The Police are still a force...
It's not often 25,000 people are happy to see the police. However, it wasn't the boys in blue but the three formerly blond boys of the British rock outfit, finally here nine months into their gargantuan world tour.
And The Police seemed equally happy to see a packed Members Equity Stadium, dishing up a two-hour set of greatest hits drawn from their remarkable seven-year burst that saw them issue five increasingly successful albums and a string of hit singles.
After forming in the eye of the punk storm - albeit too good looking, too pop savvy and too darn talented to be part of that scene - the trio imploded after their previous Australian tour in 1984 to support final album 'Synchronicity'.
The years have mostly been kind to The Police, especially superfit activist Sting, whose tanned visage clashed with the battered and scraped body of his trusty Fender bass guitar. Master guitarist Andy Summers is somewhat jowly these days and slightly craggy drummer Stewart Copeland might rethink his very-80s black headband and white gloves combo when he watches the tour DVD.
Fans were given a close up look at 2008 vintage Police via massive screens that flicked between the three musicians and stunning graphics in a state-of-the-art stadium show.
After Bob Marley's 'Get Up, Stand Up' heralded the lean trio's arrival (with most fans heeding Bob's instructions), Summers' slippery opening riffs to 'Message In A Bottle' kicked off the two hours of power. Another chart-topper from 1979 in 'Walking On The Moon' had us skanking along to the white-boy reggae and Sting's keening vocals.
The artist formerly known as Gordon Sumner could have easily been one of the crowd; he claimed he didn't have the money to emigrate to Australia as a ''10 quid Pom'' back before he enlisted in The Police.
Instead, he embarked on a brief stint as a teacher, which inspired 1980 hit 'Don't Stand So Close to Me'. Support act Fergie, of the Black Eyed Peas and now solo fame, joined the boys for this song, flirting with each member.
From the fun of that number, the show shifted gears with Sting's indictment of world hunger, 'Driven To Tears', and the jazzy 'Hole in My Life' - a song apparently added to the set-list at the request of Copeland.
Then it was back to singalongs with the lighter pop hits 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic' and 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da'.
'Walking in Your Footsteps' and 'Can't Stop Losing You' were highlights of the home stretch, which concluded with 30-year-old favourite Roxanne - of course, the stage turned on its red lights.
Those red lights stayed on in the LED-inspired artwork of 1981 album 'Ghost in the Machine' as the fans brayed for even more Police hits.
The encore opened with the superb King of Pain, their final charting song before the split, followed by 'So Lonely' - with Sting welcoming us to the Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland show, rather than ''my one-man show''.
The three-man show wound up with the Grammy award-winning 'Every Breath You Take' (yep, The Police's three biggest songs are about stalking, prostitution and teacher/student relations). Summers staying on stage to rip out the riffs for the rocking finale of 'Next To You', taking fans back to side one, track one of their 1978 debut 'Outlandos d'Amour'.
After Sting's son Joe Sumner opened proceedings with his rock trio Fiction Plane, Fergie, her band and a crew of hip-hop dancers performed an energetic set of Black Eyed Peas and solo hits to the swelling stadium.
She bravely tackled a rock medley - including Wings' 'Live and Let Die', Led Zep's 'Rock and Roll' and the Stones' 'Start Me Up' - pointing towards the direction of the follow-up to her massive solo debut, 'The Dutchess'.
Fergie has already scored five Top 5 hits, an incredible and rare feat, and the crowd welcomed two of the biggest, 'Big Girls Don't Cry' and 'Glamorous'.
The Peas' singer was an odd choice for The Police support yet won over some new fans as the sun set on the stadium.
(c) The West Australian by Simon Collins