07.16.2007 - 2007-07-16 CLEVELAND, OH: Quicken Loans Arena / The Police perform in perfect synchronicity...
The Police perform in perfect synchronicity...
Everything old was new-wave again when the Police headlined a sold-out concert Monday night at The Q.
Singer-bassist Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland last performed in these parts in 1983 at the old Richfield Coliseum, on their last major outing. It felt as if they never had called it quits as the comeback trail led through Cleveland for these resurgent Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, with 'Message in a Bottle' kick-starting a two-hour hit parade.
"Hey, Cleveland, how're you doing?" Sting asked during the refrain.
This was the sole Ohio stop on the trio's 40-date North American reunion tour. The action unfolded on a no-frills stage. The only props were a few colorful balloons in honor of Copeland. He was celebrating his 55th birthday, making him the same age as Sting. Summers is a scissor-kicking 64.
Copeland, who couldn't play an unadorned 4/4 beat if his life were at stake, displayed his usual polyrhythmic flair behind the drum kit. He switched to a well-stocked percussion rig for several numbers, including 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' and 'Walking in Your Footsteps'.
Summers alternated between abstract solos and atmospheric jazz chords, with his exquisite D minor 11th shimmering like a hot sun above a desolate landscape during 'Walking on the Moon'.
Last we heard from Sting, he was playing the lute. Thank goodness he went for the loot by teaming up again with his old partners in crime, who brought out the best in the Police chief.
His soaring voice slipped into a spine-tingling falsetto during 'The Bed's Too Big Without You', a reggae-tinged lament about the futility of attempting tantric sex with a pillow.
More than 20,000 fans provided backing vocals on 'Roxanne' (cue red lights) and several other tunes, including an effervescent 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.'
Sting: "I resolve to call her up..."
Us: "A thousand times a day..."
Sting: "And ask her if she'll marry me..."
Us: "Some old-fashioned way..."
Almost every little thing the Police did was magic, with a few exceptions. Sting had trouble finding the pocket during 'King of Pain', and he flubbed the lyrics to 'Synchronicty II', the best tune ever about suburban angst and the Loch Ness Monster.
"This song is not autobiographical," ex-teacher Sting declared before 'Don't Stand So Close to Me'. Too bad his schoolgirl fantasy never quite took off in concert.
Nonetheless, those minor trespasses were easy to forgive in light of a hard-hitting 'Driven to Tears', a dynamic 'Can't Stand Losing You'/'Reggatta de Blanc' medley and a transcendent 'Every Breath You Take'.
'Next to You', a throwback to the band's punk roots in the 1970s, capped a four-song encore. Afterwards, Sting, Summers and Copeland joined hands and took a triumphant bow.
"The best birthday ever!" Copeland shouted. "Thank you, Cleveland!"
The pleasure was all ours.
Crowd-warming duties were doled out to Fiction Plane, led by Sting's son Joe Sumner. His voice sounded a bit like Daddy's, especially on the screechy high notes, although the young Sumner's unremarkable alt-rock trio was out of its league.
© The Plain Dealer by John Soeder