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Police Reunion Tour

This past weekend, Matt and I went with friends to the Police Reunion tour at Churchill Downs. Matt discovered The Police in 1983, the year they broke up. They were the band who got him to listen to rock music and remained his favorite for over two decades. I discovered Sting in 1984 when his first solo album debuted, and then found the Police when I went looking for what else he had done. Which is sort of like discovering the Beatles on a quest for pre-Wings Paul McCartney, I know.

Anyway, given our history of admiration (Matt) and lust (me), when tickets went on sale for the reunion show, Matt and I were equally eager to secure seats. Good seats. GREAT seats. We had both seen Sting perform before-I at Carolina once when I had walking pneumonia and once more in a horrible venue in Michigan when Sting was entering his boring adult contemporary phase-but we hadn’t seen the Police.

So we splurged on the most expensive seats in the house, only to discover that our brilliant plan to buy extra tickets to sell later was foolish in the extreme. See, when the Stones played the Downs a year ago, tickets sold out and extras went for a mint. But, alas, we learned, the Police are no Stones. They aren’t as slop as the Stones can be and certainly did more rocking and less preening. But they also primarily appeal to the very end of the boomers and the Gen Xers, a smaller, poorer, and busier demographic than the Stones pull from.

Long story short, we took a beating on those extra tickets, and I went into Saturday’s concert in a somewhat foul mood. I was also slightly worried about Simon, who I had left with Steve and Stacy, and who I would be without for the longest time since I brought him home from the hospital 37 weeks ago. Also, I hate crowds; they totally bring out the misanthrope in me. I hate watching people cut in line. My blood boils when someone takes too long in the port-a-potty line. I seethe over how disorganized and badly run concert concessions are. The combined lack of decent crowd management and number of elbows I take make me wish I were home. And the sight of many of my fellow Louisvillians so badly garbed makes me wish I were blind.

By around 8:30 or so Saturday night, I was already annoyed by the crowds, the elbows, the concessions, the lack of crowd management, the long bathroom lines, my personal financial losses, and the sartorial tragedy laid out before me. Add some neurotic concern about Simon to the mix, and I was pretty much wishing I were at home. (And truth be told, I’m sure by then Matt wished I were home, too, and deservedly so.) Then, about the time I was finally paying for my overpriced, capless water and dangerously close to an aneurysm, the band ascended the stage and began playing “Message in a Bottle”.

If you squinted a bit, it was 1983 all over again. All three certainly look older-at 64, 55, and 54 it would be hard not to-but Stewart did acrobatics with percussion, Andy still has some amazing licks, and Sting is still Sting, even if he does have some lines and the beginning of a loosened jaw line. It was pure magic. Enough for me to forgive and forget all the annoyances and worries around me.

Well, all but a residual concern for Simon and an ever increasing loathing for the couple in front of me, who seemed to fall in lust all over again with each song. If the groping and hugging, and view obstructing weren’t enough, there was also the fact that the female half of this couple spent most of the night with her back to the stage, staring deeply into the eyes of her annoying, frat-boy boyfriend. Listen, lady, You do not turn your back on Sting!

And while I did my best to not think about Simon and enjoy the moment, I lost my focus a few times. Namely, when I felt milk letdown at 9:00 p.m. and a bit later when I spotted the obstetrician who delivered Simon in a crowd shot on the giant screens. It would seem that Dr. Gerard has a thing for Sting, too.

Lessons learned: Sting is still hot. The Police still rock. And Louisville is one small town.

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