01 June 2007


Videos of the Police on May 30, 2007

My wife recorded a couple of videos at the Police show too:

A bit of "Synchronicity II":

A good chunk of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic":

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Paying the price

Sting 02I'm obviously still suffering radiation side effects fairly strongly. After the Police concert a couple of nights ago, I spent the whole day yesterday in bed, with a slight fever, unable to do much of anything at all. I'm feeling a bit better this morning.

It was worth it, because I had a great time at the show. I even liked that the band messed up quite a bit—missing cues, restarting songs, not quite reading each other's body language right. Most people in the audience surely didn't notice, but as a musician I did (and so did Stewart Copeland—here's his blog post about it), and that made the show more honest and fun and intimate for me.

In a time of prefab Disney-Nickelodeon pop stars singing through pitch-correcting software, with rigorously choreographed concerts, a stage full of backup dancers, songs sequenced and processed to death, and exactly the same set list and timing night after night, it was refreshing to see three guys play an actual rock show with their own instruments. On several occasions, Sting bypassed a chorus and moved into a second verse, and the other two had to switch gears quickly to catch up. And while he was in strong voice, I also noticed a couple of times when he hit a particularly high note and looked surprised at himself that he managed it.

There were a few subtle nods to modernity: the backing track for "Walking in Your Footsteps" was a synthesizer sequence, and some of Copeland's and Andy Summers's background vocals were artifically harmonized. But again, only real musical tech-heads would notice that it sounded like several people were singing backgrounds when only one was. And for most songs, what you heard was what they played, mistakes and all.

I also liked that they roamed all over their catalogue of songs, from the big hits ("Every Breath You Take," "Roxanne," "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic") to somewhat obscure album tracks ("Reggatta de Blanc," "The Bed's Too Big Without You"). Often the less-famous songs turned out better, I think. They played the first track on their first album, "Next To You" (with genuine fire, I might add, as their ending encore), and the last track from their final disc, "Murder By Numbers" (which turned out very topical).

Even if the band didn't think so, it was just the kind of concert I wanted to see. I hope they don't get too perfect for the rest of you who will see them throughout the tour.

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31 May 2007


Have you heard of this band, The Police?

So my wife and a couple of friends and I went to see this British three-piece combo play here in town last night:

The Police 05

Despite being grey-haired old guys, they had some catchy tunes and rocked out rather well. I hear they've had a few popular albums over the years too, which might be worth checking out.

While we were there, I took some more photos...

Fiction Plane 1 Pete Wilhoit on Drums Fiction Plane 2 Joe Sumner 1 Joe Sumner 2
Derek and Paul Stewart Copeland 01 The Police 01 Copeland and Summers Light Show 01
Light Show 02 Stewart Copeland 02 The Police 02 Light Show 03 Sting 01
Sting and Copeland 01 Andy Summers 01 The Police 03 Screens 01.jpg Sting 02
Sting and Copeland 02 The Police 04 Sting 03 Sting 04 Andy Summers 02
Andy Summers 03 Screens 02 Crowd 01 Screens 03 Crowd 02
Light Show 04 Light Show 05 Walking In Your Footsteps 01 Walking In Your Footsteps 02 Walking In Your Footsteps 03
Walking In Your Footsteps 04 Screens 04 The Police 05 Crowd 03 Crowd 04

These guys might just catch on, you know.

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09 May 2007


Dragged into rock

YouTube has some videos of The Police at a small concert they played at L.A.'s Whisky A-Go-Go in February to announce their upcoming tour, which starts this month here in Vancouver:

As a musician, I can watch them and see that the band is kind of a mess—they're winging it, forgetting lyrics and chords, yelling out changes to each other onstage. It's brilliant. And if you look closely, you can watch repeatedly (especially here) as Sting mellows things down, and then Andy Summers and particularly Stewart Copeland drag him back into rocking the fuck out.

That's why they're a great band. Sting can write a hell of a song, but it takes the right drummer and guitar player to say, "Hey, Sting, quit with the car commercial music and TURN IT UP."

Copeland is always full-throttle, and always has been, but I'd forgotten what a monster guitarist Summers is. He plays the weirdest jazz-derived phrases and two-note bits and makes them sound like huge windmilling power chords. Plus he's 65 years old. Scary.

I look forward to seeing them, finally.

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