Zenyatta Mondatta

Melbourne, VIC, AU
Festival Hall
Captured by the Police...

Melbourne rock fans have survived the most arresting weekend of the year. Over two nights, some 10,000 fans were ''apprehended'' for three hours of blissful imprisonment.

A forceful group of chaps, calling themselves the Police, are in Australia proving why they're one of the world's top three bands. Who cares if the trio's outdoor concert in Sydney drew a crowd of 25,000? Melbourne was privileged with two Festival Hall shows. Both were total sellouts and both more than rivalled the Police's Harbor City reception, in terms of enthusiasm as well as decibels. The old stadium hasn't seen nights like it for quite a while.

The wooden floor pulsated, the ushers rushed around frantically all night and the hall's chairs faced their severest test as the fans scrambled for a better view. Loudspeaker pleas of ''get back to your seat!'' were ignored and from the moment the house lights blinked off it was hard to tell just who was performing for whom.

Police won the contest... but if they hadn't had the stage lights, a platform and a massive sound system on their side, it might have been a draw. The crowd knew every word, every chant and most of the movements too.

On stage, Stewart Copeland drummed up a storm and Andy Summers' guitar re-created perfectly that unmistakable Police studio sound. But there's little doubt about the target of most of the screaming adulation. Lead singer Gordon ''Sting'' Sumner, had merely to smile to set off a chain-reaction of screaming adulation. He can sing, too and has a fine ability for bass and a soaring, powerful voice. 'So Lonely', 'Roxanne', and 'Message In A Bottle' were highlights of a set remarkable for its fullness of sound from only three instruments. Melbourne's own Models are supporting the national tour - and their fine performance was given an enthusiastic home-town reception.

(c) The Melbourne Sun by Mark Trevorrow