Ghost In The Machine

East Rutherford, NJ, US
Brendan Byrne Arenawith Black Uhuru
The Police at Byrne Meadowlands Arena...

Black Uhuru, the heavy duty Rasta trio, has become the hottest act in reggae. At first, a good portion of the Police's white audience didn't quite know how to take the dreads onstage belting out their provocative riddims. Fortified by the indominitable Sly Dunbar on drums, Robbie Shakespeare on bass, and the classy rhythm guitar of Mikey Chung, Black Uhuru churned out a collection of some fierce roots rockers. Unfortunately, the crowd's perplexity kept them apart from the action.

Michael Rose, the lead singer, eventually made some headway. By the set's end, Black Uhuru had made its impression. Hopefully, it will last since Uhuru is well-deserving of the recognition.

It's a blunt, rather striking statement, but the Police are the most important band in rock today. The reason is quite simple: no other unit has managed to infuse such significant and exciting new directions into its music without hindering the commercial value of the end product.

Incredibly enough, the Police have greatly expanded sales by stretching out. All those misguided acts that can't decide whether to tone down the experimentation and sell records, or step it up and kiss real commercial success good-bye should study the phenomenon more closely.

It was no surprise that at the Byrne Meadowlands Arena, the Police were, in a word, outstanding. Playing in perhaps America's best sounding Arena, the band (with help from a New Jersey-based horn section) filled the vastness with hard-driving yet delicately balanced reggae-inspired rhythms and a pop/rock richness that was virtually flawless.

Led by the charismatic Sting who certainly knows how to use his good looks and sexy demeanor to captivate some 20,000 screaming fans, the group practically skated through the ninety minute set. 'Message In A Bottle', 'Roxanne', 'Every Little Things She Does Is Magic', and 'Spirits In The Material World' were the tunes that generated the most crowd response. But from a strictly musical standpoint, the real highlights of the evening were 'Invisible Sun' with its low-key but highly potent melody and the rollicking, good-time rocker, 'One World (Not Three)'.

(c) Relix by Robert Santelli