|Tour||The 'Outlandos' years 1977/79|
GLASGOW: Apollo TheatreAndy Summers from "One Train Later"...
"The stage at the Glasgow Apollo slopes downward to a drop of about twelve feet. The edge disappears into blackness, and in the heat of the moment it would be easy to dance off it. We pogo about on this incline, with the Scottish audience chanting and screaming. The balcony sways, bending up and down as if it is about to shatter, but oblivious to the fragility beneath, the fans jump up and down as if tempting fate. This is our first gig as headliners in the U.K., and with a crowd surrounding the hotel and waiting outside the Apollo, it's already out of control. I hit my pedals, leap in the air, run around the stage, and pray that we are not about to witness a tragedy. Toward the end of the show we do a song called 'Be My Girl - Sally' which after the initial chorus has a monologue from me about a hapless individual's love affair with a blow-up doll. I always deliver this ditty in a Yorkshire accent, as it seems to give it the right tone, and even this unlikely piece gets chanted along with, and we all rise to a crescendo with "And I only have to worry in case my girl wears thin." Back in the dressing room, drenched in sweat and sitting among piles of little tartan-wrapped presents, we remark about the bouncing balcony, amazed that the whole thing didn't collapse. Later we find out that the Apollo has been condemned."
GLASGOW: Apollo Theatre
The Police, Glasgow Apollo...
The Police opened their tour at the Glasgow Apollo and it was a night to remember.
A good bit back there was a buzz about the Police but nothing came of it. Now, after 'making it' in America their British career has finally taken off with 'Roxanne' being a hit the second time around. I must admit I liked them last time I viewed them but now they're even better.
They took the stage to rapturous applause. The hall was almost sold out and everyone was standing, clapping in anticipation. The pace was set and the Police didn't let up one minute.
They opened dynamically with 'Can't Stand Losing You' and steadily worked their way through most of the album. Each song was greeted with almost hysterical cheering which was no more than they deserved.
Technically, they were almost perfect and lived up to all my expectations. The vocals were a little rough, but after an extensive tour of the States that was to be expected. Even so, they were great.
The only downer of the night was a rather long drawn out rendition of 'Roxanne' but it still remained a hugely enjoyable number.
The Police are a band you really should catch. They put on a well balanced, enjoyable show which ranges from the obscenely funny to the poignant.
What more can I say? Because it doesn't matter how much I try to explain I just won't do them justice. The Police are a band of the future and if they keep putting on shows like this it's one that's going to last for a long time.
© Superpop by Russell Bell (with thanks to Dietmar)
GLASGOW: Apollo Theatre
Police at Glasgow Apollo...
If The Cramps were any older they'd probably have been in Andy Warhol's films - one of them even looks like a fibreglass model of Joe Dallesandro with half of Human League vocalist Phil Oakey's hairstyle in aluminium dye. Instead they started a group. You also get a post-Nico, vacant blonde and a singer who like to slink around like a half-reptile vampire slave with epilepsy. Punkability voodoo, the punk is New York attitude and mainly visual; the ability is the music - see the band, borrow the records; the voodoo is redolent of adverts for bat-shaped savoury snacks.
The Police had alerted the Apollo management that only the stalls would be needed for their gig. On the night, record numbers of people arrive to pay at the door and the concert is a sell-out, crowding even the upper balcony.
Unless this Glasgow audience is almost exclusively responsible for the modest, belated success of Roxanne and the album, The Police look like being the major surprise of 1979. Who would've thought a former Cherry Vanilla backing band would be the ones to save the the masses starved of standard rock?
Unfortunately, because of constant touring and Sting's involvement in films, there is an extreme shortage of new material. Which means they play a short show, only being stretched out to include meandering dub-like jamming, Sting wailing 'Yeah', 'Woh' or 'Rock Salmon' interminably. This manoeuvre is apparently a sincere attempt at creating new forms of music.
Considering the amount of music which evolved from blues they could easily succeed with reggae. But I suggest that they save it for rehearsals until it's good enough to stun the world. Meanwhile they'll probably do more to popularise reggae than Bob Marley. Despite that the Police are an exciting rock band. Their material may be better as 'numbers' than 'songs', but that just means they're great live and make good party records.
The crowd are on their feet from the start, cracking the balconies and singing along with nearly everything - even when Andy Summers does his Stanley Holloway routine and recites 'Sally'. The first three songs impressed me enormously, after that the jamming bores and slower songs intrude drearily in the name of pacing. Amidst those disappointments, the newish 'Message in A Bottle' stands out as comparable to the singles in quality. Assuming of course, that the dull parts are live padding.
The man responsible for The Police's wide appeal is the bass player, actor, teenage pin-up, songwriter and possessor of what is currently the best white reggae voice - Sting. He will be famous and successful for years and years, though not in a flamboyant way; steady and dependable like his music.
The Police are good, but despite their plans I can't believe they'll ever be better than that. Besides, America likes boogie bands.
© New Musical Express by Glenn Gibson