SHOW REVIEW

The Police Show Is Best Buytacular...

In my (just under) three years at Chart, a lot of reunions have come and gone. With interest, I've watched the ebb and flow of The Pixies, the resurgence of Dinosaur Jr. and Mission Of Burma's triumphant, if somewhat less popular, reformation. Recently, there's been even bigger name get-back-togethers from Van Halen, The Verve, Spice Girls and Led Zeppelin. One reunited act has usurped all of them this year, though: The Police. On their second tour of North American this year, they booked two stops at the Air Canada Centre, the first of which was on Thursday night. The weird thing is that there are no lingering questions with the band. They are a thoroughly professional unit whose goodwill hasn't worn off simply because people can't get enough of them.

''They should just play Toronto 80 times,'' a colleague correctly remarked halfway through the trio's set. Given the fact this was the third of four sell-outs in the city, it's not inconceivable to think that could be a success. Despite the fact that the product on stage is, ahem, highly rehearsed (that's putting it mildly), the sold-out ACC crowd was on its feet for most of the night, dancing and clapping along as only Boomers without shame can. And, musically, it's not as though The Police weren't giving them everything they wanted to hear.

'Message In A Bottle' kicked off a night of high-power hits, some great - such as 'Can't Stand Losing You' and 'Roxanne' - and some powerfully painful (the enduring popularity of 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da' and 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' eludes me; perhaps my parents know the answer). As much as Sting is one of those guys who takes himself way, way too seriously, you have to give him credit for sounding and, abstractly speaking, looking as good now as he did 25 years ago. (In the latter department, Andy Summers is failing miserably, while Stuart Copeland has evolved into a dead ringer for Where's Waldo? On the technical side, they both remain excellent.)

The problem with the Police show is obvious, however. It is utterly lacking in spontaneity. Our photographer was told exactly who was coming out onstage and in what order before the band began. The photographers were also told Sting would jump at the ends of the first two songs. Now, that's not exactly rock 'n' roll. Worse, everything is filmed in high definition and broadcast on big screens above the stage. It's amazing The Police didn't have Best Buy-branded high-def DVDs of the show for sale at the merch tables after. They'd have made a killing.

And that's where the whole thing actually does kind of come into question. We all know reunions are about the money. It's a moot point, now. But the important thing is that the bands maintain the illusion that they have buried the hatchet and come together once more for the love of the music. This felt like a Broadway musical, like an act. It wouldn't shock me in the least if, at the end of the night, the Sting, Summers and Copeland nodded at each other, removed their makeup and went back to their respective tour buses to count the armfuls of dough; or, if you're Sting, have Tantric sex.

(c) ChartAttack.com by Noah Love



But who will police The Police?

Have The Police still got it? That's all anyone wants to know about the reunion tour of the late-'70s/early-'80s pop hit machine consisting of guitarist Andy Summers, drummer Stewart Copeland and a bassist/vocalist who goes by the curious name of Sting.

If by ''it'' you mean Sting's heartthrob status, then yes, The Police still have that. After the trio opened with a vigorous 'Message In A Bottle', Sting, complaining that he was too hot, removed his jacket. ''I'm going to take my clothes off,'' he said, and women - and probably more than a few men - squealed. (Incidentally, images from The Police reunion tour on the National Post's photo service show him in the same white sleeveless T-shirt over and over again. If you get too hot for your jacket every night, Sting, why wear it on stage in the first place?).

If by ''it'' you mean the talent, they have it when they choose to use it. I don't know how well The Police performed live in 1982 but a quarter-century later, they have a nasty habit of ruining their trademark tight, punchy songs with extended, self-indulgent jams (which almost spoiled 'Roxanne' and 'Can't Stand Losing You'), clapalongs and Sting shouting ''EEEEYOOOOHHHHH!''

Plus, Sting screws with vocal lines, changing the cadence or melody so they don't work as hooks anymore. When you've paid $100 or more for a ticket and Sting sings badly on purpose, you're bound to feel - well, stung.

That being said, the largely middle-aged crowd didn't seem to mind being asked to De Doo Doo Doo and De Da Da Da along with the boys, so maybe no harm done.

All the same, The Police shine best when they play least with the material. Sting's soulful Fields of Gold schtick is actually a force for good - for a change - on 'King of Pain' and 'Every Breath You Take'. Last night's rendition of 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' was actually an improvement on the recorded version, thanks especially to Copeland's epic drumming on a Neil Peart-esque percussion stockpile.

One Canadian date remains on The Police's reunion tour: They play Montreal's Bell Centre next Monday, Nov. 12.

(c) The National Post by Adam McDowell



GT arrested by The Police...

And if that's what getting arrested is like, then GT will be committing more crimes in the future. And so will the 20,000+ Toronto fans at the Air Canada Centre.

