Witness Reports - The Police appear on Spectacle with Elvis Costello...
Apollo Theater, New York City
TIME OF INCIDENT: 4pm Eastern Time
WITNESSES: Fan Club contest winners
Now that was a really cool afternoon. What a different way to see The Police. And how great it was to get really intimate with the guys right before they say goodbye. All three were charming in their individual interviews. Elvis and Sting gave me chills when they did Alison together in Sting's segment. And the house rocked at the end with phenomenal versions of Sunshine of your Love (twice!) and Purple Haze. I'm sure others will give more detailed reviews. I felt privileged to be there. And I was really impressed with what a great venue the Apollo is. -Bobboli
Well, first of all, I have to thank the fan club for the ticket. I met Dave and Wendy for the first time but only for about 10 seconds. Nevertheless, I'm glad I was able to thank them in person for the ticket and for running a great fan club/web site. I'm usually pretty shy but today I was asking people who they were. I'm glad I was able to say hello to fellow fan club members, all of whom seemed very happy and excited. When I entered the Apollo I was surprised how small it is inside. On TV it looks much bigger. But it was nice. The show itself was good. The format and the content was unexpected which made it more interesting. I did not expect Elvis to kick it off with an acoustic version of Every Little Thing. He did a nice job but he was messing up the words during some portions. Who cares though, it was still pretty good. Elvis read off a rapid fire intro of the band. Andy, Sting and Stewart promptly walked on stage, ignored Elvis, didn't stop and walked across and off the stage. That was pretty funny. Elvis, feigning surprise, said, "Was it something I said." He then introduced Andy. They talked a lot about his early days and influences.... lots of One Train Later material. Andy then played his guitar and Elvis sang a song. I don't remember the name of the song. Andy may have played guitar for Elvis in the original version.
Stewart was next. Unfortunately, Stewart did not play. Elvis asked about the infamous Stewart blog from the first week of the tour. They talked about Stewart's middle east musical influence and how the beats are different and how he was influenced. It was mostly all stuff we've heard before. Oh, and Stewart called Sting the best bassist around. Then Sting came out. He referred to Stewart as a "challenge" to deal with, musically. Sting said his vocal influences were mostly women such as Dusty Springfield. I was waiting for Sting to mention Fontella Bass because he has done so in the past but he did not. He said listening to women artists made him sing higher which is advantageous to a rock singer because his voice can soar over the music. Elvis asked when Sting knew he might have a hit with the Police. Sting said it was when they recorded Roxanne. Sting said at first he was reluctant to bring the song to the band because it was not a rock song at the time and the band would scoff at the song named after a woman. In what looked like a spontaneous moment, Sting picked up his beloved acoustic 3/4 guitar and played and sang his original bossa nova version of Roxanne. He then explained that it was eventually "policified" in the studio. It's the first time I've heard Sting himself use that adjective. I first read it in Andy's autobiography.
Sting explained that when he heard Allison it gave him the courage to bring Roxanne to the band. Elvis reacted as if he's never heard that before which was interesting. Then the lute made an appearance. They had a conversation about John Dowland. Sting played the lute and Sting and Elvis exchanged verses of Flow My Tears, which Elvis said he sang years ago at the funeral of band member who died. There was more but I can't remember now. Elvis asked Sting about undeserved reputations. Elvis explained that he got one early on when he was tagged as an angry man. Elvis asked Sting if he was an easy target because of Sting's literary references. Sting did not let Elvis slide by mentioning that he (Sting) has been accused by some of using a fake Jamaican accent. Sting did not specify who said that. It was, of course, Elvis who said that a few years ago. Elvis seemed a little embarrassed but it was a funny moment. I don't think most people in the audience caught the significance of the humorous moment.
