It wasn't the same seeing the Police at the Spectrum, Philadelphia's pro sport arena, as it was back at CBGB or even the midsize Palladium. Short of playing stadiums, the indoor arena is the Police's last performing frontier in rhe States.
To their credit, the band made an effort to send everyone home happy. Sting engaged in the tried and true audience singalong, but did it with good humour. The Spectrum throng responded alertly and eagerly - and mostly in tune, too. Only veteran Police fans might have mourned the singalong's replacing exciting bits of jamming, which were always delightful tangents and surprisingly so, this not being the era of the solo.
This performance - a fairly comprehensive selection of material old and new - was unflaggingly energetic. As late as the second encore, Stewart Copeland was playing his drumkit like an octopus on speed! An added three-piece horn section provided melodic/harmonic fillips as well as brief but effective solo firepower to set off Andy Summers' guitar.
Not as wonderful a show as I'd previously seen from The Police, but without a doubt worthy of the Spectrum's healthy reaction (which, by the way put jaded New York crowds to shame).
Openers the Go-Go's got an impressive reception, proving the group can play large arenas with its ingenuous enthusiasm intact. Occasional mixing board glitches aside, Gina Schock's drumming propelled the sweet guitars and vocal harmonies; singer Belinda Carlisle continues to improve as a frontwoman. Almost half the audience literally danced and clapped through much of the set. Next time around the Go-Go's might well be ready to headline at the Spectrum themselves.
© Trouser Press by Jim Green (with thanks to Dietmar)