07.05.2007 - 2007-07-05 CHICAGO, IL: Wrigley Field / Big lovefest for reuinited Police...
Big lovefest for reuinited Police...
Back 25 years ago, when the Police packed what was then the Rosemont Horizon, I remember thinking: How the hell do three guys produce enough sound to fill this cavernous space?
With a weird sense of deja vu, I found myself thinking the same thing Thursday night when the reunited trio pulled the same trick at Chicago's Wrigley Field in the first of two sold-out shows.
Plus, it was a little more than two years ago that I, in a review of a solo Sting performance at UIC Pavilion, lamented that a little of Sting's pretentious "I'm a serious jazz musician" persona went a long way. Was it too much to ask him to rock out a bit, especially as he had hauled out so many Police songs for that show?
Thursday, I received my wish.
Who knew that April 2005 show would be a precursor to Thursday night's Wrigley lovefest, a greatest-hits sing-along that diehard fans probably thought they'd never witness.
From the opening chords of 'Message in a Bottle' to the finale jam of 'Next to You', all but one song was well-known - and well-received.
The Police came of age in the new-wave era of the late 1970s-early '80s, and while the angst of the bottle-blond band has dissipated (its fans have mellowed as well), they still have their musical chops.
Bassist/singer Sting is 55 now, but remains lean, wiry and in strong voice. Guitarist Andy Summers, at 64, may be a decade older than his bandmates but he can still knock out a few impressive riffs.
But it was 54-year-old Stewart Copeland who put in a particularly strenuous set. While purists will say he was occasionally behind the beat - and he was - the workout those songs entailed would have felled a guy half his age.
Unfortunately, the show was light on small talk and offered little insight into the songs. (Unless you consider not-such-new tidbits as "This song is not autobiographical; that's all I'm going to say" at the start of 'Don't Stand So Close to Me' to be insightful.)
For a band that hasn't played together since 1986 (with the exception of Sting's 1992 wedding and their 2003 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), they had remarkably limited interaction with each other. More than once their set felt a little rote.
Still, Sting and Summers joined forces occasionally for a little back-and-forth play, particularly for more improvisational takes of 'Driven to Tears' and 'Walking in Your Footsteps'. And there was a fun switch-up going from 'Voices Inside My Head' to 'When the World Is Running Down'.
Predictably, the crowd's biggest responses came with some of the band's biggest hits: 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da' and, of course, the pre-encore finale of 'Roxanne'.
To hear Sting belt out that last song was worth all of the hassle of parking, crowds and temporary on-field seating that a show at Wrigley entails.
That - and the kick that came from Copeland donning a Cubs baseball jersey at the end of the show with his name and "07" stitched on the back.
© Daily Southtown by Karen Sorensen