The Police deliver memorable show at Fenway

A review of The Police at Fenway Park on July 29, 2007

, Editor-in-Chief

The most talked about reunion tour in recent memory (and there has been a lot of them over the past few years) finally made its way to Boston this past weekend. Of course I’m talking about The Police and their two-night stand at Fenway Park, which ending brilliantly on Sunday night.

In the forward passage to Police guitarist Andy Summers’ autobiography, One Train Later: A Memoir, U2 guitarist The Edge wrote, “The Police were not just a great band, they were a real band.” The notion still rings true today, however it can now be read in the present tense. Judging by Sunday night’s show at Fenway, The Police’s return to the limelight can be considered nothing less than triumphant. The trio has historically been heralded for producing a magically unique sound. What makes their current reunion so special is not only the fact that no group has been able to match their previous sound, but the band – individually and as a whole – have evolved to a new level.

The sold out crowd, who had been eagerly anticipating this weekend after a 23-year absence, quickly got into the show with the opening sing-along of “Message In A Bottle.” Followed up by “Synchronicity II” and& “Walking On the Moon,” it quickly became apparent that the band was totally in sync with one another. Sting, who made little stage banter, praised Boston by saying, “It’s safe to say we broke out through Boston,” before reminiscing about shows at the Rat and the Paradise. Perhaps most telling, despite the massive size of the stage, the trio were rarely more than ten feet apart. Smiles, which don’t come often when band is on stage, adorned each face (as much as they could anyways) and as the set flowed, The Police grew tighter on stage.

Sting’s vocals were in fine form and his reggae-inspired bass playing was even better. He certainly is not a front man, which made the shouts for more noise during much to complicated call and answers a bit of a nuisance. However, he and The Police are all about the music and successful as Sting has been as solo artist, Sunday’s show was enough evidence to prove that Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland that perfected the group. At 64-years old, Summers ripped through incredible solos with inspiring fretwork, especially on “Voices Inside My Head”. Copeland was amazing behind his main kit as well as a unique percussion kit. It was when he switched in-between the two kits that he shined brightly, especially on& "Wrapped Around Your Finger," which was slowed down considerably, yet still worked thanks to Copeland’s amazing use of enchanting symbols and thunderous timpanists.

Of course, through their 20-song/near two hour set, The Police made sure to include all their hits from their brief five-album catalog. More interestingly, they brought new life to many of the songs with various improvisations. Some were big, others were subtle, yet most seemed to work. “Driven To Tears” was remarkable while “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” “De Do Do Do De Da Da Da,” and “Can’t Stand Losing You,” all provoked natural sing-alongs.

The band’s monster hit, “Roxanne,” fittingly painted the ballpark red before a tired jam ended the band’s main set. A three-song encore began with “King Of Pain” soared with “So Lonely,” and ended with “Every Breath You Take.” Sure it may have been one of their biggest hits but a ballad is no way to end a show, so The Police returned for a rocking second encore of “Next To You.”

The only problem with the show was the venue. I, like everyone in Boston, find the shows at Fenway Park to be a new fun tradition for the city (kinda like our version of Ireland’s Slane Castle). That being said, it has to be one of the worst places to see a show. The echo that bounces off the opposite side of the field from grandstand seating is rather annoying and takes time to block out. The open air also kills any level of crowd noise, more so than any other stadium. Thankfully, The Police will return to Boston for a show at the TD Banknorth Garden on November 11. Based on the Fenway shows, and assuming the band continues to gel together, that will be a show not to be missed.

Relatively unknown Fiction Plane has reaped the benefits of opening for The Police. Of course, that’s because Sting’s son, Joe Sumner, fronts the band. The similarities between father and son are visible, though the talent level is obviously much lower. The band’s mixed bag set showed some moments of potential.

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