Detroit, MI, US
Joe Louis Arenawith Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Police provide an intense rock show...

Sting of the rock group Police knew he'd have to explain the postponement of Wednesday's concert - blamed on his sore throat - sooner or later, so he chose sooner. Just before the band tore into There's a Hole in My Life at Joe Louis Arena Thursday night, the bassist, singer and prettiest face in the trio explained that he attended his first baseball game Tuesday night at Tiger Stadium.

''I shouted my f------ head off for your team,'' he said to a thunderous ovation. ''It was nothing. Anytime.''

If that type of humor seems uncharacteristic for Sting or mates Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland, then you don't know the Police. Their recorded work, with its musical intricacies and brooding (though witty) lyrics, may indicate a serious bunch, but they're not quite that way in concert. When rock's latest gods - they have the No. 1 album (Synchronicity) and single (Every Breath You Take) in the country - play the world's leading arenas, it's an unpretentious, intense rock'n roll show that's pleasing to the terminal hipsters as well as the Journey-loving teenagers.

Take the highlight of the evening, one of the finest live videocasts to grace a rock stage. It wasn't touted like inferior counterparts for Journey and Simon and Garfunkel. And though the light show was arresting, there was little pre-show boasting about it.

So it's not unusual for this humble trio to bounce around like the Three Stooges or flash funny faces at each other. On Thursday, a three-minute mid-show rest was even referred to as a tea and biscuits break. But the music never suffered. Stripped of its studio polish, the Police - with the help of three backup singer-dancers - delivered its songs with raw urgency. Sting's bass and Copeland's snare-happy drumming carried the repertoire, while Summers alternated between blankets of synthesized guitar and crunching power chords.

The show was rich with hits, of course. 'Message In A Bottle', 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', 'Don't Stand So Close to Me', 'Invisible Sun' and the rest often sounded like different songs, while the numbers from the band's first album, 'Outlandos d'Amour', - 'Roxanne', 'Next to You', 'So Lonely' and 'I Can't Stand Losing You' - sounded the most natural. Also strong were the wealth of tunes from 'Synchronicity'. Eight were played, all sounding more upbeat than the somber tone of the album.

The evening's only drawback had nothing to do with the band. The crowd uniformly misbehaved as fans crowded the aisles and jumped between seats they didn't have tickets for. One fight in the Lower Bowl after the show injured a few innocent bystanders.

Opening act Joan Jett was the mediocre portion of the evening. Her 45-minute, 12-song set was also high on energy but short on the refreshing talent that makes the Police such a formidable live or studio attraction.

(c) The Detroit Free Press by Gary Graff