Police Reunion
Vancouver, CAGM Place
With Fiction Plane

Concert of a lifetime flawed yet fabulous...

For some it's the Stones, others swear by the Beatles, but for me it has always been the Police.

Of all the bands that rocked me in my younger days, the Police were the real deal. Their sound was inimitable - a reggae-tinged signature sound with intelligent lyrics, soaring vocals, searing guitar work, and of course the masterful percussion of the volatile Stewart Copeland.

I have friends who gave up on new rock music in the early '80s, convinced we were doomed to listening to big-haired ''super'' groups like Poison, Slayer, Aerosmith and KISS. But I had moved into another realm, beginning a musical journey that has included the Talking Heads, the Pretenders, Brian Eno, Phillip Glass and so many more.

So when rumours began early this year that Copeland, Sting and Andy Summer had been sighted in Vancouver and a reunion was in the works, I cued up along with thousands of others to get a ticket to the concert at GM Place.

Nearly 14 weeks later my Police concert cohort, my best college buddy from Chicago, joined me on the coast to take in the second concert of the Police's first tour in more than 20 years.

The arena was packed with fans of every age, souvenir kiosks surrounded with buyers, throngs making their way from concession stands to their seats.

Inside the crowd was buzzing, seats filled completely by 8:30 p.m.

And then, it happened. A misstep, a half-bar lag between my three musical heroes on their opening song, 'Message In A Bottle'.

Truth is, had I written the review the faint flub would have merited not much of a mention, because from that point on the concert was magic.

The trio moved from hit to hit to hit - 'Every Little Thing', 'Walking on the Moon', 'Wrapped Around Your Finger', 'Roxanne', 'Don't Stand So Close To Me'. We knew exactly how many bars bridged the key change as 20,000 of us swayed and sang, ''De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da''. Summer and Copeland's backup vocals were no longer required.

My musical trip down memory lane began at 8:50 p.m., without an opening act. The threesome finished by throwing themselves into each other's arms shortly after 11 p.m., following two encores.

Hardly a ''petulant pansy'' as Copeland claimed on his website, Sting was the commander of the evening. At 55 years old, the singer is in better voice than ever, likely a testament to his devotion to yoga. For more than two hours we heard a voice that was clear, never faltering and inspiring.

No matter Copeland's penchant for post-concert rants ripping my dream concert. After all, a meltdown from the super-charged drummer and percussionist is vintage Police.

No matter, I will forever remember the fun returning to the music that still rocks me nearly three decades down the road.

(c) Prince George Citizen by Patty Stewart