SHOW REVIEW

Reunited Police still have 'magic'...

For more than 20 years the musical legacy of the Police has been carried on the lithe and able frame of lead singer Sting. The superstar performer has been sharing the load over the Summer of '07 during a reunion tour with drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers that stopped at Rentschler Field in Connecticut on Tuesday night.

Make no mistake about it: Sting is still the star, both caretaker and beneficiary of the legacy of this band. But if anyone dismissed the value of Copeland and Summers during their long absence, it is being rediscovered during this tour.

Sting's chops are not in question and the singer looked and sounded as ageless and timeless as ever. The show opened with a gong, some guitar and the familiar strains of 'Message In A Bottle'.

The band was set up as a trio, sounding raw and virile. It was simple guitar, bass and drums, save for the looped backing vocal that mysteriously appeared on several occasions.

Sting introduced both Summers and Copeland as ''legends'' as the ensemble loped through 'Walking On The Moon', 'Don't Stand So Close to Me' and 'When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around'.

They ran through a stadium-rock worthy workout of 'Driven To Tears', which featured not only Summers' most engaging solo of the night, but the first indication of camaraderie between the newly reunited band mates.

While Summers stretched the guitar strings, Sting perched over his shoulder and plucked away at the bass. They weren't exactly cavorting, but given the history of cool relations it was a significant sight for fans to behold.

Before 'Truth Hits Everybody', which Sting jokingly introduced as being from their first album ''recorded in 1878,'' the singer implored fans to turn around to watch the moon rise up over Rentschler Field.

After a danceable 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic', Summers stood up to an array of percussion instruments and gracefully led the band into 'Wrapped Around Your Finger'. The delivery was subtle and deft.

Sting pulled out a pan flute to open 'Walking in Your Footsteps' and the crowd again witnessed him and Summers playfully facing off at center stage.

With the front of the stadium awash in red lights, the band closed the set with 'Roxanne', and returned in less than a minute to open the encore with 'King of Pain'. They returned a second time to run through a reckless version of 'Next to You'.

Fiction Plane, featuring Sting's son, Joe Sumner, opened the show with a 30-minute set. The lanky lead-singer/bass player (sound familiar?), fronting a rock trio (sound familiar?), looked and sounded very much like his famous father while playing a handful of songs that could fit somewhere in the early Police catalog.

(c) The Republican by Donnie Moorhouse



The Police reunion tour is magic...

They're back, and they sound really good.

It's been 24 years since The Police released its last studio album 'Synchronicity', but Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers, and Sting showed Tuesday night that they haven't lost much in the way of playing good music.

The Police put on a very strong performance at Rentschler Field in front of thousands of excited fans of various ages.

Prior to this year's reunion tour, the band hadn't toured for more than two decades. But apparently the group has worked out any kinks it may have had after such a long layoff and managed to find the old magic of the past.

The band opened with the popular 'Message In A Bottle' and continued onto 'Synchronicity II'. Other hits like 'Wrapped Around Your Finger', 'King of Pain', and 'Every Breath You Take' were part of the performance.

Yet other less-noted songs like 'The Bed's Too Big Without You' and 'When the World is Running Down' gave hardcore fans a little something extra and helped break up a simple live rendition of the 'Every Breath You Take: The Classics' greatest hits album.

But the night wasn't solely about rehashing studio versions of the band's catalog. Instead, Copeland, Summers, and Sting found ways to extend songs and add a flourish to squeeze every ounce of music out of a song.

Copeland was a madman going from here to there in his percussion area, and he showed his amazing versatility during 'Wrapped Around Your Finger'. Andy Summers was on his game on the guitar and had many great moments - a very notable one was his play during 'Synchronicity II'.

Sting, holding his old beat-up bass guitar, also did a nice job on vocals. As the front man, it was Sting's job to bring the crowd into the show. Whether it was talking about the large visible ''Connecticut moon'' or asking if the audience was ready to sing tonight, Sting managed to keep the crowd entertained between some of the tunes.

One nice moment came before the band began playing 'Don't Stand So Close To Me'.

''This song is not autobiographical,'' he told the audience.

Sting, a former teacher, made sure that no one had the wrong idea about the song. The subject is about forbidden love between a female student and her male instructor.

The lighting and screen projections also gave the performance a nice feel. For example, the dinosaur bones walking on the large stage television screens had a nice complementary effect during 'Walking In Your Footsteps'. The lighting was also strong during 'Synchronicity II' and 'Can't Stand Losing You'.

Perhaps the best projection moment was during the final song of the evening, 'Next To You'. During the performance, a collage of the band was played that showed the three guys during their old touring days.

The opening band, Fiction Plane, was also entertaining. Sting's son Joe Sumner is the lead vocalist in that band, and the song ''Death Machine'' is a very impressive tune.

As for dad's band, Sting and The Police played for a little less than two hours and cranked out about 20 songs.

It would've been nice to hear a couple more tunes to extend the set. Songs like 'Synchronicity I', 'Does Everyone Stare', 'Murder By Numbers', 'Tea In The Sahara', and 'Man In A Suitcase' could've made the show not only longer, but even stronger.

Also, whether it could be helped or not, 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' didn't quite match the power of the studio version.

The performance also felt somewhat like a carbon copy of the Sunday night Fenway Park show in Boston. It would've been nice if the guys would've changed a couple songs around here and there. This would've given some fans, who are familiar with what set lists have been played in other cities, a sense of surprise. Sometimes the wonder of what will be played next is one of the best things at a concert. If something unexpected were played from the band's catalog, or if songs were played in a different order on tour, it could possibly enhance the concert experience.

