The Police @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theater...
'I remember the first time we played Long Island,' a firm and fit Sting told Jones Beach about seven songs into The Police's Monday night show. 'We played My Father's Place. Well, not my father's place, but your Father's Place. And then we came back and played the Nassau Coliseum.'
Nostalgia is good... in small doses. And last night's historic Police concert at the Nikon Theater at Jones Beach hit the spot. For more than an hour and a half, the Anglo-American trio - calling it quits (again) after Thursday's show at Madison Square Garden -- played with the exuberance of a band half its age. Say what you will about Sting, the man looks and sounds good. Still. Drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers, though not as physically well-preserved as their bass-playing boss, have more chops than a kung-fu flick. Still.
Throw in opening act Elvis Costello and the Imposters (whose keyboardist, Steve Nieve, and drummer, Pete Thomas, are from the Attractions), and, well, you have the makings of a WLIR concert that could have taken place in the early '80s at the Malibu.
But before we try and tune in Larry the Duck on the old 92.7 FM frequency, let's get back to the show.
The Police put out hits - all of them. During the first encore, 'Roxanne' made neck hairs stand on end. 'Can't Stand Losing You', another biggie off the 1978's 'Outlandos d'Amour' (A&M) debut was more rave-up than reggae number. 'I guess this is our last goodbye,' Sting sang, without realizing the importance of his words.
'Wrapped Around Your Finger' was turned into an epic on us, with Copeland utilizing chimes, kettle drums and other percussion. (He also opened the show around shortly before 9 with a bang on the gong behind his drum kit.) And Summers shone on most every number, but his squealing intro to 'Driven To Tears', may have caused some to cry, in a good way.
It was Sting's show, however. And so he was responsible for many of the night's little annoyances. Sure, his bass playing as supple as ever, but after a while, all those 'ee-oo-ee-oo's' (and variations thereof) became grating. (Fine, 'Walking On The Moon' needs a few 'ee-yo-ee,' but did he have to sing 'Roxanne-o' during one verse?) And those howls? Oh, boy.
Opener Costello and his band played songs off the new 'Momofuku' (Lost Highway) album, but it was the classics that livened the place up. 'Pump It Up', 'Everyday I Write the Book' and 'Watching the Detectives' may have taken a few notes each to become recognizable. One guy who was immediately identifiable during 'Alison' was Sting. Dressed in his pre-concert khakis, the Policeman walked out on stage and began sharing verses with Elvis. Now that would have been something to hear back in, say, 1980.
BONUS: If you want to see The Police's final show, the last two sections at the rear of the stage have opened up for Thursday's Garden show. The seats can be had for a contribution. All proceeds from Thursday's show go to Public television's program for the arts.
SETLIST: Message In A Bottle / Walking On The Moon / Demolition Man / Voices in My Head / When the World is Running Down / Don't Stand So Close to Me / Driven To Tears / Hole in My Life / Every Little Thing She Does is Magic / Wrapped Around Your Finger / De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da / Invisible Sun / Can't Stand Losing You // ENCORES: Roxanne / King of Pain / So Lonely / Every Breath You Take / Next To You
(c) Newsday by Kevin Amorim