The Police were arguably the finest pop-rock band in the world the last time the trio played the area nearly a quarter century ago.
The legendary act was at the height of its considerable powers when it performed at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall in February of 1984, toward the end of the 'Synchronicity' tour. Despite acrimony in the ranks, the Police's set crackled with energy. The band was precise and powerful.
Just the fact that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, who are on their celebrated reunion tour, offered a reasonable facsimile of their glory days Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park should have been enough for the fans who crammed into the spacious baseball park.
The Police kicked off the rousing one-hour, 45-minute set by steamrolling fans with 'Message in a Bottle'. The hits kept on coming. 'Don't Stand So Close to Me', 'Roxanne' and 'Every Breath You Take' satisfied the fans, many of whom dropped $225 per ticket.
However, the most impressive moments were when the Police tinkered with their tracks. The three virtuosos, vocalist-bassist Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland, slowed down 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' and turned it into a sensual, seductive tune. The band jammed out with authority during 'Driven to Tears'.
The Police surprised with a number of deep album cuts, such as 'The Truth Hits Everybody', 'Walking in Your Footsteps' and the most satisfying of the bunch, 'The Bed's Too Big Without You'.
The chill between Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel during their recent reunion tour was not present at the Police show. The members of the band were civil and even playful at points.
It was a pleasure watching a group that certainly left before its time. Copeland, 54, reminded fans that he is one of rock's most inventive, quirky and gifted drummers. Sting, 55, hasn't lost much vocally. If his skills ever diminish, he can be replaced by his son/vocal doppelganger Joe Sumner, who opened the show with his band, Fiction Plane. Sting remains a solid bassist and has about as much energy as he did during his salad days. Perhaps there is something to be said for his love of the tantric lifestyle.
Summers turned in some of the most laudable moments at the tender age of 64. The under-heralded guitarist rendered some nice, taut solos. Summers alternated between restraint and ferocity throughout the set.
But what was most evident was that there has been no other band that has been able to approximate the Police's catchy pop-rock-reggae sound over the years. You can't help but wonder if there is another chapter in the band's book or if the trio will be just content to cash in on the jaunt.
Fans who missed the Police can catch them at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall Nov. 3.
© Buck County Courier Times by Ed Condran