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Get Out More..................................Gig Review

THE POLICE (NIA, Wednesday 5 September)


The Police

Back together again after more than two decades and still able to charge silly prices for their gigs. The Stirrer's resident grouch Laurence Inman didn't shell out of course but still managed to be there. So were The Police any cop?

There are probably only half-a-dozen bands or individuals I could be persuaded to leave my room for and trek down to the NIA to see on a pleasant Tuesday evening in September. The Police are not one of them, especially when the price of a goodish seat is 85, a sum of money which would make me blanch if I had to pay it for a car.

Yet there I was, last Tuesday night.

But hold your horses, pardners.

Of course I didn't pay myself! My elder son had got hold of some freebies, and since we don't see him that often, because he insists in living in some place called Yorkshire, I took my younger son and daughter down there for a night out.

We also had that pleasure which is particular to members of 'second' families: meeting for the first time as an adult the offspring of the other 'second' family (keep up!) my older boy's lovely half-sister. Right, is all that clear? On to business.

It's no good going to the gigs I usually attend and expecting to learn anything about what 'the young people are into these days.' As we edged through the crowd at the end of the evening I heard snatches of different conversations in which comparisons were made with concerts by other artists: Queen, Genesis, Hawkwind.

The Police fit that company I guess, if only because they haven't been seen together since the miners' strike was in full swing. Which is good for me, because it means their set isn't littered with songs I don't know from the increasingly disappointing sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth albums. Think Elton.

I've never bought a Police album. I'll happily listen to the stuff if it comes my way, but that's really as far as it goes. I find it all a bit samey, a bit melodically unadventurous. So I was a bit like a man at a church service which is kind of like what he's used to but isn't the real thing.

And that's another thing. I don't go to gigs to worship. I go to listen impassively, to consider, to compare and absorb. I don't want to spend two hours getting sweaty, waving my hands and clapping because Sting tells me to, and standing - not when I could have had to pay 85 English pounds for a seat.

Having said all that, I had a great time.

The show was brilliantly constructed, tight, non-stop without being frenetic, loud without being oppressive and definitely not a nostalgia-fest for podgy fifty-somethings.

There's certainly nothing podgy about Sting, and he's nearly a sixty-something. Andy Summers is sixty-five later this year, and although I would draw the line at calling him a 'guitar-legend' he kept a taut line through every number. And as for Stewart Copeland! He was superb. I could have watched him all night.

I left the NIA perfectly satisfied. Not quite as happy as on Sunday, when I watched that Russian trillionaire slouch out of Villa Park. And probably only a touch happier than if I'd had to pay for the tickets myself.

Which is praise enough for a fifty-seven-year-old Brummie who's never been known to buy a nail.

Any other Stirrer readers see The Police? Willing to own up? Join the discussion on the Music and Arts section of our Message Board.

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