Then the boys came on together. Most of that exchange has been posted already. Stewart and Sting did a little improve on firing each other now that the tour has come to an end. Stewart said they all realized last year that they can't fire each other. Stewart said they all started putting together better shows when they threw out the musical ground rules they set early in the tour. Elvis asked about band conflict. He demonstrated a subtle way to let a band member know that their musical idea sucks. Stewart immediately jumped in, explaining there's no "passive-aggressive" communication in the Police. Sting and Andy agreed there are no subtle nudges in this band. After the interview they performed Sunshine of Your Love which they later performed again because, as Sting explained, one of the guitarists made a mistake. We knew it was Elvis because he defended himself by saying he's never played the song before. They played Watching the Detectives which was mixed in with Walking on the Moon. That was pretty cool. BTW, the Police and the Elvis band were playing at the same time including both drummers. Then came purple Haze followed by Sunshine again. And that was it. Overall, it was pretty cool. Although I must say that a golden opportunity was missed by not getting Sting and Andy together on acoustic guitars and letting the two masters create some string magic. Some show producers just are not creative. Also, you'd think that if you get the Police on your show you'd let them play one song. That did not happen. Well, that's it - a pretty cool afternoon. Thank you very much TD&W & the Police. - Jerseyfan
Thanks so much to TD&W for an ace seat at this historic interview. So nice to see you again, D&W. It's wonderful that you made it after all. I was so fortunate to be on the aisle in row 2 orchestra left so each of the boys was facing me as they were interviewed individually and of course the group interview. The performances were stellar. Hearing Purple Haze and Sunshine x2 was unbelievable. I'm old enough to have worn those songs out when the albums were originally released so they hold great memories for me. Elvis was articulate, humorous and of course, incredibly insightful with his questions and comments. He's a natural for this gig. Stew was funny and his usual boyish enthusiastic self. Great to hear Andy & Elvis play together and it was wonderful to finally have an opportunity to hear Flow My Tears in person - the duet with Elvis added a new dimension to the piece. All in all, it was such a wonderful experience to hear a dream interview (insightful questions & no tantric sex comments etc.) by an incredibly intelligent, articulate host with the best band in the world. I felt like I was eavesdropping on a chat among old friends. Simply wonderful! Thank you TD&W! You are, again, the BOMB!! - Iburn4u
Thanks Tina, Dave and Wendy for the opportunity to witness and amazing show. It was awesome because of the intimacy with such a small venue you felt like they were being interviewed and performing in your living room. Hope all you fellow fan club members that won had a good time, and have fun tonight for those who are going to the final show at MSG, just wish I was going as well. - MisterGradenko
I'd like to thank those responsible for allowing Police fanclub members to witness the Spectacle TV show taping--thanks to those on the Police side and the Elvis Costello side. This was a truly special event, and as a Police fan from 77 to present, I sincerely appreciated having my tushy in a seat at the Apollo Theater yesterday afternoon. Also a Big big thanks to the gentleman at the Apollo Theater who gave my bff a ticket when she inquired what would happen to the seats of no-shows. Truly this was a splendid day indeed. To start, We happened upon the backdoor to the Apollo while searching for parking and decided we would hang and see if the boys showed up. We met some lovely men who worked for the Police, and we were treated so kindly. One of them was nice enuf to tell us exactly what time the boys would be arriving!!! My bff had high hopes of getting guitar picks signed by all 3--but I was keeping my expectations low,, because you just never know what kind of mood anyone could be in at any time (w/all due respect...) I was flabbergasted to be face to face with Stewart Copeland and like a geek blurted out I love you, but it actually felt good! I've been waiting a long time to tell him that! He was gracious enuf to sign a 45 for me. :-) Oh and I think He's much cuter in person. Sting arrived looking like he was going to spend the night! He had two small flightcases in each hand, as well as what we assume was his lute on his back. My friend wanted to shake his hand, so he offered her his pinky! It was very cute - I touched his mighty arm, and it felt good! He is strikingly handsome upclose - I've never been this close to Stewart or Sting b4. We did not get Andy b4 the show, he kind of wiggled his way in