November 7, 2007
Last night's Police concert in Charlottesville was simply wonderful. The Police Tour started in Europe earlier this year, then came to America and passed through Washington on Monday night. Next they will head south, eventually toward Mexico, South America, New Zealand and Australia. Jacqueline and I had great seats within fairly close range of the right side of the stage. It was the first time I had been inside John Paul Jones Arena, which was voted (by whom?) the best new concert venue of 2006. Of course, we bought T-shirts and the new double-CD compilation entitled simply The Police. First was the opening act by FictionPlane, a trio that sounded like U2 or The Police that was actually very good. (During intermission I made a quick phone call to Verona, whereupon I learned that Emmett Hanger had won the state senate race in a landslide, and that two of the four Republicans in contested races for the Board of Supervisors had won as well. ) Then the Main Act walked onto the stage: Sting (bass, vocals), Andy Summers (guitar), and Stewart Copeland (drums). They opened with "Message in a Bottle," one of their old classics, and followed that with "Synchronicity II," a haunting song with eclectic blend of rock and other styles. Those are two of my favorites, and put a big smile on my face for the rest of the evening. There were no side musicians or recorded effects during the show: Those three guys did it all, and did it well. Of course, "Every Breath You Take" was part of the encore. About the only big hit that was missing was "Spirits in the Material World," but they did a few other songs from that album [Ghost In the Machine].
After the final bow, Stewart Copeland came back on the stage to tell everybody that he comes from Virginia, which drew loud cheers. I'll have more to say about the concert later this evening, including a provisional song list, and possibly a photo.
UPDATE: The three veteran musicians performed with the requisite youthful vigor, and Sting seems not to have aged at all. Stewart Copeland still looks like a rock star, while Andy Summers could stand to lose a few pounds. Summers only switched guitars once or twice, whereas Copeland shifted back and forth among different percussion / chime sets. Those various drums and bells really are a key part of the trademark Police sound. Sting's bass guitar was really beat up, almost reminding me of Willie Nelson's acoustic guitar. Some songs could have used a piano or keyboard, or even a horn back-up, but the simple approach they chose worked quite well overall.
* Subject to revision, and probably incomplete.