I can say without any hesitation that The Police held the distinct honor of being my favorite rock group when I was a kid. A poster of Sting, Andy and Stewart was tacked on my bedroom wall throughout most of the 80s. I bought myself a bass guitar at Carroll Music on Bird Road simply to learn the bass line from Roxanne, one of the greatest songs about a street-walker ever composed. Then MTV enabled audio and visual to come together in the form of music videos and by 1983, The Police’s Every Breath You Take, King of Pain, and Synchronicity II became must-see TV.
The 80s rocked.
My introduction to The Police was GHOST IN THE MACHINE (1981) and specifically the edgy rock-reggae Spirits in the Material World. Two years later, they released SYNCHRONICITY (1983) which cemented them as kings of my rock spectrum and a place on my bedroom wall of fame. And then I got my hands on OUTLANDOS D’AMOUR (1978), the band’s debut album which featured them in their most primitive ska-punkishness; it remains in the rotation on the home vinyl playlist.
The Police had a short life together: about six years (1977-83). In that time, they released 5 albums, each of them loaded with memorable songs. They could have ruled the rock world for years but following SYNCHRONICITY, egos collided and the band split, leaving millions of fans wondering, what now?
Sting went on to a successful solo career in the 1990s but regretful film-acting ventures (Dune, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen). Guitarist Andy Summers stayed active in the music scene but maintained a low profile. His work gravitated more towards jazz. Drummer Stewart Copeland shifted to composing scores and soundtracks for dozens of films and TV shows. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for writing the score for the Francis Ford Coppola film, Rumblefish.
Then in 2007, following a surprise reunion performance at the Grammys, Sting agreed to reunite with his former bandmates for a worldwide reunion tour. And Miami was fortunate to host the trio on July 10, 2007 at the most accommodating open-air venue in South Florida – Dolphin Stadium. My wife (about 4 months pregnant at the time with our second child) and I stood and swayed and sang all night on the center floor about 20 rows from the stage. The band was in sync throughout the show and they displayed genuine affection and enjoyment playing together on tour since 1984!
Damn long time to wait but hell,… when the world is running down, you make the best of what’s still around.
Here is their amazing setlist from that July evening in Miami:
1. Message in a Bottle
2. Synchronicity II
3. Walking on the Moon
4. Voices Inside My Head
5. When the World Is Running Down
6. Don’t Stand So Close to Me
7. Driven to Tears
8. Truth Hits Everybody
9. The Bed’s Too Big Without You
10. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic
11. Wrapped Around Your Finger
12. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
13. Invisible Sun
14. Walking in Your Footsteps
15. Can’t Stand Losing You
16. Reggatta de Blanc
18. King of Pain
19. So Lonely
20. Every Breath You Take
21. Next to You