quickly, but we did speak with him on the way out and he was very sweet. He gave my friend a guitar pick. And he signed my 45. As for the show...I thought it was thrilling. I love Elvis Costello and I was totally impressed with every facet of his performance - as a musician, as a talk show host, as a audience facil;itator...a s a friend. I felt like he was speaking to me directly when he asked us (the crowd) "How are you doing?" And his voice was given the supreme justice in the acoustics of the Apollo. When he and Sting sang the Flow of My Tears, it was breathtaking. I cannot imagine anything more intimate than this event. For me, it was perfect from start to finish. Everyone who worked for the Police and/or Elvis and/or the Apollo were just wonderful. We were treated so well. Thank you again. The highlight of the interview portion 4me was when Andy and Elvis talked about the music scene in W London and Andy talked about Joe Strummer and the 101ers., and then Stewart and Elvis talked about the reggae style of music that the Clash made available to punks and Elvis inadvertently said that the Police recorded the reggae song "Police and Thieves" and Stewart had to correct him. And Stewart talked about the "impossible" beat of reggae drumming which I thought was very cool. (How many times will you ever hear Stewart talk about something being impossible?) The lowlight was when the show was over and I realized that the Police and Elvis Costello were not going to perform Police and Thieves. I thought it would have been a really fun and spontaneous joke after Elvis' blunder! Obviously I'm outting myself here - I am a huge Clash fan. Police and Clash reign in my heart supreme. Can I ask a question of you guys: why does it seem like there is a very strong rivalry in terms of Clash and Police? I even sensed it when Stewart was talking about them. Why can't we love them both? Do we have to chose one over the other? For me, they have both coexisted peacefully in my heart for 30+ years. Just curious! I'd love to hear your feedback. LOVE to all the Apollo people. - iluvethepolice
I have to start by joining most of my fellow Police fans in thanking Dave, Tina, and Wendy. I am completely thrilled to have had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My biggest regret in my life is simply having been born too late (a few days before Synchronicity was released), and having thus missed The Police, The Beatles, Pet Sounds, Born to Run, etc. - all of the IMPORTANT music. Today, I can say that I can lay some of those regrets to rest. I showed up, despite the 90-degree heat, in a full two-piece suit. Hey, the email said that improper dress could be grounds for being turned away at the door, and I wasn't going to take any chances! I stood for shock in several seconds as I received my ticket and learned that my seat was 5 rows back...in the orchestra! DREAM COME TRUE! The entirety of the filming has been previously described in much better detail than I can recall, now several days after the event. I most enjoyed Stewart's interview segment (but I'm biased), and during Andy's I often felt that I wished he were allowed to talk more; for much of it, Elvis sort of went on a memory lane tour of the music scene in the 70s, and Andy only given time to chime in his agreement. I enjoyed hearing Andy and Sting play during their interview segments. When you're jumping up and down to the loud, pulsing beat of "Message in a Bottle" in a huge stadium somewhere, it is easy to forget how remarkably talented musicians they are - not just "rock stars." My favourite moment of the night came during the interview of all three members together, and Elvis asked the "rapid fire" question "favourite Police memory?" This was the one question where I most felt all three band members had very appropriate, earnest, and interesting responses. I paraphrase below: Sting: I hope, tomorrow night (referencing the final MSG concert). Andy: I would have to say, playing Shea Stadium. Stewart: It is a moment that happens at some point during every show on this tour. I'm there on stage, front of a huge crowd, playing my heart out. I look up and I see the back of Andy's head in front of me on the left. I see the back of Sting's head in front of me on the right. And then it hits me - I'm doing this again! After the show, I waited with a small and slowly-thinning group of fans in front of the Apollo next to a pair of police-guarded, black SUVs that we hoped were the getaway vehicles for the band. Andy came out briefly to say hi, but after a couple of hours we learned that the band had already left via another exit. A minor disappointment in what was otherwise one of the best days in my life! In all, I feel incredibly privileged to have been a part of this; representing the "new generation" of Police fans, among many of you who have loved them since before I was born! Thanks again to the our fan club organizers for making this possible! - aaronm