06.09.2007 - 2007-06-09 DENVER, CO: Pepsi Center / Police reunion hits high, low notes...
Police reunion hits high, low notes...
It's one of the summer's biggest tours - and one of the most expensive, with good seats fetching more than $200. But longtime fans who caught the Police reunion tour Saturday at the Pepsi Center may have felt they got less than their money's worth, as the band fumbled through many of its best known tunes and at times seemed to be playing in at least two different keys.
The trio took the stage around 8:45 p.m. with drummer Stewart Copeland banging a giant gong as singer/bassist Sting and guitarist Andy Summers filed onstage and launched into 'Message in a Bottle'. The sing-along single garnered huge cheers from the sell-out crowd, but the sound mix buried Summers' guitar. The atmospheric rocker 'Synchronicity II' showed what a big sound the three could make that Summers seemed to have a hard time figuring out where to put his singers on the fretboard, playing out of time and key with the rest of the band.
The band started to gel better as the night went on, but new arrangements of old favorites such as 'Truth Hits Everybody' and 'Don't Stand So Close to Me' - reworked in some cases so that Sting didn't have to reach as far for the high note - robbed the tunes of their power.
Not that the show wasn't without its high points - an upbeat 'Can't Stand Losing You' showed the band at its energetic, stripped-down best, 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' saw the first appearance of Copeland's giant percussion riser, full of hanging cymbals and toys and kettle drums. The mostly instrumental 'Reggatta De Blanc' was a highlight as well, a powerful sing-along that demonstrated the band's instrumental prowess.
It wasn't a perfect show, to be sure, but the cheering fans - many of them aging Gen-Xers who no doubt grew up on the band's five albums - were willing to forgive the Police any off moments, singing their hearts out to favorites like 'Roxanne' and 'Walking on the Moon'.
Dressed in a white tank-top and loose-fitting black pants - his yoga-toned body much on display - Sting, 54, was in fine, full voice and exuded the charisma that made him leader of the band way back when - and led to his successful solo career. Though it must have been tempting for him to add some of his solo material to the set - or at the very least to use some of the lite-jazz arrangements of Police tunes he perfected after the band broke up - he didn't, to his credit.
In a February press conference announcing the show, the band vowed to go it as a trio, not relying on any back-up musicians or vocalists. In the end, maybe that wasn't such a great idea. While the guitar-bass-drums lineup performed admirably on many tunes, songs like 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic' and 'Spirits in the Material World' cried out for keys and back-up singers. A few extra players could have elevated the show to something really special.
The Police last toured in 1983 for their 'Synchronicity' album; the band re-united earlier this year for a tour that will take it to six continents. Saturday's Denver show was the first of two at the Pepsi Center. Tickets remain for tonight's show.
© The Boulder Camera by Greg Glasgow