Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Long, Hot Summers: Fuck! The Police!

Yes, welcome to New Year's Eve and another edition of EN Brazenly Attempts to Game SEO with an Unnecessarily Provocative Title. Today we are gathered to celebrate not the de-evolution of the US into an ultra-authoritarian, hyper-militarized Banana Republic Blue Gulag where cops feel entitled to slaughter anyone (especially those of color) who doesn't submit with utmost deference to their will... but something a lot more joyous and smile-worthy than that old mess. That's right, today is the 72nd birthday of guitar maestro and Police-man Andy Summers.
And what better way to mark the occasion than with a performance of that storied band at the very height of their prowess and appeal, in front of 60,000 screaming devotees at none other than The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum? I've spent a few days and nights in that old concrete edifice myself in the last 12 years here in the East Bay, but not for concerts. Unless Moneyball is music to your ears, and not just some elaborate ruse for the Athletics' ownership to be allowed to cast their mendacious, profiteering corporate welfare agenda as some sort of unprecedented and emulable program of innovation. And don't even get me started on the Oakland Raiders!! Oh well, don't think of it as sports... think of it as a way for sociopathic billionaires to manipulate the regional pride and sense of identification in people for their own greedy and self-enriching ends.
But meanwhile, back at Andy Summers' birthday... this one is part of Bill Graham's legendary "Day On the Green" concert series, staged as they were all throughout the Bay Area back in the halcyon days of 1970s/1980s Northern California. According to the ticket this was quite the Eighties extravaganza, with The Fixx, Thompson Twins, Madness and Oingo Boingo rounding out the bill.
One of the more understated-yet-immediately-recognizable guitar players around, Andy Summers was a part of music long before he joined up with Sting and Stewart Copeland and conquered the world. A fixture of Kevin Ayers' 1970s bands, he came up in the seaside west English town of Bournemouth in the 1960s alongside King Crimson mastermind Robert Fripp, with whom he also made two seminal, unforgettably awesome LPs in the early part of the aforementioned '80s.
This particular set is fevered and high-energy, featuring The Coppers touring their chart-topping Synchronicity opus in adoring stadia the planet over. In the video Sting thinks he's in San Francisco but at least he gets it's called the Bay Area. He mentions at one point that the last time The Police played the Bay, it was in front of 50 people in the UC Davis Student Union. This DVD is from a pro-shot master VHS tape, apparently created in real time and fed to the in-venue video boards so the people up in section 315 could see WTF was going on.
I can't tell if there are also big screens by the sides of the stage, but if they were there they likely were showing this feed, plus it likely went to the Diamond Vision scoreboards in the stadium (only this winter to be upgraded!!! Can you believe that? Don't get me started LOL) as well as the indoor West Side Club (that's the big bar/restaurant in the Coliseum, still almost entirely the same as it was in 1983 and even 1973) and the luxury suites that overlook the field on which this Police concert (and many, many other extremely classic ones) took place.
The Police
A Day On the Green
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Oakland, CA

 01 Voices Inside My Head (intro tape, cuts in)
02 Synchronicity I
03 Synchronicity II
04 Walking In Your Footsteps
05 Message In a Bottle
06 Walking On the Moon
07 O My God
08 De Do Do Do De Da Da Da
09 Wrapped Around Your Finger
10 Tea In the Sahara
11 Spirits In the Material World
12 Hole In My Life/Hit the Road Jack
13 One World
14 King of Pain
15 Don't Stand So Close to Me
16 Murder By Numbers
17 Every Breath You Take/Roxanne
18 Can't Stand Losing You/Jamaica Farewell

Total time: 1:35:33

Sting - lead vocals, bass
Andy Summers - guitar, vocals
Stewart Copeland - drums, vocals, percussion
Talented Background Singers Sting is too wrapped up in his own colossal ego to mention by name, but whom my research indicates were Tessa Niles, Ray Schell, Sandy Owens and the incomparable Dolette McDonald - backing vocals

NTSC DVD from what looks like a master VHS tape, timecode at bottom
So there you have it, another year by the boards, huh? 2014 was an especially wild and memorable year, and I wish any and everyone reading this the safest possible celebration this evening and the most prosperous and ecstatic 2015 they can imagine. I'll be back in the New Year with more installments of sonic illumination, trust me on that. And oh yes, of course the warmest possible birthday wishes to Andy Summers, a good cop born this day in 1942!--J.

1 comment:

  1. I would love to see this Police concert movie, but before I kindly ask for a re-up, please let me congratulate you on the best description of modern day professional team sports I have read in a long time: "a way for sociopathic billionaires to manipulate the regional pride and sense of identification in people for their own greedy and self-enriching ends" - touché! - Chrisz