Zenyatta Mondatta

Washington, DC, US
Warner Theater
The Police are not only arresting, they're stealing some critics' hearts...

Last night, the Police filled a packed Warner Theater with a lithe, sensual and utterly danceable brand of rock that is going to propel them to supergroup status in the next few years. This English threesome is a structural throwback to such power rock trios as Cream and the Jimi Hendrix experience, with the benefit of subsequent styles to draw from. The Police fuse the subtler textures of reggae, power pop, punk and traditional rock into seamless rhythms and vital vocals. They exude an the aura of greatness that has already passed the stage of promise.

Sharp as a pitchfork, the Police have three distinct characteristics resolving into a potent collective spontaneity. Sting, who writes most of the material, lays down marvelous, fluid bass lines while delivering clean, outstanding vocals. Guitarist Andy Summers colors the songs with lush, full chords that shimmer even as they shake the rafters. And drummer Stewart Copeland is simply magnificent, combining the force and fury of Elvin Jones and Ginger Baker into a rock-solid bottom.

Throughout the night, the Police extended the catchy and compelling pop brevity of recorded hits such as 'Roxanne', 'Can't Stand Losing You', 'Don't Stand So Close' and 'Walking on the Moon'.

Almost all their varied beats were conducive to dancing with clean, sensitive rhythms that were effectively simple despite building to frequent fever pitches. With their brimming rock bravado and percolated pop songs, the Police are not only arresting, they're stealing some critics' hearts.

(c) The Washington Post by Richard Harrington