Outlandos d'Amour
Aug
18
1977
Birmingham, GBRebeccas
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The Police at Rebecca's...

Sting from ''Broken Music'': ''Rebecca's is a small nightclub/discotheque in the centre of Birmingham. Driving into town we are heartened to see many fly posters on the walls, suggesting that the promoters have done enough to pull in a crowd for what in our minds is a crucial Rubicon. We will either cross it successfully or our fragile enterprise will be swept downstream in a chaos of despondency and abandoned dreams. We know that everything is at stake tonight and we badly need a boost for our morale. Andy walks onstage knowing that should we fail, the band that he's risked his reputation for will almost certainly fold. Stewart and I peer out of the dressing room at the growing crowd in the club with the grim thousand-yard stares of the condemned. 'We walk onstage, the lights come up, and out of sheer desperation, panic, and I suppose character we somehow manage to kick off the shackles of self-doubt and despondency and within the first eight bars of the first tune begin to play with the unrelenting power of a ten-ton hammer. Stewart and I are pumping eight to the bar like a churning turbine in an engine room, while Andy releases broadside after broadside of shimmering guitar riffs. And my voice is soaring over it all like a raucous, predatory bird. The crowd, at first tentative, begins to go crazy. There is total mayhem, as if the audience is complicit in our need to make this one a great gig. We walk off after three encores, destroying the drums as we wade through the audience on the way to the dressing room, and knowing at last something rare has been uncovered here, that the deeper we dig the greater the prize. I know, perhaps for the first time, that I have found a flagship for my songs. We will prevail. It will take time, but now I'm certain of it...''

Andy Summers from ''One Train Later'': ''On the day Elvis dies we do a gig at Rebecca's in Birmingham. The prevailing style is easily described. It's very fast, very loud, and features heavily garbled shouting noises usually accompanied by large mouthfuls of spit. We go onstage in the small, dark club and whip through our entire set, accomplishing all the above values, and are done in about twelve minutes. We are supposed to play for an hour. I look over at Sting and Stewart in near disbelief: we have just played fifteen songs in twelve minutes as if going for a new land-speed record. Maybe this is the way Dizzy and Charlie Parker felt back in the forties when they started playing bebop tunes at breakneck speed so that the whites couldn't dance to it. I would laugh, but it's pitiful; even the audience is looking at us drop-jawed. If nothing else, at least we're the fastest band around. We are so intent on being viewed as punk that we miss the music entirely; the idea seems to be that if you are seen as authentic, then you will be successful - content is secondary. It's a suspect stance, and it can't be sustained for long. We are a band, but to me it feels like one in name only.''

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