11.11.2007 - 2007-11-11 BOSTON: TD BankNorth Garden / Not quite every little thing is magic - Much of The Police show is right on, though...
Not quite every little thing is magic - Much of The Police show is right on, though...
One of the cool things about watching Fiction Plane open up for the Police at the TD Banknorth Garden earlier this week, was how psyched the band got the audience for the headliners. It's not that Fiction Plane was bad, or especially good. It's that their leader, bassist and singer Joe Sumner, looks, moves and sounds so much like his father - who just happens to be Sting. You find yourself thinking, "Man, that guy looks like 'Nothing Like the Sun'-era Sting! Wow, that would be cool to see the real Sting play tonight. Wait, I am gonna see the real Sting play tonight... and with The Police! This is gonna be great! Geez, I'm hungry. Maybe I should get a hot dog before The Police start."
Oops. Sorry about that. Let you into too much of my interior monologue, there.
Anyway, Fiction Plane are an adequate alternative rock three-piece who would be better heard in the confines of a smaller club than an arena. Joe Sumner's voice may sound like his dad's, but the songs are very much his own, drawing much from a different type of '80s sound, more like anything on a John Hughes soundtrack.
Then it was time for Joe's dad to take the stage. The Police set was consistent with the "best of" fare they've been playing throughout the tour, but with a lot of improvisational meanderings within the songs courtesy of Andy Summers. The thrill of watching the busy fills of Stewart Copeland is still unparalleled and Sting's voice sounds crisp and loose. Together they brought new arrangements on many parts of these classic songs. A few, such as the sped-up bridge of 'Synchronicity II' felt slightly over-intellectualized and changed for the sake of change, rather than the sake of quality. Remember 'Don't Stand So Close To Me 86', anyone?
The trio found their groove in the middle of a jam during 'Walking on the Moon' which continued into a medley of songs from their third album, 'Zenyatta Mondatta'.
During this medley of 'Voices Inside My Head' and 'When The World is Running Down You Make the Best of What's Still Around' it became clear that not only were the band switching up beats in certain instances, but they were also switching keys, so Sting could hit the notes more easily. Nowhere was this more apparent than on 'So Lonely', where he forsook the gorgeous falsetto in favor of a range that the audience could hit along with him.
The audience singing along was another odd aspect of this show. Everyone knew all the words, and was happy to sing along, but it just wasn't as rabid as it was when The Police first graduated to arena level superstars. How could it be though? Fans who were teenagers in 1983 are in their mid to late thirties now. What was evident in the audience's subdued excitement was an appreciation that the guys performing these songs that have become so ingrained in our soft rock subconscious were the guys who actually first recorded them, rather than the millions of cover bands we've all heard play 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', and therein lay the true, er, um, magic of this show. And seeing the three guys responsible for this music performing it together after all these years made up for any over-arranging or any slower tempos.
© Boston Metro by Pat Healy