08.07.2008 - 2008-08-07 NEW YORK: Madison Square Garden / Police and than you... Grand Finale at Garden...
Police and than you... Grand Finale at Garden...
If you expected a bittersweet symphony at the Police retirement bash at Madison Square Garden last night, you'd have been disappointed. The final Police concert - ever - was more celebration than wake.
Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland - the trio who shattered at the top of their game in 1984 and regrouped 16 months ago for this reunion tour - played a great show as their last hurrah.
Sting, one of the least sentimental men in rock, was unmoved by the gravity of the moment, telling the house, "It's been a huge honor to be back with my friends. We played 150 gigs and we didn't strangle each other - not that we didn't think about it."
Mayor Bloomberg, nestled in a row of his own in Section 80, sat sphinx-like for most of the show, hardly nodding his noggin' - but even he cracked a smile at that.
Sting's humor aside, the big difference between the start of the Police tour and now was the camaraderie. Last night, they were brothers - no tension, no sniping, just three pals playing a bunch of jazzy, reggae-flavored party tunes.
Besides the historic nature of the event, and the unity of the band, its quality was also due to the fact they didn't treat their classics like museum pieces. With little respect to studio arrangements, the band had fun with their music, tinkering with tempos, extending solos and jamming.
The band played all the old songs, like the opener, 'Message in a Bottle', as well as 'Don't Stand So Close to Me', 'Walking on the Moon', 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' and the silly but lovable 'De Doo Doo Doo, De Da Da Da', introduced with a few bars of the equally silly oldie 'Do Wah Diddy'" This was an all-thriller, no-filler program that had the fans on their feet swaying to the reggae beats and singing along to the reedy vocals of Sting at nearly every turn.
There were subdued moments - especially during the moody love songs, like 'Driven to Tears' - but those were few.
And then there was Sting. Maybe it's all that tantric sex, but the singer/bassist seems unchanged by time. Sure, there's gray in his beard - which he oddly took care of between songs by shaving it off. But he's trim and athletic, and his voice still has the ability to hit the same highs and lows of his youth.
When the band broke up in the '80s, they petered out with a whimper. If this is, in fact, the last Police show ever, the boys managed to close the book at Madison Square Garden with a bang.
© New York Post by Dan Aquilante