Rent To Not Own

Last night I watched the Stewart Copeland documentary on the Police, Everyone Stares. Now old Stew shot this over the band’s entire history (not just 1978 like the 99x DJ kept saying last week when giving them away) and there’s some interesting stuff. Though I saw neither show it would have been odd if footage had shown up from either their first NY shows (where Atlanta’s legendary the Fans reportedly blew them off the stage) or their first Atlanta show at Rosa’s Cantina (which later became 688.) The whole thing is kind of short (73 minutes) and I’ll reserve final judgment until I’ve watched it with Stewart and Andy’s running commentary. You would think a guy actually IN the band wouldn’t have made two big factual errors. Number one, he shows footage HE SAYS is from July 16, 1981, but the band are in the recording studio working on a Zenyatta Mondatta track that would have been released in 1980. Secondly, footage from the US Festival is shown with a credited date of 1982. US Fest was in 1983.

Quickly, a couple of my Police experiences. First saw them on 12/6/80 at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre on the Zenyatta tour. We had bought tickets that were the last three seats on the far part of the front row. Great sounding, but not very good tix. My friend Mike and his girlfriend moved down to the front center section during the opening band. “Big deal,” I remember saying. “Front row center for R.E.M.” Have always held a bit of a grudge against the REMs in that everywhere else on that tour seemed to get XTC as an opening act and I never got to see them live. Anyway, we traded places with some other folks who wanted their friends to come down and thus ended up on the far left (facing stage) but on the aisle. Still front row, I still couldn’t see Stewart the whole show (they still left the orchestra pit empty at the Fox then meaning angles were not as good up close) but a better experience than where we were supposed to be. When the Police came out for the encore, Sting announced “All I Wanna Be Is..” and I muttered under my breath “Next To You” as the audience, apparently not knowing that one, stayed fairly unresponsive. So Sting again says “All I Wanna Be Is Next ..” and I yelled out “To You” at which point Gordo pointed in my direction. My conversation with Sting.

The next time the Police came through, January of 1982, the hot young GoGos were the opening band for their Omni show. A rumor went around my high school that day that Belinda Carlisle had OD’d. I didn’t believe the rumor but, hey, I’d already seen the GoGos at 688 in August of 1981 before they became the phenomenon.

Anyway, the DVD does remind one of what a fine band the Police were (and how dull Sting’s solo career has been), but you’d be better served to get the DVD with all the promo videos.

Thank you. Drive Thru…

2 thoughts on “Rent To Not Own”

  1. I was at that Police show with REM, and I remember thinking that REM’s entire set was just white noise. I saw them a couple years later, after I’d spent hours listening to their albums, and it all made much more sense.

    Sting’s post-Police career has to be one of the biggest disappointments of ’80s music for me – the Police were such a tight band, with so much energy, and then Sting turned into Michael Bolton. Seems like a classic example of the front guy deluding himself into believing he’s the talent. Belinda Carlisle had the same problem.

  2. Well then I guess I’ll count myself a lucky to have seen XTC open on that tour at Detroit’s Masonic Auditorium. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors – pretty much fact now – of a Police reunion by now.

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