Due to working solidly since the day I returned from holiday combined with ongoing problematic but improving family life now subject to attending Relate (a helpful assessment so far – yes – your relationship is extremely crap and we can help you) it has been a bit blogscant round here of late. So I am making it all up to you by sharing my jaunt to see The Police at Twickenham Stadium last weekend.
We cycled there which was brilliant – took about 10 minutes. I felt really excited in a rather childish way as the last time I had seen the Police was at The Rainbow, Finsbury Park in 1978. Rather shockingly in hindsight – I was only twelve. Yes, I got into terrible trouble as no one knew I had deceived all for at least a month by saving bus money to eventually buy a coveted ticket in the dress circle which (being a short-arse) I could just about get my chin over to see Sting with no top on and sporting some rather fabulous pale blue bondage trousers. It was very loud and grown up. But that’s another story for another post one day.
We had good tickets. Three blocks back from the front and an uninterrupted view of the stage. I always take my camera to big gigs as I love taking photo’s of people when they are not looking – like these die-hard Police (or possibly just Sting by the look of the leopard off-the-shoulder number) fans.
I did some quick mental arithmetic – sold out – capacity 150,000 x average age of ticket-holder 42 = a staggering combined audience age of 6, 300,000 which is about how old I felt when I realised if I put my glasses on everything suddenly seemed so much clearer on the stage area. Good grief. There was a lot of bald men in aertex sports shirts and casual sugar pink jumper draped over shoulder with accompanying comfy leather deck shoe action going on. Most of these ‘men of a certain age in uniform’ were rather unfairly stopped from whirling their arms and legs around in the aisles by the stewards and told to go back and sit down – which they did far too obediently I noticed. Here’s a picture of Stewart Copeland banging the introductory gong ELP-style:
and here’s a picture of Andy Summers bloody playing for god and like a rather brilliant saggy angel.
Although they all looked like they were at the mercy of a serious stylist – Sting a little bit mutton in skintight black drainpipes with matching lycra t-shirt, Andy Summers in breton t-shirt and expensive looking safari style jacket and Copeland in a Maharishi style sporty breathable top. I have to say they played brilliantly and with good humour. Not a scowl in sight – apart from when I shouted to him who still snores like a bison now he is back in the house ‘messy start!’ far too loudly after Message In A Bottle – the opening number. Well it was a messy start. It was all over the place. Sting came in a beat too late as far as I am concerned. It’s just that I shouted what I thought really loud in the split second before they launched into ‘Hello London’ bit. A split second later I was greeted by massively audible tut’s from Sting’s biggest fan in the multi-coloured leopard spandex behind me. I glugged another swig of stadium red from the nasty plastic bottle I was given in exchange for £4.50 from the bar on Level One half an hour before. Here is a picture of Sting’s blue fingers tripping out a bit of cod reggae of which they relied on quite a lot to get the audience going – lots of crowd participation ‘ee ay ooo’ going on – that sort of thing…
Nevertheless – it got better and better and better apart from the eee ay ooo odyssey’s which were a bit annoying after a while. The sound was great and the fact that it was generated by three people was quite amazing. At one point it sounded like there were two lead guitars and two drummers – it was tight with lots of clever, percussive and seamless time changes. They weren’t shy of pumping out big chugging electric noise either which was the best bit.
More glugs of heinous but strangely drinkable but later headache-inducing stadium red. Of course – nothing beats the first time seeing a band you love. 1978 was much more noisy and rough and overwhelming. This one was loud, accomplished and different. I suppose they have had 29 years of practice. It didn’t feel that they had been that long away.
They all looked so happy at the end – especially Stewart Copeland who was the most smiliest in his techno tee. It was all very civilised – there wasn’t even a crush to get out despite being at full capacity. Three small plastic bottles of stadium red obviously had it’s effect (I blame the excitement too). Here is a photo I took in the honeywagon’s for some reason. Honeywagon is basically another word for nice trailer loo.
Aren’t they lovely and clean for gig toilets? And they had pegs to hang your bag on too.