On Thursday I saw The Police in concert in Philadelphia. I was amongst 25,000 of the whitest white people I’ve ever seen in my life. Most everyone had a beer in their hand, a smile on their face and a baseball cap on their head. And usually when I see a 45 year-old with their 15 year-old son, it’s the kid who dragged the parent out, not the other way around.
I quickly fell in with the flock, avoiding the beer since Gwenn and I were going to be driving back after the concert. In reality, who needs beer when you’re seeing the friggin’ Police? The first half, I just stood there with a stupid look on my face, like a toddler on Santa’s lap. I couldn’t believe it: I was watching The Police.
Some say that it’s all about the money, but Sting doesn’t need the money. I think, more than anything, he needed a well-timed kick in the crotch. Something to disrupt the comfort zone he’s so painstakingly constructed for himself. Whatever the reason, I’m glad it happened and I lived to see it.
Sting, Andy and Stewart kicked things off with Message In A Bottle, and ran through a sizeable portion of their catalogue. Andy Summers enjoyed a couple of blazing guitar solos, not really my thing. But whenever that happened, I trained my eyes and ears on Stewart Copeland, the drummer, smiling goofily as he pounded away. That guy has been dreaming of this tour for many years, and I don’t think there was a happier person in the ballpark. (Not even the dude who came precariously close to invading my personal space with his sloppy rendition of Sting’s infamous “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” music video dance.)
As a kid, I thought The Police were cool but it wasn’t until high school, long after they broke up, that I really delved in. When Gwenn heard they were going on tour, she eBayed two tickets to the show, the best birthday present I could ever ask for. Since we were driving home, however, I nudged Gwenn during the last chorus of “Every Breath You Take”, knowing there was only one more tune to go. “Want to get a headstart on all these people?” “Yes,” she said. As we exited the park, The Police were singing, “All I want is to be next to you,” and all I was thinking was, “All I want is to not be next to 5,000 cars!”
One of Sting’s lines jumped out at me during the show. In “The Bed’s Too Big Without You”, Sting sings the following about the loss of a love and the fact that he’s in bed alone: “Made love to my pillow, but it didn’t feel right.”
He made a funny face when he sang the line, almost as if 50-something Sting was admonishing Young Sting for penning the lyric, without giving consideration to the fact that Future, More Dignified Sting may have to deliver it to 25,000 white folks and their kids someday.
When I heard the lyric, one of my faves, I thought: So much is made of Sting’s tantric sex. How come we never hear from that poor pillow? Where’s Dateline? Where’s 48 Hours? Sure, The Police are back together, and all is well in the music world as a result.
But the complete story of the band has not been told until we get an update on that pillow.