I've waited almost my entire life to see the Police. Now that they're back together, my cup of ticket stubs will finally be full.
Suffice it to say that this is an announcement many have been waiting for. No band, aside from perhaps the Smiths, has inspired more wishing and hoping from its fans for a comeback. After their biggest album to date, 1983's Synchronicity, sold eight million copies and the group finished with its obligations to promote it, the Police promptly called it quits and ended a five-record, seven-year run. This also extinguished the possibility that I would see them live in concert. Or so it seemed.
The rumors of reconciliation and a return to the road came and went, staying long enough only to get my hopes up so high that it felt like the group was breaking up all over again when the gossip proved false. A strong hint that a reunion tour would really happen this time, however, occurred the night before the get-together in West Hollywood, when the Police kicked off the 49th annual Grammy Awards with "Roxanne." A pitch-perfect, incredibly-fit-looking 56-year-old Sting stepped to the microphone and all but confirmed it: "Ladies and gentlemen, we are the Police. And we're back."
It makes sense that the band would choose 2007 to reunite. It was 30 years ago that three platinum-blond punk-rock musicians formed a band and subsequently released "Roxanne" (extolling the "virtues" of a certain Parisian lady of the night), the single that would kick-start their career and solidify their place in a burgeoning music scene. By the time Synchronicity was released, the Police had come to rule that scene. Then it all went away.
Until recently, the group had performed live together only a handful of times since they went their separate ways, including at Sting's 1992 wedding and at the band's 2003 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But judging from the jovial banter the band exhibited at the Whisky in February, it appears that after 30 years, thankfully, the members of the Police have matured. The well-publicized feuds (mostly between Copeland and Sting, and apparently mostly about music, not personal issues) have been set aside - for now, at least. According to front man Sting, "There's something going on with the three of us that is interesting. We're still the same feisty guys. But we're a little more sage, a little more wise, a little more easygoing."
Hopefully they can agree to disagree long enough to finish a tour that kicks off in North America this summer and then moves on to Europe, Mexico, South America, Japan, Australia, New Zealand - in other words, the world. If you've seen 1981's Police: Around the World documentary, you know how it goes when these guys are on the road together. If you haven't seen it, Universal is releasing an updated DVD this year to coincide with all sorts of Police merchandise, which certainly brings about the risk of overexposure. But really, can you have too much Police? In my opinion, nah.
My personal journey with the Police began in grade school. Growing up in the late '70s/early '80s with a brother six years my senior, I was introduced to some of the best music on the planet, including Rush, Tom Petty, and Led Zeppelin.
But the albums - as in the vinyl, grooved plastic records you could actually touch; remember those? - that I played the most on his hi-fi, after sneaking into his "off-limits" room, were usually by the Police. Clutching the cardboard cover, staring at the trio of tousled-locked lads, and listening to the reggae-infused strains of "Can't Stand Losing You," "Does Everyone Stare," "It's Alright for You," "Truth Hits Everybody," and "So Lonely," I was transported into another world. They were my Beatles. My Stones. My British Invasion.
To this day, I still have a soft spot for the perfectly crafted pop song, due in no small part to the Police, and to the group's "Message in a Bottle" in particular. As an aspiring drummer, while others looked up to Rush's Neil Peart or Zeppelin's John Bonham, for me it was always Stewart Copeland.
Today, the importance of the Police in my musical history can be found inside a plastic beer cup that sits on a pedestal of high honor on a shelf at home. Inside the stuffed-to-the-rim cup are the souvenirs of a lifetime of melodious memories. The proof that I was there - ticket stubs. The tattered corners of a 1982 Pat Benatar ticket nuzzle up to the paper reminder of 1991's Pearl Jam/Smashing Pumpkins/Red Hot Chili Peppers triple bill. Though this cup runneth over with moments captured forever on an ink-stamped piece of nostalgia, there is one missing stub that has haunted, even mocked me over the years. The Police. The closest I ever got to seeing them live was vicariously through my aforementioned older brother, who headed to St. Louis in 1983 to catch them on what would be their last tour. And although he did bring me back a sweet sleeveless tee (again, it was 1983), there was still a void of having never seen them myself. Until now.
With the announcement of their upcoming summer tour, the Police will fulfill the wish of a once skinny, peroxide-blond youth who missed his chance to see his favorite band live (I still have the 45s and band buttons). And this is going to be the ideal show, as, according to Sting, the band will just be the three guys on stage. If all goes according to plan, the cup of tickets will welcome a stub to be held above all others: The Police/Dallas, Texas/June 26, 2007/American Airlines Center.