08.05.2007 - 2007-08-05 EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ : Giants Stadium / The Police play with fire, but fizzle...
The Police play with fire, but fizzle...
|01||Message In A Bottle |
|01||Walking On The Moon |
|02||Demolition Man |
|03||Voices Inside My Head |
|04||When The World Is Running Down |
|05||Don't Stand So Close To Me |
|06||Driven To Tears |
|07||Hole In My Life |
|08||Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic |
|09||Wrapped Around Your Finger |
|10||De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da |
|11||Invisible Sun |
|12||Can't Stand Losing You |
|14||King Of Pain |
|15||So Lonely |
|16||Every Breath You Take |
|17||Next To You |
The three punk-ska-rockers from England who played to four paying customers at The Chance in Poughkeepsie 1978 ended the first leg of their historic, North American reunion tour in front of 55,000 fans at Giants Stadium in New Jersey Sunday night.
The Police - bass player and vocalist Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland - showcased for about two hours the talents that helped them sell more than 50 million albums worldwide.
The take at the door at The Chance on that icy night in Oct. 1978 was $12 and one of the club's co-owners felt so bad for the band, as he helped them load their rented gear into a rented van, that he gave Sting $20 out of his pocket. On Sunday night at Giants Stadium, a single ticket cost $277.
Surrounded by a stunning stage show that included five huge video screens, six pillars with stage lights that rose and fell all night, conjuring images of the moon and ocean floor, Sting, a former school teacher who looks like he hasn't aged a day in three decades, strutted, leaped and rocked his way around stage all night. His voice seemed as crisp as it was the day millions first heard him sing about a prostitute named Roxanne. And the pop tunes he wrote when rock music was released on vinyl LPs and cassette tapes, when MTV just played music videos, maintained their rock, their roll, their reggae and their relevance.
Summers played his guitar with Jimi Hendrix-like abandon, often stealing the thunder from Sting, the band's flamboyant front-man. Summers, who unlike Sting looked old enough for a 30-year reunion tour, maintained an air of abandon, striking guitar god poses with his six-string that were authentic, reminiscent of the days when this trio fueled its fire with brash assertiveness from the rock "n" roll fountain of youth, and did not elicit cringes on behalf of an old guy trotting out the hits from another time in everyone's life.
The sneakers that Summers wore with a blazer, over a t-shirt, complemented nicely a guitar strap that read, "Oh My God, Who Killed Kenny?" an iconic line from the Comedy Central animated television program, "South Park." When he wasn't front-and-center, slicing through guitar leads, Summers was playing sparingly and efficiently, creating that infamous Police atmosphere with a simple ska downbeat, repeated riff or minimalist chord.
The night, however, belonged to Copeland. For two straight hours and over the course of about two dozen songs, Copeland maintained the enthusiasm of a 12-year-old boy who had just received a new drum kit on Christmas morning. He alternated on several songs between a drum set and percussion pod, sometimes within the same song, and showed that even if you didn't realize it the first time you heard a Police song 30 years ago, his rolls, crashes and fills were as much a foundation to the success of The Police as Sting's famous lyrics, like, 'I'll Be Watching You', 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da' and 'Sending Out an SOS'.
Copeland played so hard, so furious and with so much intensity that during some songs it seemed as though he had grown six more arms.
Each member of The Police dazzled fans inside the home of the New York Jets and Giants, beneath a sky filled with air traffic from nearby Newark Airport. But, The Police that played Sunday night lacked the high-octane energy, brash buzz and in-your-face-kick-in-their step that lied at the heart of their appeal when they first burst onto the American rock scene in the late 1970s.
These iconic songs prompted sing-a-longs in the crowd, incited dancing way up in the cheap seats, and reminded everyone that Sting will always be one of the world's greatest songwriters. But just about every song of the night lacked cohesion or a band chemistry. The one exception was a reworked version of 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', which was by far the best song of the evening, despite the absence of a piano, around which the recorded version of the song was built.
But the force with which The Police took America by storm so long ago seems to have turned into a fizzle. The three video screens directly behind the stage were a major distraction. And most of the evenings songs, though the rockets were firing on the launching pad, never took off.
The problem seemed to lie with Sting, who since The Police played their final concert together, which, ironically, was at Giants Stadium on June 15, 1986, has never truly recaptured in his solo work the magic that made The Police, well, The Police. Sting has released a catalog of solo albums that seem more suited for adult-contemporary radio than the horizon where punk met new wave, on which The Police stood when they ruled the world so long ago.
The Police Sunday night sounded largely like a lacking, solo Sting, performing the hits of his old band, with his old band. For the four paying customers who remember, there will always be Poughkeepsie.
© Poughkeepsie Journal by John W. Barry