It seemed more like a Third Division relegation match be taking place than a rock show when Police put on a concert at Gateshead last weekend.
Instead of the expected 35,000 fans, only about 12,000 turned up leaving acres of empty space around the arena. A dull, grey day hardly helped to lift the mood. For Sting it was not the the kind of glorious homecoming he might have expected, and was surely the first time in a few years when he has not appeared in front of a sell out crowd.
There were no surprises in their show or indications where they may head to next. But after an uneven start they began to play with their usual zest and vigour.
Towards the close, numbers like 'Invisible Sun' and the classic 'Roxanne' finally put some excitement into the event.
Next spring the group will return for a full-scale British tour and then they will have to prove that neither their appeal nor their musical prowess is beginning to falter.
© Daily Express by James Johnson (with thanks to Dietmar)