The album Synchronicity by The Police was released in June of 1983. It was huge. The songs "King of Pain", "Wrapped Around Your Finger" and "Every Breath You Take" are all from that album, and it was a huge success.
Christmas of 1983, I got Synchronicity from my parents, along with a cassette / record player combo. I fell in love with that record player and The Police. They had a sound that appealed to a budding music student like me. Interesting lyrics and fascinating musical arrangements had me hooked.
It was my first Police album, and over the course of the next few months, I bought each album (coincidentally in reverse chronological order), and discovered that the further you went back, the more interesting The Police became.
So many of us are familiar with (and tired of) songs like "Roxanne" and "Message in a Bottle". But some of the deeper album cuts are so much better.
When I was fourteen, I wanted to be Sting. No, seriously. I asked my mom once if I might have high cheekbones one day like Sting. She said I might. (I don't, but that's ok, mom. I have a fuller hairline than him.) I can still imitate the exact pose that he had in the Police poster on my wall. (meet me in person, and I'll show you!)
I had T-shirts, buttons, cloth banners and even a school folder featuring The Police. I saw the movies Dune, Brimstone & Treacle and The Bride, simply because Sting was in them. I saw "The Police: Synchronicity" and "Bring on the Night" concert films at the theater. I bought every piece of Police memorabilia that I could afford on my paperboy's wages.
I was kind of a fan.
Just about the very second I became such a huge fan, The Police broke up. The huge success of the Synchronicity album pulled them apart.
Fortunately for us Police fans, Sting soon released his first solo effort, The Dream of the Blue Turtles. Just as I typed those words, I realized that I haven't actually listened to it in a long time. In fact, I don't even think I own it on CD.
My mom drove me to K-Mart to buy the cassette. One of the first things I noticed before even opening it, was that the song "Shadows in the Rain" appeared as the last song. But that's a Police song from the 1980 Zenyatta Mondatta album. That blew my teenage mind!
Sting's first solo album is filled with catchy, jazzy tunes, including "If You Love Somebody" and the rearrangement of "Shadows". I was fine with that, since I knew that Sting loved Jazz. The album is fun and exciting and full of solo Sting potential.
This has been my only visit to Masonic Temple in Detroit to date. It was the first of two shows he performed there. I saw Sting at the Palace later this same year. I ended up seeing him a total of three times, plus the Police reunion tour.
Seeing your favorite artist multiple times can have a downside. You start to see their "tricks". Ever hear Sting sing "Message In a Bottle" or "Roxanne" live? He uses a slightly different arrangement than the album versions, but it's always the same "new and different" way. Every. Single. Time.
But that issue wasn't an issue the first time I saw him. His massive, multi-talented backup band was amazing. The show was full of energy as he went through the Police back catalog and the new solo stuff.The thing I remember most from the show is that the venue discouraged dancing. Every time we stood up to jam out and enjoy the show, they'd shine a flashlight in our face to have us sit down.
It was a nice place to see a show. Had I realized I'd never be back, I'd have paid more attention to interior of the venue.
My love for Sting slowly waned from album to album. I can't even tell you the name of any of his last few releases. He changed his style, which every performer has the right to do, so I ain't mad at him... except for one thing. There was one little misstep that changed my relationship with him forever.
Remember, this guy helped form my musical tastes in my teen years. Those years are when so many people find their favorites that will stick with them for life.
So it made me a little sad, when in 1993 the guy that wrote this:
I still enjoy the occasional new Sting song now and then. I really liked the album "Ten Summoner's Tales", and more recently, "Brand New Day". But I very rarely listen to a Sting tune, and only occasionally find myself revisiting The Police.
Like I said, I ain't mad at him. And I appreciate what The Police did for my teenage self.
Keep checking back through the year for reviews of the other times I saw Sting. Have you seen him? Were you at this show? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!