Three's company: Sting, Copeland and Summers tear through the hits with few misses...
July 02, 2007 

While it's hard to imagine the Sting of yore sipping a cup of tea - which had its own bright and multi-colored wooden stand, looking like it was blessed by the Dalai Lama - he did frequently Monday night, for a packed house at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

It's a reunion tour 30 years in the making for the Police, and besides the tea sips, muscled Sting still looked and sounded fantastic, while his brethren, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland, have aged some, looking more like quirky uncles than rock stars.

But appearances aside - all three were in dark shades of blue and black - it was the music that brought out 10s of thousands, kicking off a holiday week, and the Police delivered the goods - for the most part.

A couple bigger hits for the group - who became music legends even though they were together little more than half a decade - suffered due to the reducing range of Sting's voice and the fact that the only musicians on stage were the three: Sting on bass, Summers on guitar and Copeland slamming away on his massive drum kit - more on that later.

'Don't Stand So Close to Me' was sour-sounding and off both vocally and with Summers' strumming. And while it was nice to see the audience bathed in red light for 'Roxanne', both it and 'Every Breath You Take', massive hits for the group, were lowlights in a set heavy with high ones.

That's all the negativity I can muster for this top-notch show, though, that seemed to see the trio feeding off the manic energy of a St. Louis crowd.

It was refreshing to see the Police bravely put themselves out there alone, with no backing players or singers, so any note that wasn't hit was heard by all. An open set with fine, but low-key lighting allowed everyone in the house to get a decent view - even for the people who sat all the way back, behind the stage, who got an extended showcase of Sting's bum.

Amazingly what sounded superior were the early, reggae-influenced tunes dug up for our enjoyment. 'Can't Stand Losing You' saw the typically serene Summers hopping about the stage in a bit of frenzy, the manic pace closing out the set before a lengthy encore.

Sting sounded a man half his age when launching into 'So Lonely', hitting high notes he seemed to strive for all evening.

Hearing nearly all of the band's hits in one night - 'Spirits in the Material World' was oddly omitted - I was reminded that many of the group's tunes are not full-on rockers, so when they tore into cuts like 'Synchronicity II' and the evening's closer, 'Next to You', the energy level went from 8 to 11.

The cheers Copeland - one of the most revered rock drummers ever - received nearly rivaled those of Sting, and, donned in a jogging suit and his typical bandana, he riveted the room with his playing. It was magical to watch him toss off drumsticks, only to see a new set instantly appear in his clutches.

For some tracks, like the delightful 'Walking in Your Footsteps', a set of dangling percussion instruments rose from the stage so Copeland could play what looked like grandma's backyard with wind chimes and other assorted metal flutterers. The small set also held his huge gong, which he used to kick off the festivities.

While Summers no longer looks like a rocker, he calmly was remarkable and fresh on 'Driven to Tears' and 'Truth Hits Everybody'.

It was Sting, though, that led the way, getting the crowd to sing 'De Da Da Da' and 'ooh' along in an extended, guitar-heavy 'Roxanne.'

It was a nostalgic evening, as surprised faces lit up for 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic', realizing, 'Wow, these guys had a lot of hits.'

They packed a whole bunch of them into a nearly two-hour set, leaving the crowd wanting one more as the trio - notoriously not always on good terms - joined hands for a quick succession of bows.

© The Telegraph by Corey Stulce

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