I've seen a lot of reunion tours, it's true. I also own a lot of Greatest Hits compilations, which, according to my band mate E., are for "old women and high-school girls". This may also be true, but let's be honest, classic rock owes its continued appeal to these compilations. Anyone want to delve into Foghat's second album? How about some live Eddie Money?
Er... no, thanks. Hits only, please. And maybe some long-time faves of the band. Or maybe just one.
Last night I saw The Police play their first show on an American stage in over 20 years. [I just like the way that sounds.] And in the end, it was the best thing about the show. Which is not to say that boys disappointed, but The Police have never been anything other than pretty much mainstream pop-punk-ska-reggae-Sting, and they've never apologized for it. They missed the punk movement altogether, largely because they were too good, too handsome and too well heeled. Last night's show proved that (at least in the case of the first two) they still have nothing to apologize for.
I went with my pal K., a longtime arena-show companion from way back - Boston, REM, Yes, CrosbyStillsNashandsometimesYoung - we've seen a lot together. Though I hadn't been to an arena show since I last went to the dentist. And I reeeeeeally need to see the dentist.
The Police, as K. said, are one of The Three Bands. The ones that you pay $xxx/ticket and climb over your own grandmother to see, if only on the principle that it is your rock and roll duty to see them live.
I think my Three and K.'s Three are different (besides The Police, his includes Talking Heads and mine includes DLR Van Halen), but the idea's the same. Confidential to K.: I swear to G-O-doublehockeysticks I will pay you back for the ticket.
Concert-going wardrobe rules (as remembered from high school):
No jacket, dress in layers.
No collared shirts. You're not at work, you're here to rock.
No t-shirts from other bands/tours. No one cares who else you've seen.
Shoes you can stand in for a long time
Use your pockets for essentials (drugs and booze included) but keep it simple. Bulging pockets are SO uncool.
You don't really need to buy the t-shirt.
Number of times I made this joke: "I can't believe The Cops are playing Key Arena!" - 1.
No one there was young enough to get it anyway, and K. didn't think it was that funny.
Sting and I had the same haircut: Advantage, Sting.
I have more hair: Advantage, me.
Stewart and Sting never came to blows onstage, which was a drag but probably good for Stewart, who looked like a winded skeleton throughout the entire show. With all the Tantric crap Sting does, he could most likely snap Stewart in half. With his mind.
Songs not played (of course) we wish were:
"Be My Girl (Sally)"
"On Any Other Day
"Does Everyone Stare"
Song we wish they hadn't played: "Don't Stand So Close to Me". Trying to split the difference (almost exactly) between the original and crappy '86 versions, they failed failed failed. Yuck.
Unexpected highlight: "Invisible Sun", complete with video images of war, starvation and poverty. Subtle. Simple. Impactful. Best Buy.
Gold Star for doing all his musical homework and nailing the extra credit bonus solos: Andy Summers
While most of the evening's numbers came from ZenyattaGhostSynchronicity timeframe, "Next to You", the first song from their first album, closed out the set. Get it? It's like a circle!
Number of beach balls in the crowd - 1
Number of camera and camera phone displays visible from our seats - 1,000,000
Number of terrible photos I took with my phone before putting it away and watching the damn concert - 4
Sting kept saying, "This is Seattle, right?" and we all kept saying yes, so I don't know why he kept asking.
Stewart Copeland seriously looked like Skeletor. With glasses. And a headband. And golfing gloves. Conclusion: Stewart Copeland is a TOTAL DORKWAD.
So they played The Rock Hits, we all had some fun and they made, and will continue to make, a veritable sh*t ton of money playing this tour. Strangely, I feel no ill will towards them for this. Not like I do towards, say, The Eagles. The Police never have to apologize for being old, well heeled and precocious hit-makers any more than I have to apologize for buying Message in a Box: The Complete Police Recordings. That's what people like about them and, I hope, about me.