Saturday, July 07, 2007

Concert Review: The Police, Wrigley Field, July 6

There's a fine line to walk when playing a concert full of familiar hits. To just reproduce the recorded versions is artistically stale, but to blow them up too far leads to bloat. The trick is to find a way to make the songs fresh but not flabby. As the reunited Police trotted out their well-known back catalog, they mostly avoided the former but too often fell into the latter trap. They found their best success when mixing up their lesser-known mostly-instrumental songs with their big hits, which is ironic because it was generally the music, rather than lyrics, that got overextended.

The nontraditional location made it more of an event than a concert, but it was never quite as trancendental at Radiohead in Grant Park in 2001. The songs were still fantastic, and the reunion made up for not getting to see the band back in the day, but it rarely sent shivers down my spine.

Some other random thoughts:
  • Heading into the encore, my friend asked what they hadn't done yet. I pointed out the obvious, "Every Breath You Take," but also going through my mind was all the odd songs that never get played on the radio, such as "Be My Girl-Sally."
  • Sting is one of the few men who can get away with hair product and a receding hairline. I shuddered imagining Sting with a comb-over.
  • Since Stewart Copeland brings athleticism to the drums, it makes sense that he favors athletic wear onstage: sweatband, gloves, a shirt from a manufacturer that specializes in moisture-wicking fabrics and, back in the day, track shorts, although he was in long pants last night.
  • The Police are the most famous rock band with the least famous guitarist. I bet my husband was typical, unable to recall Andy Summers' name. Is there any other Rock and Rock Hall of Fame shoo-in where it's easier to remember who plays bass and drums than guitar?
  • It was a toss-up which person sitting near us was the most annoying: the guy who wouldn't stop mauling his girlfriend except to demand high-5's from strangers, the dude yelling "Yeah!" along with "Invisible Sun" as if it were a frat boy-friendly party anthem rather than a song about searching for greater meaning in life or the oaf who clapped along loudly but never on the beat.
  • I almost felt sorry for the suckers who paid to sit atop the buildings near Wrigley Field. The seats face home plate, but the stage was in the outfield.
  • I don't know if my dwindled enthusiasm for huge concerts is related to the fact that I no longer have an in to buy good seats at reasonable face value. Ticket prices in general have skyrocketed, and my ticket connection is gone. I wonder if I'd paid through the nose for excellent seats I would enjoy it more or just have higher expectations that would more easily be shattered.

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