Police rock JPJ with all the hits

The Police concert at JPJ Tuesday night lived up to its billing: a reunion concert that featured all the hits.

As Andy Summers strode onstage picking the familiar opening riff from "Message in a Bottle," flanked by Sting and with Stewart Copeland sitting tall behind his drumset, the audience shot to its feet, where most remained for the rest of the concert.

Although two decades have passed since the trio's last tour, no rust was evident– Sting and Summers often riffed off each other, Sting frequently leaning against Summers' back. The real spectacle, however, was the guy stuck in the back. At one point, Copeland stood up to play the xylophone, cymbals, and drums– seemingly all at once– and earned a big reaction for several complex drum fills over the course of the evening.

The band transitioned through the set seamlessly, faithfully delivering audience favorites (with the exception of a few slowed-down numbers that lacked the power of the originals). "Don't Stand so Close To Me" lost some steam as did the combination of "Invisible Sun" and "Walking in Your Footsteps," and some in the audience sat down until the band cranked up the tempo again with the familiar reggae-infused groove of "Can't Stand Losing You."

If the show onstage caused the audience to forget this is a band of men in their 50s, images on the giant projection screens provided occasional reminders. The lyrics of "Walking in Your Footsteps" refer to prehistory, but were the accompanying images of skeletal dinosaur footprints actually a sly reference to the players' age?

The point was emphasized during the encore when the screen showed videos from '80s studio sessions with Sting's feathered hair flowing in a stream of black and white, almost mocking his tight grey-flecked crop of today.

"Roxanne" was a rousing, up-tempo finish to the set, but the encore left the most lasting impression: "King of Pain," "So Lonely," "Every Breath You Take," and "Next to You" flowed in one unbroken stream that blasted any doubts of the authority behind the Police. The songs rolled out so seamlessly that it almost seemed the boys were ready to begin a whole new set.

Alas, they had exhausted all the hits, and though the crowd wanted more, Sting, Summers, and Copeland took their final bow.

Copeland was the last to say good night, adding that Sting had forgotten to mention the most important fact in his introduction: Copeland grew up in Virginia. Lucky for him– and us– he moved to England and joined a band before coming back.

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Correction: As a helpful reader noted, not every member of the band is in his 60s. (Sting is 56, Stewart Copeland is 55, and 64-year-old Andy Summers will turn 65 next month.)

2 comments

Correction: this is NOT a band with members in their 50's; Andy Summers was born in 1942, which makes him SIXTY FIVE (65). Kudos to all three of them for a great performance.

The police scare me