Police save opening day of Reading Festival...
It would be a gross understatement to state that the Police saved the opening day of Reading Festival.
Their achievements were manifold; and not least of them was the realisation that Sting, their thrilling bass player and singer, is set to become the Face of 1979.
The band were nervous before going on stage - wary, like the other new wave bands, that this audience would reject their music out of hand. They needn't have worried. Sting manipulated the people beautifully, successfully transmitting his warmth and enthusiasm to the most sceptical observer. One is reminded of the very best frontmen: he has the confidence of Bob Geldof, and the pose of Phil Lynott.
Musically, the Police blasted the myth that a three piece can't function live. Sting's voice flew across Reading with the elegance of Concorde but the brutal force of a steamhammer. Andy Summers' guitar work was inventive, and Stewart Copeland's drums snapped frantically. The overt reggae influence of 'Roxanne', 'So Lonely' and 'Can't Stand Losing You' was adapted to even more dramatic effect on a new song called 'Walking On The Moon', an enticing atmospheric piece, and other samples from the next album, like 'Message In A Bottle' and 'The Bed's Too Big Without You', showed that 'Outlandos d'Amour' will have a worthy successor.
Yes, you could say that the Police had left their mark on Reading. It was hard to escape the conclusion that the festival had reached its climax two days too early.
© Melody Maker by Harry Doherty