Police Reunion
Jul
10
2007
Miami, USDolphin Stadium
With Fiction Plane, Maroon 5
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The Police at Dolphin Stadium...

It took just three guys - Sting on bass, Andy Summers on guitar and Stewart Copeland on drums - to bring back the noise and power of rock 'n' roll as the smell of beer, sweat and some illegal substance filled the air at Dolphin Stadium July 10. More than 40,000 people packed the place to watch The Police perform.

Throughout the set, the musicians were on point, especially Copeland who still has that flair and youthfulness of the drummer he was nearly 30 years ago. Summers, on the other hand, was cool, calm and collected, showcasing his guitar craftsmanship. As for the band's leader, Sting, 55, still sounds the same as the young man from the late 70's and early 80's, but he lacked interaction with the audience, almost as if he just wanted the audience to stare in amazement.

It's been 23 years since The Police last toured, and, although Sting has stated this is simply a reunion tour, they are a different band.

Besides the fact that they are older, they have lost their raw punky attitude and this loss was especially evident in some alterations they did to certain songs during the set.

The most notable change was heard on numbers such as 'Don't Stand So Close To Me', which the whole band or maybe just Sting turned into an even mellower jazzy version of the 1986 re-recording.

Even the reggae-fueled 'Walking On The Moon' was reduced to a quieter, extended version as the marijuana smell filled the air. When 'Roxanne' came blasting through, the audience jumped into frenzy, singing along only to become quiet moments later when the band transformed the song into an extended jazz-like number that toned down the noise.

The highest points of the show were when the band performed a right-on, excellent 'Can't Stand Losing You', an extended 'So Lonely', and an out-of-control, scorching 'Next To You', which channeled their early punk roots.

At this point of the concert, the smell of marijuana kept getting stronger, too.

The band saved their best numbers toward the end: 'King of Pain' and their most famous 'Every Breath You Take', which suffered a bit from the band toning back down.

Overall, the show was good, but it could've been great. A smaller venue such as an arena would've probably made a huge difference for the better, preventing the artist from being too far away from the audience.

The biggest problems, though, were the alterations of a lot of songs and lack of band-audience interaction.

Maybe the problem is the fact that Sting hasn't played with his old band in so many years, or it's just because he has gone on to have a successful career singing ballads, spiritual and adult contemporary music.

Maybe he's just lost that rock 'n' roll attitude that made him and The Police one of the greatest artists of all time and that's why the show was just good, not great.

(c) The Beacon (The Student Newspaper of FIU) by Ever Cruz



The Police play arresting show at Dolphin Stadium...

The old songs didn't quite play themselves at The Police's sold-out reunion show in South Florida. But on Tuesday night at Dolphin Stadium the British reggae-rock trio was tighter and more automatic than it arguably had any right to be after 23 years off the road.

Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers had played about two dozen dates coming into Miami Gardens, and have received generally positive reviews for a tour offering no new music. Copeland, the drummer, famously panned his own band's second-night performance - in Vancouver in late May - in a post later pulled from his Web site. It's hard to imagine that he would have found much to dislike about Tuesday's concert.

A crowd surpassing 45,000 people got just about everything it could have wanted from the occasion. The set list was a greatest-hits live bonanza, rounded out with some of the better b-sides. The Police themselves were engaged and often inspired. A few improvised jams went on too long, and not every tune has improved with age. But the trio mostly played to its strengths, knocking out the catchy, punctual gems that made rock stars of The Police a generation ago.

'Message In A Bottle' got the show off to an encouraging start. Summers, on guitar, played the familiar opening sequence - four chords arranged in three-note clusters. Copeland and Sting, on bass and vocals, fell in right behind Summers with a bounding rhythm. And when Sting sang, he sounded a lot like the pining lad who first sent out that love-starved S.O.S. on the band's 1979 album, 'Regatta de Blanc'.

