A spirited S. Fla swan-song for The Police...

May 17, 2008

If guitarist Andy Summers is right, that this is the final tour by The Police, then concertgoers got their money's worth Saturday night at the Cruzan Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach. The British trio that revolutionized rock music in the late '70s and early '80s by adding jazz and reggae to pop tunes gave fans a sweet swan-song with a tour through its greatest hits.

After an intimate version of 'Bring On the Night' that focused on bassist and frontman Sting's vocals, the band ripped into its hit 'Message in a Bottle', after which Sting exclaimed, "It's nice to be back in South Florida, especially West Palm Beach - everybody looks like they just had sex."

The bearded Sting, who's pushing 60, looked cool and youthful, a bit like Hemingway in a cut-off black T-shirt. His voice was clear, high and strong on hits including 'Walking on the Moon' and 'Demolition Man', which raises the question why The Police felt it necessary to switch to a lower key for a ragged 'Don't Stand So Close to Me', plus 'Hole In My Life', 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' and 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da'.

Better received were 'Voices Inside My Head' leading into 'When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around'; a spirited 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', during which the crowd filled in the ''ee-oh-ohh'' backing vocals; and 'Can't Stand Losing You', which journeyed into 'Reggatta de Blanc' and back.

For the encore, The Police churned out 'Roxanne', on which Sting's voice was perfect, plus 'King of Pain', 'So Lonely', 'Every Breath You Take' and a surprise rocker from their first album, 'Next To You'.

Opening act Elvis Costello entertained the crowd that was trickling in while the sun set with hits including 'Pump It Up', 'Everyday I Write the Book', 'Radio Radio', 'Watching the Detectives' and 'What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding'.

But when Sting walked out to sing with Costello on his biggest hit, 'Alison', it summed up the night even before The Police took the stage: "My aim is true."

© The Miami Herald by Michael Hamersly


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