Well, thanks to that Duke character this tour has gotten QUITE a bit of play around here, so I'll give it an effort.
First, while I had the opportunity to see this show from many different areas of the venue (2nd deck to the middle of the field to the 10th row) I did miss some portions of the set, which hurt my overall opinion. Ultimately I would have to say that it was a really good show, but unless you're already a fan $250 for a good seat and $90 for a seat a half-mile away is IMO WAY too much to pay.
But to start; amazingly for me, since I traditionally don't like opening bands, BOTH opening groups were good. I believe that Stings son was in the first band playing bass and singing (I have no idea what their name is) and I was surprised that it was fairly entertaining, considering that the huge stadium was almost completely empty at the time. They had a nice pop rock groove that didn't anoy me; I was expecting it to be amateurish, especially on a stadium stage, but they wern't bad.
The Fratelli's were really good, but were a bit too hard rockin' & LOUD for many in the house, as I noticed the medical area on the field ran out of ear plugs TWICE during their set! They were a trio that played with a punkish, hard rocking style, but it never got dull because the songs and groove had interesting changes and it seemed all three guys could play. Their songs and style reminded me just a bit of the Old 97s but HARDER & less country/more punk, and I also heard a little Clash in there & I got a slight X hit ocationally. Since I love both the Old 97s & X this was a good thing for me. I wouldn't go out of my way to see these guys but I will be looking to see them again.
Then, at 9:00 (15 minutes late) the stars of the show hit the stage. The sound on the field, as usual these days for stadium shows, was excellent; clean, clear, powerful and VERY loud. The stage set-up was cool enough, with cool lighting on the sides of the stage and some video screens on the sides and behind the stage, but not all the usual over-the-top stuff you see so often at stadium shows. This is due I believe to the fact that this is a tour that has to fit into arenas as well as stadiums, so it was not too much. The drums were on a small riser with a whole set-up of percussion on a taller riser behind Stewarts set, so the group looked like a GROUP on stage, not all standing a mile away from each other or the drummer a mile above the others, which is often the way a stadium show works. It all looked really good from up close, but from the 3rd deck it may have been a bit flat visually.
I can't list songs played or the order, but really, EVERYONE knows 90% of the songs they played, whether you're a fan or not, because of course this was a greatest hits show. As I said, I missed a couple of portions so maybe they mixed it up, but I'm not a huge fan and yet I knew well every song I heard, except the final song they played, which ROCKED and was the best thing I heard all night (possibly due to the fact that I was in the 10th row center for the encores). I did recognize it as something I'd heard before, but it was not one of their megga-hits. I wish I'd heard more like it, but you can't really expect them to play too many non-hits for a crowd that was FIRED UP and paid top dollar to see their hero's.
As for the band & music itself; I thought that of course Stewart Copeland was great, duh, and was fun to watch on the screens because he is so quick & subtle that it's hard at times to really appreciate what he's doing. He is truly a GREAT drummer who plays with boundless energy, I could watch & listen to him play all night.
I thought that Stings bass playing was really good. He didn't play just basic bass, he was rockin' and jamming really cool, groovy, often heavy lines with some hearty thumps along the way. He is an excellent rock bass player, IMO. And his singing was right on to my ears.
The guitar playing for me has always been a sticking point with the Police, and last night I had most every thought go through my head at one point or another, "this is really interesting; this is pretty basic; this is really WEAK; this is REALLY excellent". I would say that the solos were definitely NOT the highlights of this show; soloing is not Andy Summers strong suit. He does play interesting rhythms and chords, and just when I would think he was lagging he would do something creative or surprising, but IMO I think this is where the band slips, compared to the other two players.
The crowd was really in a festive mood, clearly excited to see the band they loved (I saw many "Dukes" there) and the vibe in the house was really good all night. There were MANY parents with their kids, and one really cool thing I saw was a young kid wearing a Police Day On the Green shirt in the old style of BGP DOG shirts. I asked the father if they were selling those and he said, "yeah, 20 years ago when I bought it the last time the Police played here". For me it's always great to see things passed down from generation to generation.
Of course the field was all standing, and the 1st level of regular stands were mostly standing as well, which isn't always the case in Oakland because it's a REALLY big, round stadium. From my vantage point even people in the 3rd deck were grooving; it's always been a favorite thing of mine to see people at the VERY TOP of a venue dancing at a show, and I saw this last night.
So my final impressions from the next day are that this is a show that would be GREAT in a theater for most anyone (I kept thinking that if this were at the Warfield it would be SLAMMIN') but unless you're up close it's just a greatest hits pop fest that sounds great but doesn't really GO anywhere. One hit song leads to another to another to another, and everyone cheers when they recognize the next hit, but for me it lacked DEPTH; even just a few hours later I'm having a hard time remembering many DETAILS about the show or the music. Sort of like good candy, it was REALLY good while it was happening, but it didn't leave a LASTING impression.
It did NOT suck however, and it was way better than any Sting solo show I've ever seen, so I think if you're a real fan you will really enjoy this show, and if you have a seat up close you'll REALLY enjoy the show even if you're not a big fan. But unless you're a "Duke" don't expect a life-changing event. It's a fun night out with really good music played by a really good band.
Great review but glad I skipped it.
I'll be happy with the bit torrent once it shows up
Excellent review, Lance! Festive, indeed. I had a BLAST!
Interesting that you & I both picked up on guitar problems. Sting's bass is definitely what held it down. How does a '54 Precision (reissue? That wasn't a standard pickup) fill up an entire stadium?!
That was the only outdoor show of the entire tour, so far as I understand it. And wasn't the weather PERFECT?
Tidbits from my other posts:
If I write a review, it'll be a little hard on them for clunking a TON of notes & miscues, and for Sting going "eyoooo oh! eyoooo oh!" during every dang song. But, hell, they're the Police. They are supposed to clunk notes, right? There's really no reason Andy should always play in the right key, right? ;)
I like that they never take themselves seriously, though. I prepped for this concert by watching their videos compilation DVD and the Stuart Copeland documentary. They're a bunch of goofballs. That's why Stuart comes out in his weird 80s outfit (which has been heavily photographed, but which he took off after the first song). They're dorks, but in a fun way.
>>>That was the only outdoor show of the entire tour
What about Bonnaroo?
Nice review. Thanks.
There is a slight chance that I can go to the show on the 23rd. at Dodger's Stadium.
I had nice seats, 16th row!! But ultimately, I'm glad I gave them up...the hype was fun but for me, there wasn't any substance beneath the surface to justify the cost.
152 seeders on Friday evening...should be cooking!
There's something just not right about reserved seating shows in a baseball stadium. I saw a ton of Day On The Green shows in Oakland back in the day. They, of course, were GA shows. I've been to several Stones and Pink Floyd shows since those days at the same venue and it's just not the same when you have to pay through the nose for a decent seat or settle for cheap($50+) 3rd deckers. Oh well, I guess the times have changed.
i was on the field towards the back, great sound and plenty of room
driven to tears, walking on the moon, can't stand losing you were the highlights for me
ez torrent full - max user level
if anybody can burn me a copy I'd appreciate it,
plenty to trade in return
shoot me an E-mail JTP...
thx, email on the way
new source. I haven't been able to listen to either one yet.
thank you Rasta
oakland show sounds great