Solid set from Police is sold out...
'Roxanne' was a no-show, but Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers were very much present and accounted for, delivering a solid, polished set at the soldout TD Banknorth Garden last Sunday night as The Police's reunion tour swung back through Boston before chugging into 2008.
A few disgruntled fans filing out of the arena after the band's second encore carped about not hearing Sting's tribute to the lady of the night (memo to the guy who took it upon himself to start singing it on his own: Uh, nice try, dude). But the song's omission could hardly be called a fault; in one sense, it underscored the depth and durability of the band's catalog. There was a lot of great music played well. Roxanne who? Didn't miss her.
The boys must have decided they didn't miss her either, since the song was cut from the roster the band performed during its two-night stand at Fenway Park in July. The TD Banknorth song-set tinkering also saw 'The Bed's Too Big Without You' go missing, but in its place was a swinging 'Hole in My Life' that featured bassist/vocalist Sting singing Percy Mayfield's 'Hit the Road Jack' at the song's closeout.
'Hole in My Life' proved to be a show highlight, and just one of many songs that included crowd participation.
"Are you going to sing tonight?" asked clad-in-black, former school teacher Sting. The answer was a resounding "yes," from the call-and-answer "e-yos" in a jaunty "Walking on the Moon" to the opening verse of a trance-like 'Wrapped Around Your Finger" and a cheery 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', which owed a bit to Shawn Colvin's cover version of the song.
Sting also encouraged the clapping of "40,000 hands" put to good use during a slinky "Voices Inside My Head," and "Don't Stand So Close to Me."
'Roxanne' aside, the appreciative crowd was into it.
The hour-and-45-minute show was a more upbeat affair than the band's first Fenway outing, during which slowed tempos to some of the band's hits occasionally tripped up the set's pacing and had audience members scratching their heads. None of that was in evidence this time around. What was clear was the elastic-fantastic playing ability of Sting, Summers and Copeland as they went on an extended jam here and an extended jam there, only to snap back to the familiar song structures again whenever they wanted. Like the first Fenway show, the fun was also palpable. During 'Wrapped Around Your Finger', Copeland appeared to relish his turns at his gigantic percussion rack and trap kit, like some kind of mad scientist. The percussion rack was also used well during 'Walking in Your Footsteps'. Standout jams from a side-by-side Sting and Summers came during 'Voices Inside My Head', which fused into 'When The World is Running Down (You Make the Best of What's Still Around)', and 'So Lonely'.
Arguably the show's best offering was the race-car crunch of 'Driven to Tears', which saw all three players in the driver's seat and loving it.
Fiction Plane, with Pete Wilhoit on drums, Seton Daunt on guitar and Joe Sumner (Sting's son) on bass and vocals, opened the show with an earnestly delivered set that saw the younger Sumner working on his rock-star moves, performing while standing on top of an amplifier on a couple of numbers. All three accomplished players, the trio emits a denser, heavier rock sound than the opening act (thanks in part to Wilhoit's kick-pedal work on the bass drum) that is picking up airplay on alternative-rock radio stations. To be sure, some tunes tip their hat to The Police (with the reggae-inflected 'Two Sisters' from the band's latest CD 'Left Side of the Brain' as a prime example), but there's Yes in there, and Nirvana, too, especially when it comes to Sumner's lyrics (call him the Prince of Pain, if you will).
Daunt's personal influences include "The Pixies, Bob Dylan, Rage Against the Machine, Pink Floyd and Radiohead," a tidbit he shared while signing autographs and meeting fans along the arena's concourse after Fiction Plane's set, during the show's intermission. With rock band record-store autograph signing events going the way of the eight-track tape, the intermission meet-and-greet appears to be one key way bands sell CDs and actually meet their fans these days. It works.
Fiction Plane's music may be angst-ridden, but in person, Wilhoit, Daunt and Sumner were gracious, funny and patient, signing away and posing with fans for photos snapped by cell phones.
Bandmates are finding the tour to be an enjoyable rollercoaster ride.
"We want everyone to come to see us live," Sumner said.
"It's the only way to see us," Wilhoit agreed.
© Sea Cost Online by Nancy Cicco