The Police in Philadelphia...
Not since last Christmas had any of us seen a full Police concert so I was delighted to be able to go along with some of Miles' wedding guests in a special coach from New York to Philadelphia on Saturday August 22.
The Police were once again breaking new ground for rock music at The Liberty Bell Horse Racing Track. The area was vast and even though there were approx.16,000 young people enjoying themselves, there was still room to move around the various stalls in comfort. Another good thing was that although the stage was high enough not to allow anyone to jump on easily, there was no VIP area immediately in front and people could get right up close to the performers. This is so much fairer than having all the 'guests' push in to the front at the last minute after one has been standing in position for several hours.
It was a perfect day for an open-air concert - very warm and dry but cloudy. The show opened just after midday with Miles' wedding party band. The Original Driftas were next followed by the Go-Go 's and then the chart topping Specials - all great bands, especially the four-girl Go-Go's. But by 5.30pm the crowd was beginning buzz... it was ready for The Police!
I managed to squeeze on to the side of the stage, which although not an ideal position, did mean I could see everything that was happening. The band's dressing room was about 200-yards away and the crowd must have see The Police coach drive up to the stage before I did, because suddenly a big cheer went up and while I was still wondering why, on leapt Sting, Andy and Stewart.
I had seen them only half an hour earlier but the impact was just as if it was for the first time since Christmas - they looked magnetic! Sting wore comfortable baggy white jeans and an equally baggy white tee-shirt with the arms shorn off; Stewart was in the inevitable satin shorts and a tee-shirt with broad arrows across the chest; Andy looked smart in his black lurex jacket and black pants.
Without any delay they smashed into their set at 5.45pm, starting with: 'Voices Inside My Head', 'Don't Stand So Close To Me', 'Walking On The Moon' (Sting playing Brian the bass on this one), 'Death Wish', 'Fall Out', 'Man In A Suitcase', 'Bring On The Night' then one of the new numbers: 'Invisible Sun' (our new single). 'Do-Do-Do-Do, De-Da-Da-Da', 'Truth Hits Everybody', 'Shadows In The Rain', (with bass Brian again) followed and then a big surprise - a brass section of three guys came on to join The Police - standing to one side of the stage for: 'When The World is Running Down' and three more new songs: 'Demolition Man' (magnificent lead guitar work from Andy), 'One World (Not Three)' and 'Spirits In The Material World'.
The brass section strolled off and the set was resumed with some familiar numbers: 'The Bed's Too Big Without You', 'Driven To Tears' and 'Message In A Bottle' before back came the brass boys for 'Roxanne'. The set finished at 7.10pm.
Naturally the crowd, which had stood enthralled for nearly an hour and a half were not going to let it go at that ... roars for an encore eventually brought the three back for 'I Can't Stand Losing You' and 'Be My Girl'. Then Danny Quatrochi took over bass to allow Sting to blow sax on another superb rendering of 'Demolition Man', finally finishing the show at 7.30pm - and the boys ran down the runway and on to the waiting bus while I staggered from the side of the stage, utterly exhausted.
To say that the 'Philly' audience was stunned is putting it mildly. They hadn't seen anything like this before and The Police have acquired lots of new followers among the American music fans.
© Dee Boyd for Outlandos/Sting.com
Ticket image courtesy of Dietmar & Raphael