The Police At Wrigley Field
Last Friday I saw the Police concert at Wrigley Field in Chicago. I have been a Police fan for as long as I can remember and know every song on every album pretty much by heart.
The Police played on Thursday and Friday night at Wrigley Field. It is nice that they came on a weekend - I saw Tool (see below) on a Wednesday which took a lot of the fun out of the show.
Greg Kot, the reviewer for the Chicago Tribune, had a review titled "Every Little Thing They Do is Not Magic". The review basically slagged the Police for changing the tempo and format of some of their songs and for a few other things that bugged Mr. Kot.
I have a special beef with Mr. Kot because of his obsessive love of Bob Dylan and obscure bands. Like my post on deconstruction, the reviewer creates his own world of "faux" complexity which attempts to make the simple complex and out of reach of the average reader or listener, who isn't in a position to "judge" the value of the music like Mr. Kot.
In fact, the lyrics for the Police are far more interesting than they are typically given credit for. "Wrapped Around Your Finger" name checks Mephistopheles which is not your average teenage love song. "Message In a Bottle" delivers a universal message about hope and longing and loneliness without being cloying. Other than lyrics, Bob Dylan, Mr. Kot's idol, offers virtually nothing unless you like dirge-like guitar and 3 tone vocals.
But the Police offer even more than lyrics... their music is very sophisticated. Their drummer, Copeland, is instantly recognizable for his tone and tempo. Andy Summers goes all the way back to the first "Clapton is God" phase in London where they supposedly shared guitars, and really is there anyone not familiar with Sting's vocal stylings.
While listening to this I realized that "When the World Is Running Down" and "Driven To Tears", back to back, are my two favorite sequenced songs. I literally could listen to these songs hundreds of times and not get bored.
I thought the show was great - they were on tempo, motivated, and sounded great. Greg Kot doesn't have a "secret" view into reality that is also right in front of me... I played an instrument and have deep knowledge of the Police and far as I am concerned he is totally off base.
One strange thing is that I am like Pavlov's dog at Wrigley Field. It was extremely odd to go to Wrigley and not see a baseball field, to walk out on the field, no less (it was covered by planking). They didn't seem to serve food and had beer vendors and a "maze" of porta-johns set up in front of the bleachers. I couldn't get it through my head that I was at Wrigley for a concert and not to see a baseball game. The crowd was full of 40 something women dressed up in their finest from Naperville. Good for them, everyone was having fun. I'd say that the crowd was significantly less drunken than a typical baseball game.
Tool at the Sears Centre
The Sears Centre (sorry for the English spelling) is far out I-90. This is a "hockey rink" type arena that hosts various minor league teams.
There was an immense line on the Wednesday night for the show. Traffic was a mess, similar to the messes at the Bears' tailgate, although significantly less drunken. We had to park in a far lot and get on a school bus with the famous "no standee" sign.
The crowd, despite many tattoos and piercings, was exceedingly polite. The ages ranged from young to old, mostly in black T shirts and jeans. Any time that you have a show on Wednesday, it is less crazy than usual.
Tool had an amazing light show. They had movies that went along with the songs that reminded my friend of "Eraserhead" - medical and drawing type images. Later in the show they had a great effect where water seemed to pour through the screens and onto the stage. I have heard that Tool has the best light show in the business and I believe it.
Before I went I looked at a Tool fan sight and checked out the set list from prior nights. They had a lot of the favorites but also a lot of the longer, slow building songs from their newest albums. It made it easy to build a mix CD to listen to on the way to the show.
I had a great time but next time it would be far better if Tool came on a weekend night and didn't play in a hockey arena with terrible sound. If you get a chance to check out Tool in a smaller arena I'd highly recommend it.