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Monday, July 30, 2007

The Police in St. Louis...

Ok, so Mark talked me into going. He insisted, saying just because I decided not to go didn't mean he didn't want to see them. So we bought $50 tickets online and took a little getaway in St. Louis for the show two weeks ago.

It took place at the Scottrade Center downtown, a place alot like Kemper here in KC. We went down to the venue early in the day and went backstage to connect with our friends on the crew. The production manager Charlie Hernandez, whom I've known for 25 years, said they would be out for at least a year and do 4 legs of the tour. (Maybe coming to KC.) On the other hand, Danny Quatrochi, Sting's longtime guitar tech and personal assistant told us that he thought it would be good if they made it together for this first leg of the tour. Ha! Different stories from different parts of the touring entourage. They both offered us tickets, but we told them we'd already purchased some. "There isn't a bad seat in the house," Charlie exclaimed.

We returned for the show around 6:30pm when the doors opened. I was impressed with the ease of parking and the lack of traffic to deal with at the venue. It was very laid back in the building, even letting people pass through with cameras.

On the ride there, we heard the opening act, Fiction Plane, on the radio being interviewed at a local station. They played one of their tunes there in the studio called, 'Two Sisters' (killer song) and spoke with the DJ's. Oh, by the way, the frontman bass player and singer, is none other than Sting's eldest son, Joe Sumner, who is very outgoing and full of personality. This made us very enthused about seeing them perform.
When the three musicians came out on stage at exactly 7:30pm, seats were still empty and fans were filing in. They were very reminiscent of The Police 30 years ago, young, edgy and good. Mark and I really enjoyed the fresh energy. Joe announed that the band would be in the concourse between shows to sign CD's and meet the fans. So we went down from our seats on high to get a load of them. So cute, Joe looks astonishingly like his dad and sounds like him, too. The line to meet them went 1/4 of the way around the circular concourse. They were a hit!
(Go to http://www.myspace.com/fictionplane to hear songs and get more info.)

Mark and I took our opportunity to get closer to the stage, finding empty seats in the $225 section to the left of the stage behind the handicapped section. They were perfect, no one was in front of us. After a 30 minute changeover, the house lights went down and Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up" blasted thru the speakers. Stewart Copeland was the first on stage, positioning himself behind the massive drum set and hitting a giant gong with a mallet. Sting and Andy hit the stage, the lights went up and the extravaganza began, 'Message In a Bottle' led the way.

Good opening, much excitement, plenty of roaring from the 17,000 pumped-up fans. The show went from thrilling to good as it progressed, most of the songs taking on the slowed-down tempo and changed arrangements that we'd heard about. The best thing was watching the skill and craftsmanship of the three seasoned musicians, especially the eager and energetic Stewart Copeland running from his drum kit to an array of windchimes, bells, and various hanging percussion items behind him. All in all, it was a good show, not the show of 25 years ago, but good for the men they are now. As Mark says, "They were angry punks then, they are rich & comfortable now. How could they possibly recapture that feeling?" Anyway, I'm glad I went. The set list is as follows:

Message in a Bottle
Synchronicity II
Walking on the Moon
Voices Inside My Head / When the World is Running Down...
Don't Stand so Close to Me
Driven to Tears
The Bed's Too Big
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 / Reggatta de Blanc

Encore 1
Roxanne

Encore 2
King of Pain
So Lonely
Every Breath You Take

Encore 3
Next to You

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bob Dylan, the Older the Fiddle, the Sweeter the Tune

"Tonight we saw Bob Dylan and his band electrify Kansas City's Starlight audience with Modern Times material and some old ditties revisited anew. Dylan's cinematic snapshots open up wonderful moments in the social climate of America spanning the counter-cultural movement of the sixties to his current perspective on New Orleans. The concert ended with an utterly spine-tingling rendering of All Along the Watchtower, with the crescent moon slipping into the night sky. Bob Dylan seems to appear slightly younger since I saw him last, the grooves more infectious, the mountains more thunderous, and in the midst of it all, an increasingly coherant, comprehensible and musical voice, rendering a message that deconstructs itself immediately, "something is happening, but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?" Or in delicate strains, an upright base, softening drums, pedal steel searing the heart, Dylan's piercing commentary finding that beautiful note then as if to obey some sort of divine symmetry, disappearing like a ghost in the machine, as if something has happened and we don't know what it is. But it is not a function of age that diminishes the energy, for it was there at the Starlight, old songs, sacred to us, made fresher still, leaving us with little ripples of spiritual joy."
by Mark