In my mind, there are four groups that are the seminal bands of the 1980s: U2, R.E.M., Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, and the Police. I had seen all of these bands live at one time or another, except for the Police, who broke up when I was around 15 — too young to go to concerts (as far as my parents were concerned, anyway). Unlike many bands, the Police also seemed extraordinarily committed to never playing together again, so I thought I would never have the opportunity to see them. Much to my surprise, however, earlier this year they announced a reunion tour, and last night, I was among the 18,000 people at the Verizon Center who coughed up a hundred bucks to see them play.
I am happy to report, it was completely worth both the wait and the cash. I’ve seen Sting live before and found him to be a fairly dull performer, and find his post-Police music to be hit-or-miss at best. It appears that playing with Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland requires that he bring his A game to the stage, and he obliged. Musically, I could not have asked for more — they did a fantastic job of re-imagining their hits, so that everything had that same-but-different sound that characterizes a great live show. (I hate it when a band comes out and everything sounds exactly the same as it does on the albums. If I want to hear the songs as-recorded, I’ll stay home and listen to them.) The only thing that felt like it was missing was a sense of camaraderie amongst the band members. Maybe I am spoiled by having seen the E Street Band too many times, but they gave all appearance of being three guys who have no relationship whatsoever.
My only complaint about the show, actually, was the audience, at least in the area where I sat. Yes, sat… There seemed to be no understanding that seeing a band live meant actually dancing and having fun. Most people seemed content to just sit and listen, and didn’t seem like they’d take two tall girls standing up to dance very well, so Megan and I ended up dancing in the doorway of our section for quite a while, until we were sent back to our seats with a curt jerk of the head by the usher stationed there. I think it’s a weird DC thing — it’s the only place I’ve ever gone to a huge stadium-type concert where everyone just sits around and bops their head. At least this time, we found a way around it, for a while, anyway. But c’mon people… Dance! It’s fun!
Oh, and Sting? Still hot, hot, hot. As is his son, who performed in the opening act. I found this profoundly disturbing, until a look at Wikipedia informed me that Son-of-Sting is over 30. It’s still weird to find the dad and the son hot, but not as bad as if the son were 17 or something.