Reggatta de Blanc

Leeds, GB
Queens Hallwith Wazmo Nariz
Triumph as Police pound the beat...

The Police, Britain's number one band of the year, kicked off a mammoth UK tour at the Queens Hall, Leeds last night, and 5,000 fans copped for a night of magic. In the last year the Police have shot to international pop stardom with multi-million record sales sell-out concerts throughout the world and have dominated the Top 20. Last night they added another triumph to their considerable list. They took on the Queens Hall acoustics... and won.

Not that the ecstatic fans could have cared if they hadn't. For them Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland could do no wrong. Police's distinctive sparse, echoey, almost reggae-like style was given added boost by the echo-chamber acoustics with Summer's casually dropped guitar notes given extra clarity.

The hits fell like rain - there have been so many that the current number one 'Walking on The Moon' was the fifth number they played. Pride of place at the end of the stunning set was saved for the songs that put Police firmly on the superstar beat. 'Roxanne', 'Message In A Bottle' and a rousing, extended 'I Can't Stand Losing' with that magnificent ''Dy-Oh'' bit in the middle. Never has the Queens Hall rung to so many voices raised in song.

Frontman Sting may be riding high in the movie-star stakes but he's more at home in front of a mike than the camera. His charismatic personality, strong elastic voice and brilliantly-conceived songs are what makes Police tick. But it's Summer's guitar work and Copeland's amazingly complex drumming that prove the driving powerhouse behind the band's stage set.

The pace sagged a little towards the middle with an overlong version of 'The Bed's Too Big Without You' - but the lapse was temporary and the pace soon quickened to get the fans leaping about. The Police have just returned from a triumphant tour of America and launched straight into an exhaustive British tour. But they seemed as fresh as ever and more important, as enthusiastic. Just as well, the fans wouldn't let them go... and brought them back for three encores. As a first-night-of-tour concert it was a triumph.

(c) The Yorkshire Post by Howard Corry