The Police Show Is Best Buytacular...

November 08, 2007

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.

© by Noah Love


Nov 6, 2007

Show Date: November 06, 2007
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Venue: John Paul Jones Arena

Nov 6, 2007
Sting is a rock icon who wants to save the rainforest. But how does he square his green credentials with his seven homes? Taking a break at the one in Malibu during his world tour with the reformed Police he talks about lyrics, politics and the cook who took him to court...