More than 20 years had passed since the Police played together as a band until last night at the Grammys when the following words were uttered by Sting to kick off the broadcast, “We’re the Police, and we’re back!” What followed was a version of Roxanne (terrible, no, the absolute worst choice of song from the Police catalog for this occasion) that I would expect to hear Sting play as a solo performer. In fact, I have heard Sting play that version of Roxanne and do so reluctantly. He has said many times how much he actually hates to play that song because of how many times he has played it over the years.
I had actually begun to psych myself up for the prospect of getting to see the Police play together, in fact I turned down the opportunity to buy Keith Urban tickets in advance because financially it would have been tough to spring for both the Police and Keith Urban – after last night’s Police performance, I regret not buying the Keith Urban tickets. In a word, the Police were “underwhelming”, but if you want another word, I have one for you, “disappointing”.
I’m no fool, clearly the only reason that the Police would reunite for a landmark anniversary is capitalism. Perhaps I am just fooling myself into thinking that they’ve grown musically and individually enough that their collaboration all these years after all three have done critically acclaimed work as solo artists would be nothing short of stellar. Worse, their performance last evening, in my opinion, doesn’t even reflect the caliber I would have expected at any time during their career as a band in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
I’m torn at this point. When I hear “we’re getting back together” I’d like to think that these three brilliant musicians have checked their egos at the door and matured personally and professionally and are ready to pick up where they left off and capitalize on their growth to create new music. Who know if that will happen or not? What we can be reasonably sure of is that they will unite for a tour and reap the benefits of excessive ticket prices and a stimulation of back catalog sales and reissues. In a nutshell, they’ll capitalize and most likely stop there.
Perhaps I’m being cynical, skeptical, pessimistic, negative, what have you. I just really expected more, maybe I shouldn’t have, but I did. What started out as hopes of three terrific musicians who’ve made great music both together and alone recapturing a unique energy and feeding from that into a revitalized modern day version of The Police has now become three guys who don’t need our money taking it anyway for something we’ve already paid for. My greatest hope now is that I am wrong.