The Police - Seattle, WA - Key Arena - 6/7/07
On the second night to see The Police, I was running late. Dale, my brother-in-law, was waiting for me outside the Sonics store, and I was still driving.
"I'll be there in 10 minutes," I said to him on my cell phone.
I drove to the same parking lot as the night before, a few blocks away from the arena, and they had inexplicably raised their parking rates from $5 to $10 for event parking. This was actually a great deal; all the other lots were set at $20. This might be what you'd expect in some of the bigger cities, but that's astronomical in Seattle.
I met up with Dale. I pointed out that the people who had been there the night before with "the end is near" signs were gone. I wondered if they had met their proselytizing quotas. We walked inside the arena.
As Dale and I walked around the arena, a burly security guard eyed us and said, "Can I help you find something" in a suspicious and condescending tone. Dale and I looked at each other, wondering if someone had put "kick me" stickers on our coats. Or was it because the guard knew I had a mini-DV camera hidden in my coat pocket? (I had decided to take a few "memories" for myself that night.)
As I ate a foot-long hotdog, and Dale drank a beer, he told me about seeing Fiction Plane at Silver Platters in Seattle that day. Evidently the turnout hadn't been great, so that allowed him to talk to the band more. He also filmed the entire performance. We both thought this band was headed for great things.
We walked through the masses to our 200-level seats (a far cry from my amazing seats the night before), then sat down and watched Fiction Plane play through their set. These seats were on the first row of the 200 section, so you're on a bit of an overhang. When I'd squeezed by our neighbors into our seats, I had that familiar feeling I got when I was in high places -- but I knew I'd get used to it.
After Fiction Plane, Dale coaxed me into meeting the band at the meet-and-greet in the foyer. When we were standing in line, he said, "You want a picture with them?" I said no. "Why not?" I'm not a picture guy, I answered. "I'll tell you what: I'll get in the picture, too," he said. I told him no again. "Some day these guys might be huge, and this might be your only chance to meet them and get a picture," he said. "I won't even send you picture. I'll keep it encrypted on my hard drive."
I finally said OK (it was obviously the only answer).
When it was our turn to talk to Fiction Plane, I asked the drummer what kind of drums he was playing. (I had assumed they were Tama Starclassics, but I wasn't sure.) He answered, "Tama Starclassic Bubinga wood." I knew as a fellow drummer that this was some of the most exotic wood in the world. "I've never played this kit until this tour," he said. I wondered if Stuart Copeland's endorsement deal with Tama meant that Pete would get a kit like this. (Thanks for forcing me outside my comfort zone, Dale!)
We got back to our seats and waited for The Police.
They played the same set as the night before, except they didn't play "Murder By Numbers." The energy level of the band seemed to be much higher on this night, as evidenced by Andy Summers doing his scissor kick in one of the songs. Their playing also seemed more precise.
Sitting above the crowd in the 200 level allowed me to hear the crowd singing along with each song. The stage and light show were also more dramatic. I finally got the nerve to pull out the video camera and film a few songs. I didn't pull out the LCD view finder, so I had to aim with the small viewfinder on the top. This made my camera work shaky. Plus, sitting on the edge against the high wall made it harder to get a great shot of the band. (When I watched it later, I was actually surprised how great the video came out .)
The set went by much faster than the night before. I attributed this to "relativity." For example, when you don't know a road that you're driving on, it seems to take more time to drive it. The same is true for concerts.
When it was all over, I was happy I'd finally seen one of my favorite bands. Sting, Stuart, and Andy still had a lot of magic left between them, even if their playing together wasn't always perfect. I know 10 or so shows into the tour, they're going to be a force of nature.
If you wonder why The Police are such a big deal, take a look at this picture. They're not paying any of us to sing along with them (I think this was during "Can't Stand Losing You"); but everyone is singing and having a great time. And that's what entertainment is all about.