Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Police: A Recap

(And why? At $90 a ticket...$110 with parking and service charge...I really feel that I have no choice. It's my Big Social Event of the season, by default.)

I am still basking in the joy of last night, my first Police concert since the Synchronicity Tour in 1983. (November 24, 1983, according to Wikipedia. Nearly 24 years to the day. Damn.) My face literally hurts from the huge grin I had plastered on my face all night long.

The evening started off with a rush-hour, pre-holiday-weekend, thankless drive to San Antonio. (Huge thanks to BobNoxious, our mostly cheerful driver, even after the end of the first hour, when we were still in South Austin. Cristen and I were free to get our pre-concert beer on, and to debate the relative merits of Regatta de Blanc and Outlandos d' Amour as they were played over the car stereo.)

The AT&T Center in San Antonio was a fairly standard stadium venue; but, lord, how long has it been since I attended a "stadium concert?" I think, maybe U2 back in the early 90's? I went with an old boyfriend to see James Brown at the Erwin Center, but it was really a fairly small show...not sure if that counts. Anyway, it was big, but the crowd last night was only about 11,000. That seemed strange...I think Houston sold out in like minutes.

Our seats were a little crappy, but not horrible. None of the three of us were willing to pay $200 for floor seats, but we did get first balcony...however, the stadium itself was oddly rectangular, and we were sitting in what was essentially the opposite corner from the stage, so that if we looked straight ahead, we would just be looking at the seats on the other side of the stadium. Our seats were exactly the ones that formed the right-hand turn of the corner - what is inappropriately named the "Super Box" - so the whole section was sort of crammed together and craning our heads to the right. But, the good news is, that two ginormous Bud Lights in plastic stadium cups later, there was little to no discomfort noted.

Sting's son Joe Sumner opened the show with his band, Fiction Plane. Now, I usually eschew all opening bands, but I liked them. Honestly, when we walked in, and they were already playing, I was afraid that we were late...Joe sounds JUST like his dad! (Can't believe he's 30...shit.) I'm considering getting their album, or at least a few songs off of iTunes.

Man, though, good as the opening act was, the electricity that coursed through that place when these three - OLD - guys took the stage was freakin' amazing. (Eat your heart out, Hannah Montana.) From the opening moments - Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up" - we were on our feet, and remained there for almost the entire show.

Thanks to the lovely interweb, the set list from last night was posted somewhere almost immediately. Perhaps the thing to do is just amend that list with my observations? (Note: Every song not annotated should include the default statement "I was totally blissed out when they played THAT one.")

1. Message in a Bottle
They take the stage. Sting is in a clingy forest-green t-shirt. Fucking SHIT, he is still AMAZING LOOKING. Seriously! Look at those arms! And six-pack abs! Cristen and I, goggle-eyed, confirm that we know no twenty-year-olds with a body like that. Damn, this song is still really good, too. We dance in our confined seats.

You would think that his sexiness would have declined in 24 years. You would think that he'd not look as good, or that age would have tempered his insane hotness.

But you'd be wrong.

2. Synchronicity II
My favorite Police song. It has the good rock-and-roll thrash that I missed in all the several subsequent Sting solo concerts that I've attended, which all seemed to be jazzy and mellow. They sound great. Super tight. I can't believe it's only the three of them, making that wall of sound.

3. Walking On The Moon
Stewart Copeland has also aged really well. Same floppy hair; just a bit grayer. I'd take Stewart, too, probably any day...but, poor guy, it's like standing near the sun. Andy Summers looks like a small, aged hobbit.

4. Voices Inside My Head
Elfin or not, Andy is still an OUTSTANDING guitar player. Wow, they are the ultimate rock stars. I can't believe they ever hated each other.

5. When The World Is Running Down
Cool! The really old stuff! This song is one of their best ever. Cristen and I are seriously getting on our white-girl 80's bop dance. Bob is amused. At one point, the phrase, "Good CHRIST, I love him!" is shrieked. Might have been me.

6. Don't Stand So Close To Me
He says, "Before I got this job, I used to be a teacher." Cristen and I decide that we'd have mixed emotions if he were our daughter's teacher. She decides that she'd need a conference.

7. Driven To Tears
Nice one. A closeup on the big screen of Andy's guitar reveals that his hands are actually carved from wizened pieces of driftwood. But they are still smoking on that thing.

8. Truth Hits Everybody
We don't know this one, but it is very rocking. We enjoy.

9. Hole In My Life
Man, they are totally hitting the back catalog! Approximately 100 of us in the crowd know this song and are dancing. Why isn't this concert in Austin? I bet every person at a Police concert in Austin would know every word to every song, and would be at completely rapt attention.

10. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
They take this one slower than they should. It's a jubilant song, and they play it jazzy and a bit slowed-down. I consider peeing. It's getting slightly urgent. Not just yet.

11. Wrapped Around Your Finger
Do you remember all those candles in the video? And seeing that video 10,ooo million times? I do. Bob points out that, in our post-cigarette smoking times, nobody holds up lighters anymore. We all decide that holding up cell phones is extremely queer.

12. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
We all agree that this is a dumb song. But, by this point, Cristen and I have decided that we'd pay $90 a ticket to hear him read the phone book. We sing "AAA Automotive...ABC Plumbing..." along with the song.

13. Invisible Sun
Cool. A dark one. Somehow, though, the crowd is getting more amped up, now. Good, about damn time.

14. Walking In Your Footsteps
Much call and response. I still have to pee. But not yet.

15. Can't Stand Losing You
AIEEE! I can't believe they're playing this one! Total back catalog. They're bound and determined to rock out tonight.

16. Roxanne
First encore. Completely expected. But, no denying the thrill of seeing the red lights come on the big screen.

17. King Of Pain
This is the big crowd pleaser? Everyone is finally singing in unison. Don't get me wrong; it's a fantastic's just kind of, well, an obsessive bummer. But, hey, you gotta go with it. Yes, Sting, that's my soul up there.

18. So Lonely
Yeah. Blistering reggae backbeat. My head is about to bop off my shoulders. My love, you can't hit ALL the high notes anymore, but what you can still do with your voice is fairly startling.

19. Every Breath You Take

Of course. Bob, Cristen, and I remember them playing this song about three times per hour on MTV and on nearly every radio station for like 10 weeks straight. Thus, it's our collective least-favorite song...but, upon a good, hard, re-listen, it really is's dark, obsessive, and freaky, and not anything like a love song, actually. I would have ended with "Synchronicity 2" - something a little more rockin' out - but, it's still a great finale.

By the time I finally peed, I was about one nanosecond away from deep embarrassment. Thankfully, I made it out sans accident. Bob drove us home, to The Man, who had valiantly volunteered to watch all four (!) children, all by himself.

Sadly, this was not the evening that Sting chose me from the crowd; the night that he had but to point at me and crook his finger, and I would forget my previous life and be his forever. Next time, then? Call me!


Jaye Joseph said...

Regarding De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, I must respectfully disagree. I find this song to be a brilliant commentary regarding the way we speak, rhetoric, the inability to form words when necessary and the ability to try and make something out of nothing when nothing would do nicely.

Do you think that I read too much into that one?

Serisouly, I love this song so much.

The thing that sucked was that we couldn't stand to dance because the fear that we would topple over and go flying down then entire upper balcony and land on your head was very, very real. We were way too scared to stand up in the very last row of the AT&T Center.

Still, I'm just so happy. Soooo, sooooo, sooooo happy after seeing this show.

Karla said...

I saw the Synchronicity tour as well.

Invisible Sun is my favorite Police song EVER. I think I am going to iTunes that one.

Walking in Your Footsteps is my second.