|bruce and deborah bought me tickets to see the police way back in february, so that would make this the longest adventure that i’ve had in toronto (in 2007). i’ve had tickets to see sting twice in edmonton and on both occasions, he or i was unable to attend and so that would make this the first chance i’ve had to see my most favouritest band of all time.
there’s something vaguely spiritual about coming face to face with an influence that has lasted the majority of your life – you can’t avoid but be caught up in the immediacy of those moments.
moment one: fictionplane
arguably, one of the worst jobs in the world is opening band for a highly-anticipated, supremely-legendary band. i mean, who would want to deal with the expectations of opening for madonna, or the rolling stones, or … the police? well, on july 23, the mixed-curse fell to the son of gordon sumner and frances tomelty and his edgy rock band fictionplane. joseph has all of the rock pedigree that one could possibly ask for – son of pop-music legend, sting, wicked english accent, hot bass-playing chops, and a lofting tenor voice just like dad. as i’ve said to my friends, imagine that the police sent a copy of themselves 25 years into the future after they released zenyatta mondatta, spent a few years studying everything in rock music that had happened since then, and then launched into a punk/rock revival… they were phe-NOM-enal!
moment two: the opening
one of my favourite police songs is “message in a bottle” and the police opened their set with this hit. sting does it best as a mournful acoustic solo, but the police turn it into a rollicking rocking punch-you-in-the-throat moment to kick their concert off in high gear. the rest of the playlist is presented below (ripped off from an earlier show… i think it’s more or less accurate), although the simple arrangement of tunes falls far short of the impact of hearing your rock and roll idols performing it personally for you and 20,000 other of your closest police-idolizing fans
- Message in a Bottle
- Synchronicity II
- Spirits in the Material World
- Voices In My Head – When the World is running down
- Don’t stand so close to me
- Driven to tears
- Walking on the Moon
- Truth hits everybody
- Every little thing she does is Magic
- Wrapped around your Finger
- The bed’s too big without you
- Dee doo doo doo, dee da da da
- Invisible Sun
- Can’t stand losing you
- King of Pain
- So lonely
- Every breath you take
- Next to you
moment three: police hit mash-up
one of the things i’ve always admired about sting and the police is that they know how to be cleverly self-referential. they’ve always included a line from a previous album in each subsequent album, and it’s always been like finding a musical easter egg for their loyal fans. the police mashed up “voices in my head” and “when the world is running down” to fantastic effect. it’s a testament to the brilliance of these songs that their themes and their melodies can so tightly intertwine to be recombined at will.
moment four: realizing that the biggest hits don’t make the biggest impact
the synchronicity hits: king of pain, every breath you take, wrapped around your finger… these are all great songs, but nothing could improve upon the performances recorded on those albums. it was a realization that the 80s are over to see the policiers wringing the last bit of life out of these hits. it pains me somewhat to think that these musical artifacts will never be done better than they were at the peak of the police’s popularity. but the fact remains that songs like “every little thing she does is magic” and “can’t stand losing you” play so much better live than the mega hits. but at least i got to see them all and revel in the moments, even if they weren’t hot enough to sing along.
the police are coming around again in november, and it’s going to be a tough decision whether i should go home to visit my parents or spend the same money to see the police again.
song of the day for considering the police: masoko tango, the police (no link available)