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Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Police concert review (with set list)

Posted by: Jambo / 11:22 PM

A little late, but here's my review of the Twin Cities stop by The Police on their reunion tour. The Mrs. was excited for this show more because she's a Sting fan than a fan of the band as a whole so let me start by saying I hope I look as good as Sting does when I'm 55 [ed. note: Jambo does not look as good as Sting NOW. In fact Jambo has never looked as good as Sting currently does.] But this was wholly a Police show with none of his solo material and pretty much the greatest hits one would expect.

I've mentioned before my early love of this band but as I listened to a lot of the music in the days before the show I realized just how little of it I still listen to. I have all five albums on lp but over the years only picked up two of them on CD, Reggatta de Blanc and Zenyatta Mondatta. Now of course I have most of the songs as mp3s. (Note to self, explore legal theory that downloading songs that you have paid for in another medium constitutes fair use. That's what I'm going with when the Feds come.) It turns out that the stuff I have enjoyed most the last few listens have been the more heavily reggae and punk tinged songs of the early records. So it was a bit of a surprise that I found myself at the concert enjoying the songs from Synchronicity more than anything else. I would pick that and Ghost in the Machine as my least favorite albums but live the more experimental stuff seemed to work much better. I especially liked Stewart Copeland switching to his array of bells, chimes, gongs and other percussion in "Wrapped Around Your Finger" (still one of the great music videos) and "Walking in Your Footsteps". "Walking" also had the best graphics moment of the night with the giant dinosaur fossils walking across the video screens showing the guys playing. On most songs the screens just showed the band and some occasional splashes of primary colors from the Synchornicity cover. I actually had really good seats in the center section on the floor but the screens did one of the best jobs I've seen of covering the show for folks stuck in the cheap seats. (I actually had "cheap seats" too since I picked them up a few hours before the show from a ticket broker who didn't want to get stuck: face value of $225 each but only $150 for the pair with the last minute discount.)

"Invisible Sun", one of only two songs from Ghost in the Machine, was more melancholy and less spooky than the album version and I think it worked well. This was the other song that made a departure in the graphics department with a montage of photos of children in, presumably, Iraq and Afghanistan. This made for an interesting change in feel for an older fan like me. When I listened to the song originally I heard the line "I don't want to spend the rest of my life/ Looking at the barrel of an Armalite" and pictured Northern Ireland. ("Armalite" I think refers to the AR-15, I believe kind of a cheap version of the M-16 which I assumed was used during "the troubles", a notion later reenforced by the Gang of Four song "Armalite Rifle" with the line "Used against you like Irish jokes on the BBC.") With the photos it seemed set in a different part of the world. Times change, I guess. Or maybe they don't.

I did have a few quibbles, but, man, can three guys put out a lot of sound! And for an arena show very good sound at that. A few people complained that they changed the tempo of some of the songs but I can live with that since in most cases it was pretty minor and generally made them more interesting. I was disappointed that they made "Voices Inside My Head" and "When the World is Running Down" into a medley but that might just be because the latter is my favorite Police song. They have been away from the songs of over 20 years so I was not too surprised to see Sting miss a couple notes early on. The first time he had a real "Shit, I missed that one" expression while the second time it was more of a "Oops, oh well" look. He also misidentified "The Beds Too Big Without you" as being on their first album when it is actually on the second. After that, though, it might have been 1983 all over again. All in all a very enjoyable show, if maybe just short of being a great one.

Here's the set list I snagged from the soundboard:

I would have liked to get one that Sting or Andy Summers used but I'm not sure if they had one as I couldn't see one taped to the floor by either of their mics.

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Why did you buy bad seats if you already had good seats? Armalite is a weapons manufacturer based in Illinois. According to the article, they invented the AR-15, which the licensed to Colt, which sold it to the U.S. military, which called it the M-16. Armalite also build the AR-18, which was adopted by the IRA.

By Blogger Hammer, at 9:13 AM  

I wrote this last night but did not get around to posting it:

"OK, before some gun nut jumps on my case I looked it up and it was actually the AR-18 that was used by the IRA. Pardon me for my incomplete knowledge of American firearms."

Who knew the gun nut in question was going to be Hammer? But I guess 3WN realy is your sourse for everything.

I was actually trying to be clever by saying I had good seats that I got cheap.

By Blogger Jambo, at 10:34 AM  

And the AR-18 wasn't a cheap version of the M-16. The AR-18 was a serious killing machine!!! Too bad the US military never adopted it.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:28 AM  

Yeah, that's the problem with us, we're just not good enough at killing people.

By Blogger Jambo, at 10:54 PM  

I just saw them in NJ - and have had almost the exact experience as you. Going in to the concert I was more excited to hear the older, weirder stuff than the hits, (because I think over time, the hits lost a lot of their excitement because they've been overplayed on the radio). But I was surprised to hear that the popular stuff worked much better live that I would have thought.

I was also disapointed with the "Voices/When the world" medly. It sounded like Sting changed the melody a little from the recorded version so that he didn't have to hit the high notes. I thought that was pretty "lame".

They slowed down Truth Hits Everybody, but it worked very well.

The So Lonley/Reggata medly was awesome - better than I've ever heard it. I was happy that they repeated Reggata twice, because when they do it just once, it's a tease.

They ended with a great super-hi energy Next to You. They sounded like the like the early videos of themselves from the 70s.

I would have wanted them to play a few songs that I know they never would have played live, like Be My Girl, or Any Other Day. Actually, Born in the 50s would have been appropriate for their reunion tour, but they skipped that one too.

All in all, it was an amazing show.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:34 PM  

Ditto to just about everything said so far. I just saw them Sunday in NJ too and was lucky enough to have good floor seats!

I have been a HUGE fan since the beginning. I remember saving up my allowance to buy the Outlandos album as a pre-teen. Had a big crush on Stewart Copeland (still do!!) I never got to see them live due to many circumstances, so I can finally die happy having seen them in person!!

The only not so fantastic (I refuse to use the word "negative") thing about the show was the continuous repetition of certain phrases in certain songs such as "Rox-anne-ohhhh" and "Walking in Your Footsteps" etc. I refer to these as "Sting-isms" becasue they remind me of the Sting concert 2 years ago (when Annie Lennox opened up) where i was forced to walk out after the Rox-anne-ohh's exceeded 20 minutes!! Not my favorite thing you see.

That said, the BEST thing about the show was the fact that there were no extra musicians on stage, no back-up singers, no dancers, no frills.....just the Police...who sounded and looked doesn't get any better than that!

By Blogger Paradell, at 5:23 PM  

Oh yeah.....and if they played Any Other Day, it would have knocked my socks offf!!

By Blogger Paradell, at 5:25 PM  

If I ever get the chance to see them again, I'll bring a big banner that says "WE WANT SOMETHING CORNY!!"

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:09 AM  

who gives a shit whaT u all think ABOUT THIS CONCERT or anythin else you can go and fuck yourselfs

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:47 AM  

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