'Synchronicity II', played second, was less effortless. A balky song with alternating themes and a Loch Ness Monster metaphor, The Police's big rumination on the madness of modern life did what its acoustic designers no doubt meant it to do back when they wrote it: II flooded every corner of the ballpark on Tuesday. But as an example of grandstanding arena rock, it's always been a reminder of how far away The Police sometimes wandered from their spry, punky origins.

The echo-bathed reggae balladWalking On The Moon was a much sweeter, less complicated moment of nostalgia. The garage-rocker 'Truth Hits Everybody', though hardly a hit by the band's globe-conquering standard, stood out because of its lean, no-frills spirit. Copeland's nimble playing powered 'Truth' and so many of Tuesday's songs that's it's fair to say the drummer, more even than Sting or Summers, is driving this reunion train.

'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', one of classic rock radio's more overplayed favorites, came across less like a guest that wouldn't leave and more like an old friend. The Police always were good at locating the comedy in romantic obsession, and that trace of the absurd was nicely sustained by Magic's ''almost-tragic'' narrator.

'Roxanne', another doomed-love ditty and the band's signature song, has become even more likeable over the years. The Police played their career-launcher near the end of Tuesday's set and treated it as well as it's treated them. Any band that wants to write punchy, memorable songs can still learn a lot from Roxanne's mix of melodrama and sharp musicality.

Whether The Police have any ambition to attempt new material is an open question. But there's no arguing they have plenty of durable work on hand, and all the skill and chemistry required to keep playing it.

Tuesday's first opening band would have struck concertgoers as familiar. A British trio called Fiction Plane played energetic rock sometimes tinged with reggae, and was led by a singer-bassist with a high, keening voice. In fact, Plane frontman Joe Sumner is the son of Sting, and not a few people in the seats remarked on the vocal and physical resemblance.

Overall, Fiction Plane's take on three-piece playing was less original, and less grounded in punk and reggae than The Police's. The songs were heavier and more in tune with the big soundscapes of Coldplay and U2. But when Fiction Plane busted out its first single,'Two Sisters', a conflicted love song done in reggae time, any similarities to the headliner had to be strictly intentional.

Maroon 5 also warmed up the crowd. The popular five-piece seemed determined at first to ditch its trademark - slick, soul-inspired pop - and convince the crowd this band can actually rock. At one point Maroon 5 was practically in Uriah Heep mode, jamming with the instruments cranked. The short set improved once frontman Adam Levine and his mates settled into their field of expertise, playing the breezy 'Sunday Morning' and the wistful 'She Will Be Loved'.

(c) The Sun-Sentinel by Sean Piccoli



The Police at Dolphin Stadium - Better Than Every other large-scale concert of the year so far...

Believe the hype. It's not often I'll say that. But last night's Dolphin Stadium stop of the Police megatour revealed a band so technically assured and connected onstage, even after a 21-year break, that every new jack rock act should stop immediately and take notes.

Good thing, too, for the 44,000+ paying fans in attendance who deserved to get their money's worth. Because tickets were damn pricey: Seats in the stadium itself were $50 to $90, before service charges. Tickets in the expansive field section, the only place from which the band itself was physically visible, were a whopping $225 (more for a VIP package). Oh well, at least a portion of the proceeds were going to the international NGO Water Aid.

Starting promptly at 6:40 was first opening act, Fiction Plane, which - let's just get this out of the way - is Sting's son's band. Like other famous sons-of (Jakob Dylan, the Lennons), vocalist/bassist Joe Sumner has huge shoes to fill, and an uphill battle doing so. He's off to a running start. Even though the stadium was about a fifth full, the threesome played their upbeat rock with brio. And Sumner both looks and, more importantly, sounds like his dad - good things. Fiction Plane's own headlining show this Thursday should better reveal how he sets himself apart.

Next up, Maroon 5, in their first appearance opening for the Police. As they took the stage, the audience's energy, especially the female portion, palpably ratcheted up a notch. Singer Adam Levine is celebrated as much for his clean-cut good looks as for his impressive soul-inflected falsetto, and he was as unthreateningly pretty as ever in a popped-collar navy polo and tight white pans. All he had to do was pause for a moment, and a series of whoops accompanied the audible thud of panties hitting the ground. But still, he seemed nervous, attacking every song with the same stony look of concentration. This wouldn't have been visible further out, though, and the band was tight, and Levine's voice still achieving its unique modulations. Hopefully after a couple more dates at such large venues, he'll loosen up a bit and start having more fun.

