radio Radio', 'Pump it Up' and '(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding'. It was a terrific set.
© The Ottawa Citizen by Lynn Saxberg
2008-05-01 OTTAWA: Scotiabank Place / Arresting Performance - Police and Elvis Costello deliver stellar performances before packed house at The Bank...Arresting Performance - Police and Elvis Costello deliver stellar performances before packed house at The Bank
The Police sure know how to make up for lost time.
After skipping over Ottawa - twice - on their 2007 30th anniversary reunion tour, Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers made amends by launching their latest, and supposedly last ever tour, in the nation's capital last night.
In what could be labelled the "Sorry We Missed You Tour," the Police will visit 14 cities this month, many that were left off the road map last time out.
And the former bleach-blond New Wavers brought along a friend - fellow Class of 2003 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Elvis Costello.
Before a packed house, The Police took the stage amid a mass of Summers' guitar feedback and Copeland's frantic high-hat flutters, lapsing into the sweet nylon-string strains of 'Bring On the Night'.
And with that, the 31-year Police drought in Ottawa was over.
The band took a few songs to find its groove.
'Demolition Man', from 1981's 'Ghost in the Machine', sounded forced, and Sting had difficulty finding his distinctive tenor vocal register. When he did, the cavernous Scotiabank Place swallowed up the lyrics and spat them out in a warbled wash.
At first, the much-hyped return of the jazz and reggae-tinged post-punk songsmiths threatened to turn arena rock spectacle.
But rocky start aside, they hit their stride on 'Walking on the Moon', and never looked back, burning through a hit-laden set that kept delivering reminders of what made The Police the definitive singles band of the 1980s.
'Don't Stand So Close', 'Roxanne', 'King of Pain' and 'Every Breath You Take' were played to impassioned near-perfection.
The bleach-blond is showing more than a few streaks of grey these days, but each of the Police bandmates had his turn to shine, showcasing the immense musical prowess that set the band apart from their contemporaries.
Summers, in a Sgt. Pepper-esque royal guard jacket, ripped through his trademark tension-filled solos, and launched the standout 'Message in a Bottle' with a positively nasty riff.
Copeland, who famously derided his bandmates after a shaky start to last year's tour in Vancouver, was masterful on the drums, floating effortlessly around his massive kit, including percussion, chimes and gong, on the sublime 'Wrapped Around Your Finger'.
And Sting laid down a ribcage-rattling low end bass groove, belted out "eee-yohs" to wild applause, and cavorted about the stage during instrumental breaks.
During an extended mid-set instrumental jam, Sting broke out a sly reference to the band's post-nostalgia tour fate.
"Hit the road Jack, and don't you come back no more," he sang through a grin, while Summers and Copeland rocked-out around him.
Of course, if the band ever did decide to hit the road one more time, they'd be welcome back in Ottawa in a heartbeat.
For all the legendary spats between the three - who were at each other's throats by the time they finally split up in 1986 - they looked positively gleeful by the time they reached their second encore last night, a paint-peeling delivery of Next to You, the lead off track from their 1978 debut, 'Outlandos d'Amour'.
Before the police took the stage, Costello, in trademark black-framed spectacles and backed by The Imposters, delivered a solid 40-minute opening set, blending old favourites with tunes from his latest record, Momofuku.
After ripping through a blistering '(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea', with its lilting reggae one-drop beat, and the rousing 'Every Day I Write the Book', Costello gave fans what they came for with a tender rendition of the 1977 hit 'Alison', from his debut album 'My Aim Is True'.
With Momofuku, Costello makes a slight return to his schizophrenic geek-punk roots, the rocking 'American Gangster Time' and 'Turpentine' striking a sharp contrast to the soft, acoustic ballad 'My Three Sons'.
The highlight came mid-set, with longtime keyboardist Steve Nieve's swirling Wurlitzer giving way to a stark, almost tribal rendering of 'Watching the Detectives', before closing out with frenetic renditions of 'Radio Radio', 'Pump it Up' and the anthemic '(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding'.
As the song, and set, came to an abrupt close, Costello held his Telecaster aloft and the house lights came up, leaving fans wanting more.
