Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out

While recently on vacation in lovely Maui, I picked up the new Andy Summers' memoir, "One Train Later". It got a nice write-up in Entertainment Weekly (compared favorably over U2's new coffee-table book, U2 X U2 - not to mention more travel-friendly). And being on vacation, I splurged and picked it up at the Kahului Borders. (Despite the fact that I already had 3 books that I hadn't touched on the 9 hour plane ride over from Dallas!) The Police are one of those music acts that I come back to every blue moon and rediscover. They were my first concert in 1983 back in the brand-spanking-new Reunion Arena.

We got the tickets for the 2nd and final night's show from our 8th grade pal, Jimmy Farrell. He had extras and they were on the floor! But they were $15 tickets. Wow. That's cost a few lawn mowings. UB40 opened up the show for them. Sting had the flu. Stewart played the drums really fast. They tore through their set.

I'm 3/4 of the way through the book. Andy just got to the early days of the Police (by page 155 or so). Surprisingly, he had a long music career before the advent of punk music. He played with the Animals. He pal'd around with Eric Clapton. He makes it very clear how tough a musician's life can be. I'm going to have to dig up my old Police cds and listen to them all over again. It's always nice to hear them for a fresh listen after a few more years life experience. They are still very fresh sounding. There's an exuberance there throughout the albums that reminds me of the EE OOO EEE YAY, EEE YAY OOOH chants that kept me up past my bedtime back that night in '83.

I remember driving around Plano in Leo's Suzuki Samurai listening to Regatta de Blanc on the tape deck. Was Leo at the '83 show too? Can't remember. Leo?

The Police were huge back then. Hard to compare to today's standards of course. This was before the wide acceptance of the compact disc - at the beginning of MTV - way before the internet, YouTube and MP3s. I recall a junior high talent show where some classmates of ours put together their own power trio - played spot-on Police covers - a triple shot that had the hall jumpin' - in spite of their amps being plugged into the school's crappy PA system. It was Dave Barton on drums, Kevin McKinney on guitar and - who was on bass? Anyone? Regardless - it was exhilarating to see our buddies rock like that. But at the same time, it was devastating to see them up there instead of us. We had to stick to air guitar and clock radio shower vocals.