"Welcome to the Andy Summers show!" howled Sting, ageless, serene and in perfect (if lower) voice at Verizon Center Monday night, as he altered the original 'So Lonely' lyric ("Welcome to this one man show") to salute the Police's prodigious guitarist. Now a determined egalitarian, Sting did the same for percussionist Stewart Copeland on a subsequent verse.
Ex-schoolteacher Gordon Sumner's newfound magnanimity is the major difference between the Police circa 1984 and the Police in 2007. Sting is willing, nay, eager to cede the spotlight to his two mates, granting the 64-year-old Summers, in particular, License to Shred in a way he never did during the Reagan era.
Fortunately, Summers is not just a brilliant ax man but a disciplined minimalist, never allowing the crunchy, angular fills he contributed to 'When the World Is Running Down' or 'Driven to Tears' more sonic real estate than necessary to achieve maximum yield. And while Sting did what little talking there was in the 100-minute show, Summers appeared to call the shots, bringing 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da' to a halt with a two-handed "cut" sign just as it threatened to congeal into Christopher Cross territory.
Copeland, too, was agreeably unleashed, leaping between a drum kit and a sort of cage made of seemingly every device ever designed to make a melodic sound when struck with a blunt object, and tossing his sticks (or mallets) over both shoulders every time he bolted between stations. 'Walking in Your Footsteps' was Copeland's spooky tour de force, though you wondered why Sting kept inviting the audience to mess with his dense polyrhythms by clapping. Copeland didn't seem to mind - he looked like he was having more fun than anyone. And since this tour is clearly a nostalgia trip, why not?
The set list was a rewind of their headlining Virgin Festival appearance in August, save for the addition of 'Hole in My Life' and 'Truth Hits Everybody', a harsh two-fer that kept the looming mellow at bay.
© Washington Post by Chris Klimek