No, i don't mean the somewhat racist entirely reactionary group of mostly Irish and Italian men who like to frisk me in Harlem, i mean the somewhat pompous entirely brillant group of mostly English musicians who played a kickass show at MSG last Thursday (Aug. 7)...oddly enough, this show featured members of the NYPD drum corps on the song 'Message in a Bottle'...which was actually a pretty awesome moment in the show...
I am big fan of live music. over the years, and to my dismay, the quality of live rock shows has gone into the gutter. almost no one playes for more than an hour. there is almost no improvisation or change in the arrangements of the songs played vs. the way they sound on record. and the newer the band the less they interact with the audience...Emo and punk notwithstanding...as much as i can dislike those two styles, they are my favorite live experiences of the past five years...they still are clearly playing their instruments live with no pre-recorded assistance (can you hear me Linkin Park and Flyleaf?), and they make a point to include their fans in the experience (fuck you, to the new york hipster pop scene...if i ever go to another show where the whole band, aside from the singer, looks so bored they could die, it'll be too soon...thank you Interpol and the Strokes).
okay, i think i've gotten off topic a little...right, The Police.
It was the best live show i have ever been to. they were old. Sting had a grey beard (which he shaved, live, between encores...well, actually three hot blondes shaved it, but whatever), Andy Sommers looked like he was about to keel over and die before their third encore, and Stuart Copeland...well, he looked like pretty much the same except with gray hair and thicker glasses. it was still the best show i have ever been to.
They opened with Cream's 'Sunshine of Your Love', and right away i knew this was gonna be like the old days When bands played for 2 & 1/2 hours. they improvised lines to fit the city and mood of the evening. it was a fantastic opening, even if it was the worst song of the night.
after that was when the NYPD drum corps came out for 'Message in a Bottle'. which really got everyone into it...except the couple sitting in front of me, who seemed too cool to stand up and cheer for anything, and the asshole sitting behind me, who, in between songs, complained about my predeliction towards standing during a rock concert.
then they moved off into siome non standard Police songs like 'Demolition Man'...and Andy Sommers ripped off a couple really nice solos (and a few less than nice ones, but who cares, at least he got to solo). they came back around to their hits by starting them all in unique ways, so that most people didn't see which song was coming until it was already on top of them...making them scream. which is a nice touch and i wasn't expecting the guys to be tight enough to pull stuff like that off...
which leads me to my favorite part of the evening. the chemistry between these three musicians who spent a good part of their earlier careers at each others throats (something Sting alluded to early in the set as a bit of a joke for those member of the audience who knew who the Police were BEFORE Puffy stole 'Every Breath You Take'...which was their final, final, final song). Sting, Stuart, and Andy flowed seamlessly between their new arrangements and cover songs and improvised vamps. they had a wonderful comraderie onstage. Sting Smiled a lot and engaged the other band member more in this show than he probably did in their entire earlier touring adventures. and he looked great with a beard.
he looked even better when it was shaved off before the first encore...he also looked damn good without a shirt (better than me, anyway).
but, the best part of the show was the hispanic guys sitting next to my father and i...they were so wrapped up in the performances they decided that it would serve them better to piss themselves and NOT miss any of the show than run to the bathroom and miss a classic moment...Neglect of Potty Training, the mark of a truly great live performance.