The Police returned to the stage on their reunion tour for the first time in over twenty years and we were fortunate enough to catch them both nights in Dallas. Playing to a sold out crowd in American Airlines Center, they offered songs from their entire catalog with a pretty comprehensive set list. The band was energetic, played well and Sting is still managing to hit the high notes (evenon Roxanne) without any serious difficulty. The songs mostly featured slight to large modifications in key, tempo, improvisation or a combination of the three. In most cases the songs stayed true enough to the original to please the purists and I found myself liking them more on the second night.
There a few exceptions where I think the original flavor of the song was lost, especially in a song like De Do Do Do where Andy changed the chorus guitar to more of a punkish barre chord version and I really preferred it the original way. Kinda took the Andy out of that song in my opinion. The band stretched out and let Andy take fairly frequent solos and Sting engaged the crowd in the standard call/response he is known for. It may be subjective, but I really think the second night crowd was more energetic as well as knowledgable (it may have been the difference of 1st tier seats the first night compared to 17th row floor on the second as well). The view on the second night was definitely better in our case. We were close enough to see facial expressions and what the fingers on the instruments were doing.
The band stuck to the reliables in the equipment area with Sting playing his old Fender Precision (it may have been a re-issue), Andy playing a red Stratocaster (swapped out once with an identical model that was capoed on the 2nd fret), and Stewart had his typical full complement of Tama drums and additional percussion on a riser in the back. Andy had a very geometric appearing set of Mesa Boogies in a mixture of rectangular and square cabinets that appeared custom designed just to allow them to make an interesting stack configuration, otherwise I can't really say what the logic may have been. The same went for Sting and his Ampeg amps. Looked cool, anyway.
The show featured a fairly sparse stage setup with the only enhancements being a set of stairs that encircled the entire back half of the stage and allowed the players to walk up behind the drum kit and interact with the seats behind the stage (yes, those were sold out too). On the video side they had three very large screens up near the ceiling in the front, one on each side and one in the back so that everyone had a decent view of the band no matter where they were seated. Below the screens was a sort of colored display board like you see in sporting events that was used to display various mood centric and album related color schemes. That along with a modest lighting scheme added to the overall ambiance very well. The video screens mostly showed the players but occasionally featured song specific videos like for Invisible Sun. They updated the context of this song by showing what appeared to be mostly Iraqi children. Funny how the song is still very applicable today, over twenty years later. Not to mention Driven to Tears.
Note on these pictures: I didn't try taking a camera in so I have copied these from other users on Flickr. Most of them are actually from the the two Dallas shows.
- Message in a Bottle
- Synchronicity 2
- Walking on the Moon
- Voices in my Head (short intro)
- When the World is Running Down
- Don't Stand so Close to Me
- Driven to Tears
- The Bed's Too Big Without You
- Truth Hits Everybody
- Every Little Thing She Does is Magic
- Wrapped Around Your Finger
- De Do Do Do De Da Da Da
- Invisible Sun
- Walking in Your Footsteps
- Can't Stand Losing You
- King of Pain
- So Lonely
- Every Breath You Take
- Next to You
We really liked the opening band, Fiction Plane. They were enjoyable the first night and even better the second since we were a little more familiar with their tunes. Featuring a similar setup to the Police (Trio with the bassist as singer) they are clearly influenced by groups like U2 and the Police with a healthy dose of reggae in the beat. I found out later that the singer/bassist is actually Sting's son (wonder if they would have gotten the gig otherwise?) who actually follows in his dad's footsteps fairly well. His vocal range is a bit lower than Sting's but otherwise pretty similar in all respects. I liked them well enough that I have bought their album "Left Side of the Brain" and I really like it.