Finally, at 8:50, a dramatic darkening of the stage lights, and then appeared drummer Stewart Copeland's staggeringly complex drum kit on a riser, bathed in a yellow light. Then Copeland himself banged a gong, and the rest of the band materialized.

Sting has almost always seemed a near-mythical superhuman, and his appearance just furthered this notion. Trim and muscular in a wiry way, he looked at least 15 years younger than he actually is, and fit enough to take on a man half his age. His crystalline eyes were mischievously alive, and he sang while maintaining his trademark semi-bounce and arch half-smile, never seeming to tire. Hell, the man didn't even really sweat, just ''glowing'' instead.

Copeland, meanwhile, though completely silver-maned, looked youthfully elated the entire time, pounding his kit with charmingly goofy seriousness. After particularly rousing numbers, he'd punch the air in triumph. Axman Andy Summers was more subdued, but allowed himself to crack a smile or two after some particularly shredding solos.

And further to their credit, the Police stayed relevant an immediate onstage, skipping the theatrics and pyrotechnics of dinosaur bands. The stage set was relatively stripped down, with some colored lights at the sides and top, and a few closeup screens behind and on either side of the trio.

As for the music - before this tour, the Police played their last concert together in 1986, but it sounded as though the intervening 21 years never happened. The three bandmates still possessed a near-telekinetic connection onstage, a mere glance passing between them as they passed quickly back and forth from razor-sharp to improvisational. Classic tunes were sometimes given reworked intros and outros, but only just - true to form, the set was kept supertight. And much like Police songs themselves, the set list was designed for a tension of energy - volume and tempo would increase for a few tracks until a frenzied crescendo, and the band would pull back a little for a somewhat softer outing.

Attending a reunion concert by an older band can be a little bit like attending Catholic church, with its ritualized sitting and standing at the mass proscribed times. Stand when you should be sitting, and risk raising the vitriol of the more tired people behind you. But from the opening strains of 'Message in a Bottle', the crowd was on its feet, all the way through the end of the third (!) encore, over an hour and a half later. Bang for the buck, indeed.

(c) Miami New Times by Arielle Castillo



Fans of The Police show for 'one-time experience'...

Things have changed somewhat since the last time Nicole Hefty saw The Police. For one, ''I'm legal to drink,'' the Miami resident said.

''We had to get a baby sitter,'' husband Lee Hefty added.

And it's probably safe to say that, back when Nicole Hefty was an underage Police fan, she probably didn't tailgate on the back of a fancy SUV with chilled drinks, fried chicken and a makeshift tablecloth draped over the cooler for neatness.

Something that hasn't changed for the Heftys and the thousands of other fans who filled Dolphin Stadium Tuesday night? Their love of The Police, the British rock/jazz/reggae supergroup on its first tour since 1984.

''I couldn't miss it! I was so excited!'' Hefty said, as the strains of The Police's 'Can't Stand Losing You' wafted from a nearby car.

The crowd at the sold-out show appeared to be mostly in their late 20s to mid-40s, which probably means they can better afford the price of being a Police fan in 2007.

The top ticket prices were reportedly somewhere around $400 on the stadium floor, and T-shirts ran from $25 for a kid's shirt to $45 for one with the '80s mugs of Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers.

''It's worth it,'' said Amanda Faba of Miami, waiting in the T-shirt line with fiancé Steve Brough. ''I think this is a one-time experience.''

Faba, who paid $400 for her seat, is on to something: Fans know how long it took to get the band members, who have famously had contentious moments, to get back together, so they weren't missing it this time. And for those such as Miami's Teresa Locano, the show was a one-time shot at finally achieving a childhood dream, 23 years later.

