Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Well, by now you have probably been hearing about The Police shows that have been occurring since May 28th. The reviews are mixed, but a lot of them are from very disappointed fans.
From what I can extrapolate, the fans that are pleased with the shows are ones that don't mind that the songs are drastically changed and for the most part, unrecognizable. They are just happy to see the band back together, no matter what. And probably alot of them never saw them in the 80's. Here is an example:
The Police Phoenix, AZ June 18, 2007 Review by Les.
"This was a great concert. The sound level was perfect. Andy Summers played some phenonenal guitar solos (Can't Stand Losing You, for example). Every song sounded great. Hearing Synchronicity I and Spirits in the Material World would have been nice, but the show couldn't have been much better. I have a whole new appreciation for some songs after hearing them live. Wrapped Around Your Finger, Can't Stand Losing You, Driven To Tears, and When the World is Running Down were perfect. Don't Stand So Close To Me was played too slow and Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic didn't have pop, I thought it would. Overall this was a 5 star show."
I have watched many of the clips on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/) of the shows and I have to admit I am with the fans that are disappointed. The fans that are not happy with the performances seem to be the ones that saw The Police 25 years ago, like me. Those of us that witnessed the edgy, angry, articulate, powerful force that The Police represented in those early days. I am not saying that they should sound exactly like they did then, that is unrealistic. But I am saying that from what I've read, people want to hear the songs as close to what they were in those days. I know I do. Here is another example:
The Police Oakland, CA June 13, 2007 Review by anonymous.
"The songs were performed so poorly I chose to forget the set list. They opened with Message in a Bottle which was a farce. They closed with the most hideous version of Roxanne ever. The encores were not worth waiting around for.
The short review is that the current Police are a horrible cover-band of their old selves. Sting's gratuitous 'eee-ohhs' were lame, the fact that they tuned down almost every song was pathetic, and some tunes were so altered it took several minutes to realize what they were playing. Sting obviously can't sing the high choruses that are the trademark of Police tunes. Andy Summers sounded like he couldn't care less about musicianship. I heard so many shanked notes and f-ups it was embarrasing. I kept wondering when the Police were going to wake up. The crowd looked confused as well. They tried to rock, but ultimately everyone sat down after it was clear that the Police were tired (and DONE). Most of the songs lacked so much energy it was like watching the show in slow-motion. They were a 33 1/3 record played on about 25 speed. People were leaving in droves before the first encore. We soon followed suit.
I think the best summary of the show comes from my best friend. When another friend said he wanted to hear 'King of Pain' before we took off, my buddy said, 'I don't want to hear what they've done to it'. Basically, this show tarnished all of my teenage memories of a once-awesome band. They are old, can't sing the high notes, need a lot more practice, and they gotta stop playing the b.s. 'new-fangled' versions. I was listening to the Police's adult-contemporary style and was only reminded of Michael Bolton, Rick Astley, and STING."
I personally think that Sting just cannot make himself go back to the past in that way and that he is deliberately playing the songs differently. In his jazzed up, slowed down, off tempo way. It's just who he is and Andy and Stewart are going along with it. I don't want to believe they are doing this for the money, but I'm sure it has a whole lot to do with it.
I wish I could say that they do not sound any better than other bands who were wonderful in the 80's, but Pink Floyd blows that theory. Did you hear them play together for the first time in 25 years at Live 8, two years ago? They gave me chills, even watching them streamed on AOL on my computer. And I read that most people felt the same way. So it is possible to relive the past.
This does not make me want to travel any distance and pay an inflated amount of money to see The Police live. I would rather save my memories of how great they were (and my money) and watch them on TV when they do the Live Earth show on July 7th from Giants Stadium in New Jersey. Watching from the coziness of my own living room. I think that's going to be good enough for me.
If you would like to read some of the reviews by fans, go to: http://www.stingetc.com/concerts