Arresting concert - The Police, reunited at last, rock like they never missed a beat...
February 04, 2008 


The Police came and went and many - 10,000 in all, including and hotel tycoon Ong Beng Seng - turned up to see their show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium Monday night.

Not only did they play the big hits ('Every Breath You Take', 'Roxanne', 'Message in a Bottle', and so on) but they also dipped into their pool of lesser-known-but-live-staples such as 'Hole In My Life', 'Invisible Sun' and a medley of 'Voices Inside My Head'/'When the World is Running Down'.

The crowd was already treated to an impressive set by opening act, Fiction Plane - a rock trio featuring Sting's 31-year-old son Joe Sumner on bass and vocals, natch - as they ran through songs like 'Hate' and 'Two Sisters'.

So, by the time The Police came on, the audience was already whetting for more. And the band didn't disappoint.

Drummer Stewart Copeland, looking slightly like a displaced school teacher with his round John Lennon glasses, showed that he could still beat the crap out of the skins; and I swear guitarist Andy Summers discovered two new notes to the musical scale as he mixed dissonance with harmony to come up with guitar solos only he could pull off.

Sting, the most familiar face, showed few signs that age was going to be a factor in his performance.

Okay, so he may not have hit those notes that he used to with ease - was it me, or was he straining during 'Can't Stand Losing You'? And did they have to use his sampled backing vocals for some of the songs? But hey, only Sting can turn 'Roxanne' into a ballad and still make it work.

The band's promise not to play all their old songs as was meant that they wrought new arrangements - changing the intros to some and slowing the tempo to others, which confounded some fans.

But for most part, they were enraptured by what was going on onstage, and were more than willing to cheer, chant and clap and accede to Sting's every request for a sing-along.

Did they sing, "eee-yohhh eee-yay eee-yay yoh" during 'Regatta De Blanc'? Yes, siree! Did they sing "eee-yoh yo yo yo" during 'Walking on the Moon'? You betcha! Did they sing "eee-yoh-oh, eee-yoh-oh, eee-yoh-oh" during 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic'? With all their heart! You get the picture.

And perhaps to show the band's coming full circle, The Police bookended their finale with two songs from their last album, 'Synchronicity' ('King of Pain', 'Every Breath You Take') and two songs from their first album, 'Outlandos d'Amour'.

The latter two, 'So Lonely' and 'Next To You', may have lacked the punk pathos of the 1978 originals - these guys are middle-aged, you know - but The Police have been around long enough to know that when all else fails, you can always turn up the volume to burst an eardrum or two where necessary.

Copeland's furious drumming connected with Sting's pounding bass to lay the backbeat as Summers punctuated the rhythms with his incisive fretwork.

Of course, the big question is whether it was worth the $600 price tag. Let's put it this way: These guys didn't have to rely on a pyro show or elaborate stage sets to impress - they just had their music.

And if William Shakespeare's famous phrase about music being the food of love is true, then we were fed on a whole lotta love that night.

© Today Online

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