Monday, February 12, 2007

The Police Reuinte at Grammy's

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved my buddy JD's response - so I am posting it here (I don't think he'd mind):
I say this about that.

I completely agree that Roxanne was a bad choice of first song back, and that the Sting version they did (I recognized it too) was ill-advised.

That said, I was impressed with the energy and enthusiasm they threw into it. They seemed genuinely happy to be up there together, and I'm hoping that attitude carries over into the tour. I hear you about ticket prices, but it wouldn't be totally unlike Sting to try to do the old, "many nights with ticket prices bearable, so everybody wins" thing. That's been Bruce's MO forever. I would be very disappointed if they took the Madonna/Stones route of $500 VIP seats, $350 in the reds, $250 in the greens, but Very Special Discounted Seats in the Men's Room for ONLY $100.

I'm putting some faith in Sting's rep, not only for doing the right thing on tickets, but also on the musical side. As you point out, these are three talented, creative guys, and my bet is they will find a way to shake up at least some of the songs to differentiate from the Greatest Hits versions. (Of course, the other side of the argument is that people are paying to hear songs EXACTLY like they are on the album, so you have to throw them a bone too.)

In short, I found last night's performance, while well short of optimal, actually got me fired up to see them when they come around. Keep in mind that the Police is one of the only big names I never got to see, so I'll be doing it. Also, no offense, but I'd rather see the Police read the New York Times silently to themselves than sit through a Keith Urban show. That guy is way too whiny for someone who looks like he does and goes home to the wife he has. Lighten up, Francis.

I guess the press conference is going on now. I'll be watching....(get it?).

Seacrest out.