© Ottawa Sun by Aedan Helmer
2008-05-01 OTTAWA: Scotiabank Place / The Police at their Zenith...The Police à leur zénith... Le trio atteint une autre dimension à la Place Banque Scotia
Un rythme entraînant et les voici, un à la suite de l'autre s'amenant sur scène. Sting prend place sur un tabouret, guitare classique au cou, Stewart Copeland est derrière son impressionnante batterie et son attirail de percussions et Andy Summers est toujours accroché à une Fender.
Plusieurs attendaient 'Message In A Bottle', ils ont eu 'Bring On the Night', dans une version lente au possible. Mais ça, c'est la façon de faire du groupe The Police, sur scène. Imprévisible. En tout cas, pas mal plus que sur disque.
Sur scène, son répertoire atteint une autre dimension. The Police avait donné rendez-vous à sa légion de fanas, hier soir, à la Place Banque Scotia. Un seul mot pour décrire la soirée, "ÈNERGIQUE". Une soirée où Sting et compagnie ont atteint le summum.
Le temps de s'installer avec 'Synchronicity II' et 'Walking on the Moon' et le tour était joué. Au bout d'une heure, c'était clair comme de l'eau de roche, le spectacle du groupe dysfonctionnel par excellence allait se retrouver dans les premières pages des annales du rock dans la capitale fédérale.
On connaît l'histoire du trio. Il s'est formé en 1977 suite à l'initiative de Stewart Copeland. Les trois musiciens se sont dit au revoir et merci, en 1986. Chacun a par la suite vaqué à ses occupations et les chances de les voir se réunir à nouveau se sont amenuisées au fil des ans. L'inévitable s'est produit et The Police a entamé une tournée mondiale, le 28 mars 2007, à Vancouver. Elle doit en principe se terminer le 5 ao?t, à New York.
L'arrêt à Kanata était le premier de l'ultime jet de la dernière série de spectacles. Une première halte et toute une, en dépit des problèmes de voix de Sting, dans la chanson initiale. Des pépins qui se sont vite résorbés. On la souhaitait limpide, cette voix, et on l'a eu. Elle était nettement plus claire dans 'Walking On the Moon' et davantage dans 'Don't Stand So Close To Me'.
étonnant à quel point ce groupe-là a paru décontracté, hier soir. Les guerres intestines semblent avoir cédé le pas à une belle harmonie entre les trois musiciens. Ils avaient l'air de tout sauf d'un trio aux prises avec des personnalités diamétralement opposées.
Une autre constatation, Sting, Copeland et Summers sont encore capables de folles et épiques envolées. La nouvelle version de 'Can't Stand Losing You' en est une preuve évidente.
Mais la foule s'était clairement déplacée pour entendre les incontournables et fidèle à ses habitudes, The Police n'en n'a pas raté beaucoup.
Les incontournables, et bien, elles ont pour titres 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', 'Wrapped Around Your Finger', dans une version plus sombre, 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da' ont été fort bien reçues. Pas autant que 'Message in a Bottle' dont les premiers accords ont vite été reconnus et salués par une salve bruyante. Idem pour 'Roxanne', attendue celle-là. Elle mènera aux rappels. L'heure de tombée a cependant sonné peu après 'King of Pain'.
En lever de rideau, pas n'importe qui, Elvis Costello et ses légendaires Imposters. Le mari de Diana Krall, Declan MacManus de son vrai nom, ses lunettes à la Buddy Holly, son complet foncé, sa voix particulière et sa musique encore plus particulière.
On lui a permis un maigre 40 minutes et c'est dommage, car on en aurait pris pour deux heures et même plus. Pas facile pour lui de choisir une douzaine de titres dans un répertoire comprenant 21 albums.
Heureusement, ses choix ont été judicieux. Il a retenu quelques chansons de son dernier disque, 'The Delivery Man', mais il a eu la gentillesse de puiser dans ses premières cuvées, ramenant entre autres, 'Everyday I Write The Book', 'Alison', 'Watching the Detectives', 'Radio, Radio', 'Pump It Up' et 'Peace, Love and Understanding'. Le quatuor les a interprétées comme on les a toujours appréciées, de façon assez crue merci et servies au premier degré. Dommage, les lumières se sont allumées immédiatement après la dernière pièce. Pas de place donc pour un rappel.
© Le Droit by Marc André Joanisse