Reggatta de Blanc

Cairo, EG
US University
Police caught in the act...

''Open the doors and let Cairo in!'' screamed Sting at the empty spaces in the stalls. But the audience was largely ex-Pats. Well built, shirtless A.U.C students rode shoulders in the stalls. Kids in tracksuits whistled and stamped and ex-hippy girls who had not quite got round to unbraiding their hair jived moodily in the aisles.

If the Police never quite took off here, it wasn't that their product was sub-standard. There was their usual mix of simple riffs at maximum volume interspersed with plagiarised excerpts from reggae numbers. It was rather that the group identity needed for a successful gig was missing. Middle-aged Brits with eight-tracks of John Denver or smart suited Egyptian teenies brought up on Demis Roussos, grew blank faced as they watched strange men in ill-fitting jackets mow at them from behind a wall of fuzzy sound.

Sting - the lead singer - has been billed as the new Mick Jagger. In fact he is altogether a slighter figure, and has all the sex appeal of a hover fly. However, his musical talent is adequate for the required effect. Their sound features a series of sharp attacks on guitar and timpani backing, alternating with clear, bell like tremolos, filtered to lend mystery. About an hour after the concert began, bouncers had been withdrawn, but more people filtered out than in. Meanwhile an enthusiastic following at the front, turned punk for the night, jumped up and down with vigour. But it wasn't enough to persuade The Police to give more than one encore.

Speaking after the gig, drummer Stewart Copeland admitted that this was the quietest response so far of their current tour. Egyptians hadn't responded like other nationalities. Asked why the group had chosen to play in non-Western countries, Copeland claimed they had already captured the first world, and the second wouldn't let them in, so they were out for the third. They were hoping that their music might have universal appeal. Tomorrow, the group hope to ride camels near the pyramids. Then on to Athens for Greece's first rock concert since Jagger in 1967.

Keep trying, Sting.

(c) The Egyptian Mail by Arbaggy