''I'm 36 years old,'' said the surprisingly young-looking Locano, still grinning from having been carded a few minutes earlier. ''When I was growing up, I was a fan, but I used to live in Venezuela. I couldn't travel. But it's so cool that they are back. They have a unique style that transcends time. My little cousins, who are 10 or 11, like them.''

She smiled.

''And they're still cute.''

Proving that for The Police, music isn't the only timeless element.

(c) Palm Beach Post by Leslie Gray Streeter



The Police reunion tour rocks retro...

Three men, two sticks, a drum, bass and guitar.

That's pretty much all The Police needed to revive the stadium tour in South Florida - if only for one night, Tuesday, before more than 44,000 people at Dolphin Stadium.

Promoters called it a sellout. Fans called it historic.

The Police reunion tour is the first major stadium concert in the area in 10 years, and the three musicians haven't toured as a unit since wrapping their 'Synchronicity' Tour in 1984.

''To see the Police back together is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, especially in South Florida,'' said Stephen Baker, 20, of Coral Springs.

Fans came from all around - even Birmingham, England.

''I always said if The Police went live I'd follow them like The Dead,'' said Scott Thomas, 37, who crossed the Atlantic with companion Rachel Gainer, 31. ''We planned a whole vacation around this concert.''

This wasn't just any stadium tour. Forget the city block-sized stage that turned this venue's football field into something rivaling Dante's Inferno in 1994 at the Rolling Stones' Voodoo Lounge Tour.

For the reunited Police, who looked remarkably well-preserved and played with more precision than they did 25 years ago, the still-massive oval stage has been designed to showcase the trio, and only the trio (no backing singers or extra musicians, not even a pianist for 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic') in a simpler setting. Singer and bassist Sting and guitarist Andy Summers played to the left and the right of the stage, just as they had nearly 24 years ago at the Orange Bowl, while Stewart Copeland's drum kit took center stage.

Six automated lighting towers, craning like E.T.'s neck, were programmed to bathe the boys in a style of lighting both modern and retro.

It was an effect mirroring the audience. Fans were all ages. Some witnessed The Police during the group's early '80s heyday. Many were toddlers or not yet born.

Becky Sigurnjac, 33, says she became a fan of The Police while in fourth grade in Jacksonville. ''I'm a dedicated fan club member,'' she said from the 12th row on the floor where the sound was warm, detailed and crisp. ''The music has been the soundtrack to my life.''

As such, The Police stuck with familiar, crowd-pleasing hits in the 19-song set, most of them delivered as before, except for a few questionable alterations. A slower 'Don't Stand So Close to Me', now in its third incarnation (the band recorded it in the studio in 1980 and 1986), lost its pep. A section of the concert comprised of jam-oriented tunes - from an awkward medley of 'Voices Inside My Head'/'When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around' through 'Truth Hits Everybody', would have fared better in a more intimate club show.

But Sting, who spoke little except to note that the ''sweaty people in Miami'' looked ''as if they just had sex,'' found the right touch on a feisty 'Every Little Thing' and turned 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da D'a into a call-and-response party.

The rest of the concert similarly popped. Copeland's polyrhythmic, world-beat percussion on 'Walking in Your Footsteps' and Sting's plump bass playing turned what was once a minor album cut into a stadium natural. That 1983 song, about the extinction of dinosaurs and performed with images of the doomed beasts on high-res screens behind the trio, could lead to a too-easy crack against rock groups who have no new music but regroup to play the oldies for the mega bucks. There's truth to this charge, but the exceptional musicianship made it easier to let that slide.

Even the real police on duty seemed excited to bask in the world of Sting & Co. ''I'll get to see the show. I've always liked Sting,'' said Miami-Dade Lt. Ray Gonzalez.

Opening acts Fiction Plane, featuring Sting's son Joe Sumner - who wails just like Dad but who plays unexceptional rock - and Maroon 5 played tight, crafty pop. Both acts came and went fast - leaving more time for the main attraction, and for that we're grateful.

(c) The Miami Herald by Howard Cohen

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