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Wednesday was night of The Police concert in Oakland (If you read this blog, you already know). J and I met up with our buddy John (C-Lo’s hubby) and got settled into our seats (after getting stuck in a huge traffic jam on the way to the concert). The weather here in Walnut Creek was pretty blazing (101 degrees yesterday) so Oakland was quite pleasant (about 78 degrees).
We were only sitting for about a half hour when the lights went out and the band took the stage and launched into a blistering version of “Message in a Bottle.” What I loved about the concert was that it was just the three of them. They didn’t have any background singers, or extra players to add a few layers of heft to the live performance. Nope. It was just Sting, Andy and Stewart for 2 hours! There were a few pre-recorded background vocal tracks that were played during some of the songs, but I think the vocals were Sting’s, so I guess that’s okay. 🙂 Also, there were a couple of pre-recorded instruments that covered a few transitions during songs, but overall it was just the three of them playing.
After the concert, the three of us were comparing notes about the show, and we were all in agreement that while the concert was very good, it wasn’t great. It didn’t matter what we thought, however, because the thousands of people in attendance were singing, dancing, and having a great time.
I don’t want to be all boo hoo about the show, because we did have our favorites from the set list. What follows are (mostly) live performances of the songs we thought were the powerhouses. These recordings aren’t from the recent tour. Rather they are combination of performances from 1980, 1981 and 1983. “King of Pain” is the studio version, but all the rest are live recordings.
[Update as of 2:30pm on 6/15/07: After reading a review of the concert in the Contra Costa Times (Click HERE to enjoy the pummeling The Police got), I emailed the music critic to see if he wanted to be on the morning show on KKDV. He called back too late to be on today, so I pre-recorded two segments with Don that will air on Monday. There’s about 5 seconds of silence at the 2:20 mark. That’s there so we can play back the interview in two segments. Just let it play and you’ll hear the rest. 🙂 (Listen HERE) ]
“Message in a Bottle” (Listen HERE) I thought this was the perfect show opener! The crowd was so energized when the opening riff of the song started up. And this one was J’s favorite!
“Synchronicity II” (Listen HERE) At first, I wasn’t too jazzed about this choice, but man, Sting’s voice was in top shape for this song. He just belted it and Stewart and Andy where right there matching the intensity.
“Walking in Your Footsteps” (Listen HERE) I’ve always loved this song, but they reworked it for a three piece band and the result was nothing short of amazing. Stewart was able to keep the African rhythms going while punctuating the main drum beats with an array of percussion. The band then composed a new section in 4/4 time for the chorus that featured Andy’s guitar work. Overall, this was my favorite song in the set.
“King of Pain” (Listen HERE) I have a live version of this song from the Synchronicity live CD, but I don’t think it’s that great. However, the version they played on Wednesday was simply brilliant.
“So Lonely” (Listen HERE) This one was John’s fav, and I can see why. The band alternates between playing powerfully and “breaking it down” in a cool section before the final build up.
“Roxanne” (Listen HERE) You didn’t think the band would do a half-ass job on this one did you?
And as a final treat, I have some Police B-sides I thought I’d throw in.