Notwithstanding how much of a fan I am, it was definitely worth the extra $110 to see The Police for a second time on their ‘reunion tour’. I took in their July 25, 2007 show at the Bell Centre in Montreal (click here for that blog post), and last night’s opener of the third and final leg of their tour and career as The Police, here in Ottawa.
Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland looked and sounded very refreshed following a two month break. They opened with a ‘controlled’ version of Bring on The Night with Sting on acoustic guitar and bass pedals which gave the song a presence that could be felt in your rib cage. It wasn’t the whip-the-audience-into-a-frenzy start you’d expect from this tour. It was an entrance full of finesse. They saved the frenzy for their second number, a ripping version of Demolition Man. It was a one-two combination of songs they didn’t include in Montreal and both are very welcome additions to the set.
Sting seemed to enjoy himself much more last night than he did in Montreal. He moved about the stage more naturally and worked the arena with good banter, all in English (Sting has a history of fumbling through his French during previous appearances in Ottawa). He conducted the room through a few ‘sing-alongs’ that were more reminiscent of their heyday than last year’s performance in Montreal. Andy also seemed more in place last night and worked the arena on several occassions; a bonus. Stewart is always fun to watch.
At one point Sting recalled a 1979 performance in a theatre here in Ottawa. I remember an article in the Ottawa Citizen (many years ago) with the original Barrymore’s owner about his biggest regret being the cancellation of an appearance by The Police during their first Canadian tour. The cancellation was on the grounds that they were a punk band and he was having bad experiences with the punk scene in his bar. I hereby announce my intention to find out if they did actually play Ottawa.
While there were a couple of weak moments in the show (Invisible Sun didn’t carry enough umph and Don’t Stand So Close To Me remains a near show killer on this tour) the concert was filled with musical highlights like Driven To Tears, Voice Inside My Head/When The World Is Running Down, Synchronicity II, Message In A Bottle, Can’t Stand Losing You, So Lonely and a great if not slightly-slower-than-it-should-be version of Hole In My Life. Noticeably absent was their reworked version of Walking In Your Footsteps and thankfully absent was their watered down version of Truth Hits Everybody.
The concert ended on a high with an edgier-than-Montreal version of Next To You. It was their second encore and, by all accounts, the beginning of the home stretch of all Police collaboration. Too bad, really. The record industry would get a great lift if they produced a new studio album. Of course, this tour was never supposed to happen so we can always hang on to that hope.
Thanks for the Ottawa show, boys! It was great to be able to see you in my hometown. Good luck with the rest of the tour and thanks for the music.