A spirited S. Fla swan-song for The Police...
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.''
(c) The Miami Herald by Michael Hamersly
The Police showcase chemistry in relaxed set...
The Police did a fine job of saying hello and goodbye on Saturday night at sold-out Cruzan Amphitheatre.
The reunion tour - which the band now says will end later this year, never to be repeated - made its second stop in South Florida following last year's Dolphin Stadium extravaganza. With Elvis Costello & the Impostors as a highly motivating first act, the reggae-rock titans played at least as well this time out, and probably a little better, given all the road dates in between for Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland.
This go-round, attended by 19,000 people, had the potential to be more freighted with fare-thee-wells and the heavy air of finality. But it was just heat and humidity clinging to the occasion, not timing. The conditions prompted Sting to remark, ''Everybody looks like they've just had sex.''
The Police turned in a genial, often easygoing set of hits and deep tracks, many tweaked or rearranged to work well without the layering and decoration of the recorded versions - and to take some of the load off Sting's high, keening voice. The first of 18 songs was a relaxed version of 'Bring on the Night', for which Sting played fingerpicked, flamenco-style guitar instead of his trademark bass, while guitarist Summers and drummer Copeland provided texture and low end.
The band took 'Message in the Bottle' and 'Walking On The Moon' for walks in the park, stretching them out in leisurely, jam-band fashion, but maintaining their rhythmic punch. One of the greatest pleasures of this tour is seeing what an astonishingly good rhythm section The Police have in Sting and Copeland.
As a bassist, Sting's touch recalls the late jazz-fusion bassist Jaco Pastorious. He is inventive, fluid and punctual. Copeland likewise plays with intricacy and detail, but never so much that he hamstrings a tune.
'Voices Inside My Head', meshed with 'When The World Is Running Down', got its body-moving rumble from the twosome playing hand-in-glove, but also diverging to take small, timely liberties with their notes and accents. 'Demolition Man' and 'Driven To Tears' seemed to somersault through their paces, nudged over and around by the nimble interplay of Sting and Copeland.
Summers' job was - and has always been - to work in and around his busy bandmates, provide sonic coloring. On Saturday he played crisp, treble-range chords and lines, and perhaps a few more extended solos than he should have, although his improvisations on 'So Lonely' were sharp and sparked some competitive, jousting accompaniment by Sting and Copeland.
All told, the chemistry and camraderie on display here - after 23 years marked by just a handful of one-off reunions - is comfortably intact. 'Roxanne' took a questionable detour into a slowed-down middle section, but rebounded nicely. 'Can't Stand Losing You', merged with the rousing instrumental, 'Regatta de Blanc', became a cheery sing-along, with the crowd pitching in the ''a-yos'' on cue.
'Invisible Sun' was accompanied by pictures of children from the world's conflict zones, but even without these affecting images, the song radiated a heavy-hearted grace, deepened by Sting's understated singing.
The Police have brought enough energy and invention to this reunion to suggest they could attempt another album. But they've insisted all along they're not at that place, creatively speaking. And the reunion has an end date now. So if the band is to be taken at its word, Saturday's show was an ideal comeback - one that doesn't overstay its welcome and leaves people open to the idea of more.
(c) South Florida Sun-Sentinel by Sean Piccoli
Final farewell tour of Police drives crowd to cheers...
Dear Police (Messrs. Sting, Summers and Copeland), I would normally never request that you, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and iconoclastic sonic pioneers, ever emulate any other band or performer, because you're absolutely legendary and everybody ought to want to be you.
But we saw your breathtaking, memory-rattling, ''Ee-oh''-making show at Cruzan Amphitheatre Saturday night, in what you swear is your last tour ever. And frankly, this makes us weep.
So we're going to ask that, just this once, you be like Cher. And we don't mean the leotard.
We mean we want you to extend this so-called farewell tour another, oh, four or five legs.
The band that brought a sold-out crowd to its feet at Cruzan looked a little different from the way it did last July at Dolphin Stadium.
For one, Sting's got this salt-and-pepper beard working that makes him look more like a tanned, Corona-swigging guitarist playing Police songs on the beach than the clean-shaven gent we saw last time.
And that's appropriate, because as good and tight as they were last year, the Police are that much more relaxed and comfortable now.
They played all the songs you'd expect, most of them tweaked slightly in the arrangements but not unrecognizably so.
'King of Pain's' ominous minor chords morphed into the steady reggae-tinged pleadings of 'So Lonely'.
'Driven To Tears' became a luscious jazz jam, and 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' began with a lighter bounce and exploded into a joyous symphony of ''Ee-ohs'' timed to drummer Stewart Copeland's pounding beat.
It was all just delicious, building on the goodwill established by opener Elvis Costello and the Imposters.
There was a little bit of an unevenness in Costello's earlier songs, but once the mix was right, it was amazing.
By the first encore, which ended with 'Every Breath You Take', the crowd was delirious, and the only thing that could be a downer was the fact that this was supposed to be the end.
(c) Palm Beach Post by Leslie Gray Streeter