The Police convene in Vancouver this week to begin final preparations for their slavishly anticipated reunion tour, which begins there on May 28 - preceded by a special fan club show the night before.
"It's feeling really good," guitarist Andy Summers tells Billboard.com. "It should take a slightly different shape now because in a couple weeks the stage arrives and the lighting and everything and we have to kind of choreograph the show with that. We've all been playing for another 20 years, so I think we're actually much better players than we were even in the Police in the early days."
Summers says the trio has mostly settled on a set list that, not surprisingly, hews towards the familiar. "There's so many hit songs that we sort of have to do all of those," he says. "We're not doing too many things off the wall. We've got about a two-hour show lined up of famous songs, basically."
He did say that the group had worked up the relatively rare "Truth Hits Everybody" from the first Police album, 1978's "Outlandos d'Amour," while the band is also considering playing acoustic arrangements of some songs. And, Summers adds, everything is subject to change "from seeing how it goes with the audiences."
Summers says he's also enjoying a series of "fantastic coincidences" that are occurring alongside the Police tour. He'll be publishing a paperback version of his well-reviewed 2006 memoir, "One Train Later," and reissuing his collaborations with Robert Fripp. He also has a photo book, "I'll Be Watching You: Inside the Police 1980-83," culled from 25,000 photos he shot in the early days of the band; a Taschen Artists Edition of 1,500 copies will be published in June, with a more affordable edition coming later this year.
And Summers has recorded a new instrumental album, "At First You Build a Cloud," with Yale classical guitar professor Ben Verdery.
But the most exciting of his extra-band projects may be Fender's Andy Summers Tribute Telecaster, which recreates his main Police guitar right down to the nicks and scratches featured on the original. Summers, who's also had tribute guitars issued by Gibson and Martin, says the 250-copy issue is already sold out.
"It's amazing ... a handmade, exact copy of every nick, dent and scratch on the original guitar, with sort of hybrid electronics," says Summers, who will be playing the replicas on the Police tour. "The Telecaster is such an important instrument in my own life, so seeing this (tribute) happen is kind of phenomenal."
© Billboard by Gary Graff