06.02.2007 - 2007-06-02 EDMONTON: Commonwealth Stadium / Police show arresting...
Police show arresting...
Stewart Copeland should be much happier with The Police's gig at Commonwealth Stadium.
The drummer wasn't entirely pleased with one of the trio's reunion shows in Vancouver, using words like "off kilter" and "hodgepodges" in a posting on his website, www.stewartcopeland.net.
While The Police's first open-air concert featured an almost identical set list - with the same gonging start - Copeland, Sting and guitarist Andy Summers were tighter, smoother and stronger as they rocked through their two-hour set on Saturday.
There were no foul-ups on the opener, 'Message In A Bottle', and 'Synchronicity II' and 'Spirits In the Material World' sounded like butter.
The trio didn't shy away from tinkering with some their classics - yet they seemed like they were trying to reign in their improvisational temptations.
'Synchronicity II' was slightly jazzier than the original recording. Only the chorus of 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' was slower and airier while the intro to 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' reverberated with a calypso beat.
"Do I have to tell the story of a thousand rainy days since we first met," Sting crooned as dark clouds hovered over the stadium. "It's a big enough umbrella / But it's always me that ends up getting wet."
The weather held out, thankfully, even though The Police often seemed to be taunting the meteorological gods.
Summers cranked out tempests of noise on his guitar. Copeland, looking slightly more subdued than in Vancouver, thundered away on his drums and percussion rack. Sting, who plucked his bass as if he were flicking cigarette butts, fondly reminisced about The Police's first trip to Edmonton in 1979.
"We drove from Winnipeg in a blizzard," he smiled.
The Police's next show in Edmonton was also a wild affair, with thousands of fans pouring on to the floor of Northlands Coliseum in 1983.
Saturday's crowd was older, wiser and more polite - clapping along to 'Walking In Your Footsteps', whoa-ing along to 'Truth Hits Everybody' and grooving to 'Don't Stand So Close To Me'. (We still don't know how many people were in the crowd, but the most popular guesstimate was about 30,000 fans.)
In fact, it wasn't until one of the group's last songs, 'Roxanne', that almost everyone in the stadium jumped to their feet.
They remained standing during the two encores, featuring 'King of Pain', 'So Lonely' and 'Every Breath You Take'.
They cheered wildly as Sting, Copeland and Summers took each other's hands and bowed at the end of the set. Another city of satisfied customers.
If life was fair, Sloan would be headlining stadiums, not opening for a group of musicians who haven't toured in more than two decades.
After all, the Halifax rockers have lasted twice as long - 15 years - and released twice as many albums - 10 - as The Police.
While Sloan simply doesn't have the same catalogue of killer songs, their set was still jam-packed with jangly, bittersweet goodness, raucous numbers and a drummer who looks eerily like Copeland.
"I always thought he looked like me," quipped Andrew Scott.
"We're actually brothers."
If Copeland ever goes down with another broken bone, he could call in Scott as a substitute, not that Police fans would necessarily approve of the idea.
If Sting ever needed the night off, his sound-a-like son could possibly fill his shoes.
Joe Sumner and Fiction Plane played another solid set of reggae-flavoured pop-rock tunes, including 'Two Sisters', 'It's A Lie', 'Drink' and 'Cigarette'.
With two discs to their name, the trio are at the start of their careers.
They'll only have to wait another 30 years to see if Fiction Plane has the same longevity and potency as The Police.
© Edmonton Journal by Sandra Sperounes
Ticket courtesy of Ellie