Police make Coliseum seem small...
The Police will never top their unforgettable performance at the Showbox two years ago, but last night's Coliseum concert came close. The Showbox show was special mainly because it was small. The audience could get close to the band and vice versa, which made us all seem one. Eventually everyone was bouncing in unison, turning the floor into a trampoline. We almost literally tore the house down.Last night the Police tried to create the same kind of intimacy by getting the near capacity audience involved as much as possible.
Sting, the lead singer and bassist, called for crowd response almost from the moment the band stepped on stage. And he got it, whether asking for a sing-along or a yell of approval. That unified the audience and helped make the concert less impersonal than most Coliseum rock shows. The audience responded readily because the Police deserved it. Away from touring for a long time while Sting made movies and the other two members did solo projects, the band was refreshed, tight and determined to please.
The sound system, suspended above the stage, helped considerably. Big and powerful, it turned some of Sting's bass solos into tangible sonic waves that vibrated listeners' bodies. It made Andy Summers' guitar solos crisp and shimmering and Stewart Copeland's masterly blend of rock and reggae drumming come through loud and clear.
Already influenced by reggae and rhythm-and-blues, the British group's music was funkier than ever before because of a soulful three piece horn section that backed it on many tunes.
All the songs in the 90 minute set came from the band's albums but most were reworked, some rhythmically, others instrumentally. The crowd loved all of them.
Having Huey Lewis and the News open the show was a brilliant stroke. Its music is all over the radio and on Music Television, so the band didn't have to prove itself - the audience already was on its side.
Its classy blend of traditional instrumentation - sax, harmonica and keyboards as well as the usual guitar, bass and drums - and earthy lyrics was a big hit with the crowd.
© The Seattle Times by Patrick MacDonald
Ticket image courtesy of Dietmar & Raphael