The last time The Police took the stage together, the compact disc was making its debut, Michael Jackson was moonwalking to 'Billie Jean' and Donkey Kong was the hottest video game.
Twenty-five years is a long time to wait for anything. But the dynamic trio of Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland sounded like they didn't miss a beat when they rocked Boardwalk Hall on Saturday night, proving their music is timeless and their fans' loyalty endless.
A near-capacity crowd plunked down $50 to a staggering $350 to see the eclectic musicians reunite. None seemed disappointed as The Police released an arsenal of their greatest hits with few surprises in a pleasing set that was nostalgic but also instilled hope that the three have put their differences aside and rediscovered their musical magic once again in the studio.
For now, fans have to settle for the tour, which has been a huge success as The Police have played around the U.S. and Europe, selling out arenas no smaller than Boardwalk Hall and stadiums as big as Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park.
Saturday night's concert, brought to the resort by Trump Entertainment, spanned The Police's catalog of smash hits. Sting, 56, dressed in a modified ratty white T-shirt, sounds as remarkable as he appears - he's like the Dick Clark of his generation - his boyish looks matching his youthful yet powerful vocals. Copeland, sporting a black headband and bicycle jersey, smashes the drums with amazing dexterity and precision while also looking incredibly fit at 55. Summers, the oldest of the three at 64, hasn't aged as well as his partners, but he remains a virtuoso guitarist, the main reason The Police's sound is so full and tight despite being just a trio.
It was a night of jazz. A night of pop. A night of punk. And a night of rock. But most importantly, it was a night of great music.
Opening with the oldie but goodie 'Message in a Bottle', the Boardwalk Hall crowd was singing along from the first note. The Police then jammed to the mysterious'Synchronicity II' as Sting sang about the paranormal before launching the quirky 'Walking on the Moon'.
As expected, though, The Police, fresh off back-to-back sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, didn't crank out carbon copies of their records. Instead, their superb talent rose to the occasion as the band re-imagined a good deal of songs.
'Wrapped Around Your Finger' had a more hypnotizing aura. 'Invisible Sun' was more upbeat and fun. 'Can't Stand Losing You' had more intensity than ever. 'So Lonely' featured a killer Summers' guitar solo. And nearly never song was extended compared to the albums they came from.
Some of the changes, however, didn't work as well.
The band seems to hold back something on 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic'. 'Roxanne' was unfortunately jazzier than its reggae-ish original, and the back-and-forth "Roxanne-oh" between Sting and the crowd was tiresome. When the band finally found its proper pace later in the song, the crowd seemed appreciative.
The highlights were ample. 'De Do Do Do De Da Da Da' offered a moment of silly fun. 'King of Pain' showed Sting's powerful voice. 'Every Breath You Take' possessed emotion and was a crowd favorite. 'Driven to Tears' and 'Hole in My Life' pleased Police loyalists. And the finale, 'Next To You', was a perfect nightcap.
The Police seemed to be having fun. Sting joked with his bandmates, putting their names into songs. They all smiled a great deal, and that chemistry paid off in their music.
As far as the stage show, The Police kept it to a minimum. Three large screens near the top of Boardwalk Hall almost always featured all three Police members, which was a nice touch. The lighting was strong but nothing fancy. And the sound was solid.
Copeland's expansive drum set, complete with a rear platform for him to stand on, gong and enough cymbals and drums to fill a music store, was impressive. He put it to good use, specifically on 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic', when he put on a percussion clinic.
After a rocky start - The Police were getting mixed reviews for their early shows and Copeland himself admitted the band was not at its best - the trio has obviously found synchronicity as the tour progresses. This is a band whose musicianship and originality always melded well with their pop instincts, a rare occurrence. Twenty-five years hasn't changed them a bit.
© The Press Of Atlantic City by Scott Cronick