COURTESY ASSOCIATED PRESS AND KEVIN MAZUR
Stewart Copeland, left, Sting and Andy Summers reunited in May 2007, and The Police are finally playing Hawaii again.
Older & wiser
Volatile chemistry created the Police, and tore the band apart -- but thanks to Sting, the band returns to Blaisdell
It's Sting's world and we just live in it. So you can thank him for getting the Police back together again.
In the fall of 2006, after an extensive period of time away from his formerly combative band mates, Sting reportedly surprised himself with the idea of taking a break from his solo career to go on tour again with Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland.
With Fiction Plane
In concert: 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Place: Blaisdell Arena
Tickets: $75, $95 and $225 Sunday only (Saturday concert sold out)
Call: (877) 750-4400 or visit ticketmaster.com
Hawaii's Police Record
It been just shy of 23 years since the Police last played in Hawaii, but we've shared some momentous concerts with them over their frantic history:
» Aug. 2, 1980: At the University of Hawaii Campus Center Ballroom, two months before the band recorded the "Zenyatta Mondatta" album. "Walking on the Moon," "Truth Hits Everybody," "The Bed's Too Big Without You," "Roxanne" and "Can't Stand Losing You" were performed with youthful and immediate energy, along with "Message In a Bottle," which became One of the Best Singles of All Time. "Sending out an S-O-S ..."
» Feb. 25, 1984: At Aloha Stadium, the last U.S. date of the worldwide "Synchronicity" tour. The biggest band in the world was winding down. Added to their repertoire were "Wrapped Around Your Finger," "King of Pain," "Invisible Sun," "Spirits in the Material World" and another One of the Best Singles of All Time, "Every Breath You Take" -- a lovely melody enveloping obsessive, controlling, even stalker-like lyrics. Pop culture subversion at its best.
A lot -- and I mean, A LOT -- of money could be made, and such has been the case. The Police Reunion Tour that started in May 2007 has grossed more than $212 million, tops for concert tours last year and well ahead of No. 2, the reformed Genesis, with Justin Timberlake in third place.
We get the band twice over at Blaisdell Arena this weekend.
But before any of that could happen, there had to be a rapprochement among the police men. That came in the form of a couple of memoirs and a film. Sting's "Broken Music" and Summers' "One Train Later" showed both men to be literate documenters of their lives. With time comes perspective, and nary an ill word was written in either book, just fond memory.
Copeland, on the other hand, reached into his extensive archives of Super 8 film shot while the Police were touring, and came up with "Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out." Despite the occasional scene of good-natured rough-housing, nothing was shown from the last months of the band's existence when things got a bit, shall we say, dicey.
The Police became The Next Big Thing in the winter of 1978, based on their constant touring and hit singles "Roxanne" and "Can't Stand Losing You" -- lyrics about underage prostitution and suicide wrapped in catchy reggae-pop-punk.
"We landed on a groove that lights everybody up," narrates Copeland in his film -- an understatement.
They became such superstars that, "we're not hustling anymore, we're floating above," Copeland adds.
But with stardom came an inevitable change in the group dynamic, especially as Sting gained rising celebrity apart from the band.
COURTESY ASSOCIATED PRESS AND KEVIN MAZUR
The men take the stage in Japan earlier this month.
Things took a turn for the worse in '81. All of the guys' marriages were rocky, and their road-tested bond was fraying due to ego-clashes between Sting and Copeland. The friction continued through the '82 recording sessions for what would be their last studio album.
"When we were making 'Synchronicity', there were terrible, terrible fights," Sting said in Mojo magazine last August.
The death knell came in 1984, after the "Synchronicity" tour. Attempts to make another album yielded only one salvageable song -- a reworked "Don't Stand ..." for a hits compilation.
All three by then had released their own solo recording projects.
Although the Police were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, they didn't perform, and wouldn't again in public until last year's Grammy Awards.
By then, hatchets had been buried, and the guys had discovered in a month's worth of pre-Grammy rehearsals at Sting's Italian palazzo that they still had it.
"Those evenings were great," Copeland said in the Mojo article. "After 30 years, I hardly know Sting, really. He's a sphinx. But to see him with Andy, the juices flowing, this torrent of visceral musicality, it's inspiring to hear that coming out of Sting, undisciplined, unthinking ..."
"It's true we had very little in common in the beginning," Sting said. "What we share now is the band history. But we're not that close, though I do love 'em. I love them as brothers."
"Sting's no virtuoso, but I go off into some weird place and he gets it, we both really feel it," said Summers. "Aah, we should have kept doing this. Something happens. It's undeniable."
Sting is now 56, Copeland 55 and Summers the eldest at 65. All are married with children -- one of Sting's sons, Joe, opens for his dad as part of the band Fiction Plane.
It'll just be the guys trotting out the hits in front of a three-panel video display. But while Sting has stayed in the public eye all these years, it'll be good to see him playing with Summers and Copeland again. (And it's not like the two other guys have been sitting on their hands: Summers has done solo and collaborative albums with other guitarists, and Copeland has made a career as a TV and movie composer.)
So when they finally hit the stage this weekend, it should be a solid reminder of why the sound of the Police in concert transcend the mere boundaries of "classic rock."
Here's what the Police have been playing on the reunion tour (in alphabetical order):
"Can't Stand Losing You"
"De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da"
"Don't Stand So Close to Me"
"Driven to Tears"
"Every Breath You Take"
"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
"Hole In My Life"
"King of Pain"
"Message In a Bottle"
"Next to You"
"Regatta de Blanc"
"Voices Inside My Head"
"Walking In Your Footsteps"
"Walking on the Moon"
"When the World Is Running Down"
"Wrapped Around Your Finger"