The Police/Elvis Costello: Every little thing they do is magic...
Near the reviewers' seats during the Police concert at Superpages.com Center on Wednesday were several young people dancing giddily throughout the show, including one guy who seemed to have learned all his moves from the 'Don't Stand So Close to Me' video, which he replicated with abandon.
It was a little distracting, but why complain? After all, isn't this supposed to be part of what concerts are all about - losing yourself to the music, letting it possess you a little? And it's hard not to get caught up when Stewart Copeland hits that drumbeat that signals the big tempo change in 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' or Andy Summers launches a screaming guitar-solo blitz during 'When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around' or Sting exhorts you to sing along with his ''yeahs'' and ''ee-yos'' or when the whole band punches into overdrive on 'Can't Stand Losing You'.
Given the receptive crowd, Sting probably could have sung the ingredients on a candy-bar wrapper and had complete audience control, but he and his bandmates weren't about to coast. Seeming relaxed and loose, they took a (mostly) straightforward approach to big hits like 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic' and 'Every Breath You Take' (although 'Roxanne' got a nice stretched-out treatment), saving the change-ups for deeper cuts such as 'Demolition Man' and 'World is Running Down'.
As always, Copeland was a combination of power and finesse, while Summers let loose several machine-gun solos. Sting's voice was, if anything, richer than it was when these songs were in the prime more than 25 years ago. It's a neat trick to take a reunion tour on its second stop through Dallas and not make it feel like a nostalgia act.
Speaking of rich voices, Elvis Costello's was in fine form for his nearly hour-long opening set with the Imposters, which was highlighted by Sting coming out to help Costello sing 'Alison', a surprisingly good meshing of disparate voices.
Costello and his band - the ever-versatile keyboardist Steve Nieve, muscular drummer Pete Thomas and reliable vocalist/bassist Davey Faragher - followed their usual recipe of combining new stuff (unfailingly picking the best cuts from the brand-new 'Momofuku') with Costello war horses ('Alison', 'Watching the Detectives') and the occasional surprise (the 1983 hit 'Every Day I Write the Book'; 'Clubland', the lead track from 1981's 'Trust').
But it must be a little frustrating for Costello, who has headlined North Texas shows many times, to be an opener, even if it does get his songs in front of a larger crowd than he usually plays to. By the end of his set, as he did extended versions of 'Watching the Detectives' and '(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding', you got the feeling that he didn't want to leave. Wonder if he went and jammed somewhere after the show?
(c) The Star-Telegram by Robert Philpot
Police, Elvis Costello and the Imposters help Superpages.com crowd party like it's 1983...
It's always a thrill to see a two-act bill featuring headliner-worthy acts. But it's even better when they share the stage for a few fleeting moments.
Hence the rush of energy early in Wednesday night's Police/Elvis Costello and the Imposters show at Superpages.com Center at Fair Park. Mr. Costello, the opener, was already putting on a gangbusters show when a guy in a Panama hat and a salt-and-pepper beard walked onstage to lend vocal support on 'Alison'.
Lo and behold, it was Sting, who pitched in on choruses and even got to do a solo verse. Some thirty years after Elvis and Sting came out of the English punk scene, their pop aim is still true.
Which isn't to say it sounded the same as it ever did - both sets featured new takes on old classics. That's probably a mental survival mechanism for the Police, who came through Dallas last June but haven't put out a new album in 25 years (and likely never again will). Mr. Costello, by contrast, just released the curiously titled 'Momofuku', from which he played a few songs during his 50-minute set.
The Police found interesting ways to tweak their hits, some of which worked better than others. In toning down and switching up his vocals on 'When the World Is Running Down' and 'Don't Stand So Close to Me', Sting diminished the energy of both songs. (The interpretive jog-dancer in front of me didn't seem to notice. I'd have had what he had, but it's probably illegal).
Other touches fared better, including a deconstructed 'Roxanne' with some intriguing jazz phrasings. And on the frequent occasions when the band located and tore into a groove, with Stewart Copeland banging out the syncopation and Andy Summers coaxing otherworldly sounds from his guitar, it was time to party like it was 1983.
Mr. Costello, his eyebrows frequently raised from behind his signature black-framed glasses, proved a more-than-game opener. Highlights included a dubbed-up version of 'Watching the Detectives', featuring inspired accents and flourishes from stalwart keyboard player Steve Nieve; and the new cut 'Flutter and Wow', fueled by Mr. Costello's call-and-response exhortation of ''Baby, shout out loud.'' The faithful were more than happy to comply.
(c) Dallas Morning News by Chris Vognar