The post-punk trio brought the past into the present Thursday night playing the canon of songs that made them one of GT's faves in the 80s. The reunion tour hit all the sweet spots: 'Roxanne', 'Every Little Thing', 'So Lonely', 'Walking On The Moon', 'King of Pain', 'Da Do Do Do', 'Every Breath You Take', 'Message In A Bottle', 'Don't Stand So Close to me'. The only song missing was 'Spirits in the Material World'.

The band was in fine fettle for the TO show, dressed in black peg-legged jeans tucked into their Brit-icon Dr.Marten boots. Lithe Sting lead the show as a confident, energetic and generous front man. His vocals have improved since the old days, but if you've followed his solo career, you will have observed his progress. Andy Summers smoked on the guitar with extended solos that were better than I remembered from before, and he showed himself to be a bit of a character at the end of the show, remaining on stage to receive more praise and to take pictures of the TO fans. It was all very self-mocking and charming.

But the star of the show for GT was drummer Stewart Copeland. Mr. Syncopation gave a percussion performance that gladded the heart of this long-time and sometime amateur drummer and percussionista. Behind his drum kit was a percussion suite that consisted of hanging cymbals, timpani and bells. Copeland's ecclectic,reggae-influenced style is what gave that unique sound to tunes such as 'King Of Pain'. He played with gusto and drum sticks came flying off his performance and into the audience like sparks from a bonfire. That man was having fun.

Sting told the audience that The Police always felt at home in Toronto and the appreciative audience was rewarded at the end of the night with two encores. There were plenty of good vibes on stage, despite past troubles between Sting and Copeland.

Most of the audience remained on its feet dancing, but no one in the Air Canada Centre had more fun that night than Stewart Copeland. And that was clear when he grabbed the hands of his band mates and took the big bow centrestage at the end of the night. His was the biggest smile in the house.

(c) By GiftedTypist.com



Rocks-anne!

Sting, lead singer of the reformed Police, plays to a sold-out crowd at the Air Canada Centre last night. This is the second stop in Toronto for the band, who played two dates in July.

After waiting for more than 20 years to see them back together, last night marked the third time in less than six months The Police played Toronto's Air Canada Centre.

And while there were a few moments during the trio's nearly two-hour set where one asked if reuniting was such a good idea, the majority of the evening left no question it was the right decision.

Whether it was Sting's strong, powerful vocals that have yet to fail him, drummer Stewart Copeland's meticulous and precise performance or guitarist Andy Summers' adept solos, The Police often seemed to sound timeless, beginning with the opening 'Message In A Bottle' from 1979's 'Reggatta de Blanc' album.

After quickly introducing Summers and Copeland, the latter wearing a T-shirt featuring the 'Ghost In the Machine' digital cover art, the group kicked into 'Synchroncity II' as splashes of blue, yellow and red appeared on three video screens overhead.

''I want this to be the best night,'' Sting said when mentioning the four nights the band were in town. And for the most part, the near-capacity crowd didn't disappoint, singing along loudly to the reggae-tinged 'Walking On The Moon'. Here Sting, who did a little curtesy to those seated behind the stage, kept to the core of the song, rarely resorting to the jazzy, lounge-like renditions of The Police tunes in recent solo tours.

Perhaps the first highlight and surprise was how well the melding of 'Voices In My Head' with 'When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best Of What's Still...' came off. It was also during the tune where the chemistry between all three was clearly displayed, with Sting playfully striking the cymbals at Copeland's drumkit.

Yet the first clunker quickly ensued when 'Don't Stand So Close to Me' was dusted off. Although the verses were almost spot on, the punchy chorus seemed to be lacking. Nonetheless, it didn't seem to get the crowd's knickers in a knot.

The trio, one of the last stubborn holdouts to join forces for a reunion tour, have come a long way since their humorous and rather ragged tour launch set at the Whiskey A Go Go earlier this year. At that time, Copeland was yelling chord changes to his cohorts. But on this night it sounded like a well-oiled machine for 'Driven To Tears', the up-tempo 'Truth Hits Everybody' and the crowd pleasing 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic' which had all dancing.

The second half definitely had more memorable moments, whether it was the soothing 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' that had Copeland standing and hitting chimes, cymbals and a large gong behind him or the toe-tapping 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da' that evoked another loud sing-along.

Probably the oddest moments came during 'Walking In Your Footsteps' which opened with Sting blowing into a tiny pan flute that even Zamfir would refuse to use. Also, images of dinosaur skeletons were superimposed on the screens, perhaps a subtle knock at other bands long in the tooth who cashed in on farewell tours the last decade.

(c) The Toronto Sun by Jason MacNeil

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