The Police in Nottingham...
Once in the lobby, I'm faced with a most cloying mixture of bitter and sweet odours; it's as if all those TV adverts for Denim aftershave and Rive Gauche perfumes, mixed with a wave of Havana cigar smoke, have come to life in the shape of the well-heeled set of glamorous-looking people who make up most of tonight's audience. They prefer measures of Bacardi & Coke to a can of cut-price Guinness (said firm are partly sponsoring the tour).
A warning voice reminds us that "the concert will continue in five minutes time" and no sooner are the already-merry patrons in their seats than a nasal voice booms from somewhere near the rear of the stage. Amid some mad scrambling to see the stage, I can just about view (everyone's so tall!) bands of gold, red and blue light flanking the band, adding fire to the atmosphere of giddy excitement. And when a powdery-white spotlight fixes on the centre of attention, Sting, this extracts some thunderous applause and more hushed squeals of delight. It's obvious who they've come here to see tonight.
As the set gains momentum, Sting's call of "eee-ooh-ho", "eee-ayyyy", "eee-ahhh-yow", "lo-lo-lo" (and other variations thereof) become more intertwined with each song, and these interludes are worth hearing. Very much so. But at most other times, the band appear to be altogether bored by the whole thing and, somewhat ironically, respond least to the older hits most loved by the audience ('Don't Stand So Close To Me' nearly raises the roof). This isn't helped by their tendency to ignore each other on stage; apart from the odd "Andy Summers!" or "Stewart Copeland!", Sting really only acknowledges his cohorts on 'So Lonely' when, after a patchy beginning, he grimaces and mutters into the mike "Oh, nice
I've seen them powerful, majestic, even positively sweeping. But they weren't any of that tonight.
© Smash Hits by Linda Duff (with thanks to Dietmar)
Ticket from Tina