yesterday, i bailed out of work early to head to baltimore. after picking up Bruce and regrouping at Vivian & Justin’s house, we headed up to hershey PA for the Police concert.
the stadium at hershey park isn’t very big, about the size of your typical large high school football field. it’s constructed the same as well – straight-sided bleachers on either side of a open central area, all outdoors. after Vi’s excited perusal of the souvenir offerings (she’s a *big* Sting fanatic), we headed up to the bleachers to find our seats. we were in the middle, halfway up, on the right side of the stage, and as soon as we sat down, it became quite apparent that the big lighting tower completely blocked our view of the stage. “we’re fucked,” i said. Vi had specifically picked tickets that were not in the sections marked as having an obstructed view, so this was a crappy surprise. before we even had time to work up an annoyance over the situation, an usher hopped up the stairs to us. “head down over there,” she pointed, “and look for an attendant named bob. he’ll exchange your seats.” whaaa?
bob turned out to be quite popular, surrounded by a little throng of people handing over their previous tix for some newly-printed (sans ticketmaster logo) ones. he pointed us over towards an usher on the floor to help us find the new seats. nothing this cool ever happens in the real world: we’d been upgraded from section 30 to the aisle side of section d on this map, $230 floor seats for our regular ones!
the opening band was fictionplane, headed by Sting’s son. overall, the band played a little more thrashy, but sounded a whole lot to the police, even including some of the drum flares and reggae bounces. the vocals were uncannily Sting-esque, from the sound to the facial gestures, especially on the high notes – check it out for yourself on their myspace page. one of their songs was apparently all about “fuck you and FUCK YOUR CIGARETTE!!!!”which was hilarious.
even 20 years after the band died, the Police sounded great. Sting’s vocals have of course held up as evidenced by his solo career, but the rumors of renewed tooth-and-nail fighting amongst the guys had me a little worried about how well it would hold together. totally unfounded. it was a good long set, basically a couple of hours’ worth of a greatest hits cd, that sounded all kinds of smooth without being over-rehearsed lip-synch-fakey. easily the highlight of the night was a slow, relaxed ‘wrapped around your finger’, which had Stewart Copeland playing a huge array of far-eastern flavored hanging bells & cymbals and a strange little metallic xylophone composed of small flat silver discs instead of wooden keys, alternating with jogging back over to his drum set. while the sound quality blows on this clip from a few weeks ago in seattle, you get the idea of the awesomeness.