06.09.2007 - 2007-06-09 DENVER, CO: Pepsi Center / Police return for better, worse...
Police return for better, worse...
Acting much like they did in the early '80s, the reunited trio proves itself able to keep the crowd on its feet in spite of some rough patches.
While The Police will never go down in the annals of great rock 'n' roll bands, they still created their own important niche in the history books - and it's a legacy that will remain intact, even after the U.K. band's epic world tour that played the Pepsi Center on Saturday and will play there again tonight.
Drummer Stewart Copeland, guitarist Andy Summers and bassist-vocalist Sting laid down an impressively varied set on Saturday that proved the band's mighty muscle, from the sprawling reggae-kissed anthem 'I Can't Stand Losing You' to the blatant jazziness of 'Roxanne'. The trio has its issues after not playing together regularly for more than two decades, but it was mostly tight in the hits-packed set that kept the crowd on its feet for most of two hours.
Perhaps most interesting was the on-stage role each musician plays - and how those roles have barely changed since the '80s. The parakeet-like Sting is the buoyantly effervescent leader, bopping about while tugging on his ancient, ratty bass.
The ever-nimble Copeland is like an overgrown kid behind the kit with his blue jersey, black headband, white gloves and always-stupefied look. Summers is the disaffected one, standing mostly motionless at his stage left position, occasionally looking down to his guitar and sometimes mouthing Sting's lyrics to keep his place.
The group started sloppily with 'Message in a Bottle', but they were locked in by the third chorus. They flirted with jammy experimentation toward the end of the song, but we knew that was going to be a major part of the band's "reunion sound" after its YouTuberific set at the Grammys. Thankfully the band didn't indulge its fusion-world tendencies too often.
The jokes were the same as at all the previous dates. Early in the set, Sting quipped, "I'd like to introduce the band - Andy, this is Stewart."
One of the band's most lasting songs, 'Don't Stand So Close To Me', was performed as an intimate whisper rather than the impassioned cry of the original album version, and while it was interesting at first, the presentation grew old - as did the late-set funk of 'Roxanne'.
But most of the songs stood as sterling examples of the band's relevance. 'Walking on the Moon' was an easy groover concerned with nothing other than making the crowd sing along. 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' was thrown down as a bright Caribbean-affected blast of sunshine, and the band's lack of pretension was as welcome as their addictively youthful energy.
© The Denver Post by Ricardo Baca