I’m taking the rare opportunity of featuring a guest blogger, Deborah Gitell. She is a font of pop culture knowledge, an expert on The Police and, of course, my sister. Here’s her review:
The pinnacle of the Police’s success came in 1984 after the release of Synchronicity, one of my least favorite Police albums.
The first time I saw them in concert, as a 13 year old, at the Civic Center, my uncle Alvan had special backstage passes as the doctor assigned to the band if anything happened. Secretly, I was hoping that maybe Sting or another band member might need a quick check up pre- concert. This didn’t happen. Not a cough, or a fracture. They were in perfect health.
We didn’t have seats so my uncle positioned us right off the stage, near some speakers. We had VIP badges so we weren’t going to be hassled. This concert had backup singers, and a whole array of musicians, and lighting, and big screens. It was exciting. Today, in 2007, I wasn’t a VIP. I was part of a whole generation for whom the Police’s blend of reggae, funk, rock, and raw edges resonated.
So being able to see them in Dodger’s Stadium a month ago, and then at Fenway Park last night was a coming home for me, tapping into a spiritual realm that i rarely experience. When I was 10, my town Hull had a record store and I was so excited to purchase the album, with the RED pseudo-Asian lettering inspired illustration of the three faces of the band. I listened to “Spirits in the Material World” every day. In the last few years, my favorite song of the album is “Hungry For You (J’Aurais Toujours Faim de Toi.)”
Last night, they sounded fantastic. Paired down, just the three members, their sound brought me back to their early days where I could attend to Andy Summers versatile guitar playing, Stewart’s energy and drive, and Sting’s body! Sting’s voice was beautiful. My brother and I were wondering how they were going to do without the backup voices, and the additional instruments like the Synthesizer which played such a big role in “Ghost in the Machine” and “Synchronicity”. Andy Summer’s guitar! He was able to make his guitar sing along with Sting as well as manipulate his guitar to sound like different instruments.
Seeing the Police at Fenway was a special experience and different from the concert at Dodger Stadium. At Fenway, you are sitting in a park and even though grand in the historical sense, it was an intimate experience.
There were some tweaks to the performance which I was pleased about- At the Dodgers, Sting sang the chorus of “Don’t stand so Close to me” in a slow, self engrossed, solo Sting manner. At Fenway, he sped it up. Same for “Truth Hit’s Everybody”. I remember last month Sting drawing out the ” E.V.E.r.ybody” and it was kind of boring. Last night, the Police rocked it out. Maybe becauseI was in a smaller and more special ballpark, with better seats that I was able to see how much fun they were having playing together. At one point, Summers was totally rocking out on his electric guitar and Sting came over to honor his “legendary” guitarist by joining his jam session.
Clearly I am no musician, just a satiated and awestruck Policephile.
I met Andy Summers at the Blue Note in Time Square about 5 years ago (this was before camera phones were around). It is a very intimate jazz club. Adam Stein was a huge fan of Andy’s guitar playing and bought us tickets to see his show. I sat directly in front of Andy as he played. After the show, Andy slung his guitar around his back and was ready to exit the club. I said, ‘Mr. Summers.’ He turned around, looking at me, waiting for me to say something. ‘Can I buy you a drink?’ He paused. ‘Okay.’. Cranberry Vodka I believe. We talked. ‘I am a big fan, you were in the Animals“. Happily, he said, ‘You’ve done your homework”. We talked about NY and his love for playing here. ”
The Police did there homework last night. As my sister writes, it was a transcendant show.
Here’s Bostonist’s review.