But these are small gripes.

The band played great versions of 'King of Pain', 'Driven To Tears', and 'Roxanne', among others. Perhaps the best performance of the night was a fantastic extended version of 'Can't Stand Losing You' toward the end of the set.

Again, overall it was a strong performance, and it's good to see Copeland, Summers, and Sting playing together again. Hopefully, it won't be the last time that the three perform together in Connecticut.

Although the band won't be returning to Connecticut during the tour, they'll be playing relatively nearby for a number of tour dates. The Police play tonight and Friday at New York City's Madison Square Garden. The band will also perform Sunday at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

The Police will also swing back to play Halloween at Madison Square Garden and Sunday, Nov. 11, at the T.D. BankNorth Garden in Boston.

(c) The Journal Inquirer by Mark D. Simpson



The Police Fire Off The Hits...

They shared a stage, but the three members of the Police didn't always look like they were playing together Tuesday night at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

That's not to say the trio didn't rock - it did, through 20 of the band's catchiest songs and biggest hits. But the seminal group, reunited for its first large-scale tour since 1983, sometimes seemed more like three musicians playing individual parts than one band playing its songs.

It's a subtle distinction, though, and it didn't matter to most of the 30,000 people cheering and singing along to songs that still sounded vital 25-plus years later as they poured from giant banks of speakers.

The show was brisk and professional, and the band has been on the road long enough this summer to regain the incredible musical chemistry that was such an important part of the Police in its first incarnation. The songs, starting with opener 'Message In A Bottle' and continuing all the way through the final encore, 'Next To You,' sounded tight but relaxed, and with room for variations.

Yet it took a little while for the three to really lock into a groove, and it didn't always happen on the most obvious tunes: guitarist Andy Summer's solo five songs in on 'When the World is Running Down' when Sting wandered over to lean in and watch, for example, or the way the two seemed to catch the wave of drummer Stewart Copeland's complicated rhythm on 'Driven To Tears'.

The Police hit their stride in the middle of the set, blazing through 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic' as Sting toyed with the vocal meter, and reveling in the sultry seduction of 'Wrapped Around Your Finger', when Copeland switched from his full drum kit to an array of cymbals and percussion set up behind him.

Summers played full, chiming chords on 'Walking On The Moon,' and though Copeland's drumming was less frenetic than when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago, he kept busy with complex fills.

Sting's voice has held up well over the years, and he sang with detached longing on 'Don't Stand So Close to Me' and hit just the right note of wry self-absorption on 'Can't Stand Losing You'.

The stage was large, but fairly simple, with big video screens on either side that showed the musicians most of the time, splashes of red, yellow and blue on 'Synchronicity II' and images of poverty and hardship in what looked like refugee camps on 'Invisible Sun' later in the show.

The band ended its regular set with 'Roxanne', the stadium bathed in red lights as Sting pined for the song's namesake prostitute. The first encore featured the slow-building gem 'King of Pain,' the loose reggae jam 'So Lonely' and the biggest sing-along of the night: 'Every Breath You Take.'

The band returned for a second encore, 'Next To You', to finish the night as the crowd drifted away, packed, as Sting predicted earlier on 'Synchronicity II', into shiny metal boxes for the drive home.

(c) Hartford Courant by Eric R. Danton



Every little thing they did was magic...

No pyrotechnics, not much of a light show, no extra musicians, basically none of the trappings of a huge, expensive summer tour were on hand at Rentschler Field Tuesday night. But the three seminal members of the legendary '80s band The Police were there, and that's all that mattered to the almost-capacity crowd.

When guitarist Andy Summers walked on stage just after the public address system finished playing Bob Marley's 'Get Up, Stand Up', the noise was deafening. And that uproar paled in comparison to when drummer Stewart Copeland and bassist/singer/all-around star Sting came out and immediately jumped into the hit 'Message In A Bottle'.

On a large stage that featured three big screen projectors behind them and one gigantic screen on each side of them, the trio of musicians grabbed the crowd immediately and didn't let go. Running around on a split-level set-up that gave the band more room than it needed, the guys usually stayed close together, which they probably had to do when gigging at clubs when The Police formed in 1977.

Sting took the natural role of frontman by addressing the crowd right after the second song ('Synchronicity II'), introducing the band one by one to a crowd that really didn't need those intros. Without missing a beat, the band then jumped into an extended and solo-heavy take on 'Walking On The Moon'. Both 'Moon' and 'Message In A Bottle' were burdened with jagged transitions, but the audience didn't seem to care and the band moved on without missing a beat.

After taking a little of the excitement out of the venue with a lengthy and somewhat monotonous take on 'The Bed's Too Big Without You', the trio handed the hungry audience its best three-song punch in a row, with an energetic take on 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', a fiery 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' and a rousing 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da'.

The gem of the evening came from the band's first record, the deep cut 'Truth Hits Everybody'. It was the band's only real reminder to the crowd that The Police started out as an almost-punk band. The short tune found the guys at their tightest, with Summers' guitar leading the way.

After running through the repertoire of hits, including 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' and 'Invisible Sun', the band closed the set with 'Roxanne', the crowd singing along the infamous, infectious lines.

In the end, it was just three guys on stage playing their hearts out - no extras, no frill - showing that what made them famous 30 years ago is what will keep them popular for another 30.

(c) New Haven Register by Patrick Ferrucci

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