The Police play former bus station...
With no Newcastle date on the Synchronicity tour, those of us in the north east had to content themselves with a short trip south to Yorkshire to visit the very unpleasant Leeds venue known as the Queens Hall, a former bus station blessed with the acoustic qualities you might expect from such a soulless cavern.
Supporting the Police were the all girl group The Belle Stars who had had some chart success in the early '80's, most notably with their cover of the Dixie Cups song 'Iko Iko' and they played a solid, danceable set to a pretty enthusaiastic audience. We had a pretty good position in the hall during the Belle Stars set (it was general admission) and soon after the their set ended, everyone was baying for the Police to take to the stage.
The intro tape of 'Voices Inside Your Head' started up and the band wandered out on stage to a huge applause, Sting was dressed in a dark blue version of the multi coloured jacket he had worn for the US dates earlier in the year, Andy Summers in a loose white shirt and Stewart, of course, wore his usual uniform of tee-shirt and shorts. "Are you ready?", asked Sting. "Let's go! "1, 2, 3... With one breath..." and as the opening chords of 'Synchronicity I' blasted out the crowd violently surged towards the stage and it was clear even from our position that some down at the front were going to get hurt. The crowd seemed to become one mass of humanity and we were quite literally lifted off our feet and carried away in a unstoppable wave of people with no means of controlling our direction. Grabbing hold of each other we rode the surge from left to right as best we could.
Things calmed down a little as the band continued with 'Synchronicity II' and 'Walking In Your Footsteps' but the craziness started again as the band launched into 'Message In A Bottle'. Seeing some girls at the front who appeared to have lost conciousness being lifted out led us to the decision that discretion was a better choice than valour and we had to get out of the seething mass while we could and so fought our way to the back of the crowd where at least we could see the band even though the sound was appalling.
The set continued with 'Walking On The Moon', 'O My God', 'De Do Do De, Da Da Da Da', 'Wrapped Around Your Finger', 'Tea In The Sahara', 'Hole In My Life', 'Spirits In The Material World', 'Invisible Sun', 'One World', 'King Of Pain', 'Every Breath You Take', 'Murder By Numbers' and 'Roxanne'.
To the crowd's delight, during the encore of 'Can't Stand Losing You', Sting slowed things down and in a Yorkshire accent sang 'Where 'as tha been since ah saw thee...' and gave the crowd a verse of the famous Yorkshire 'anthem' 'On Ilkley Moor baht 'at'. Inspiring the audience further, Sting told the crowd he wanted us to make more noise, enough so "That they can hear you in Huddersfield, in Sheffield, and in Middlesbrough". And we did as he asked as the band drove back into 'Losing You' before rounding off the evening's performance with a mammoth version of 'So Lonely'.
© Dave & Wendy for Sting.com
Ticket image from Dave & Wendy