http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/98244339320c3329a433a019505066de2a5520be.jpg The Police Live

The Police

The Police Live

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
August 24, 1995

From the late '70s through the early '80s, Police fans listened and learned as a trio comprising two crafty musicians and a restless former schoolteacher slowly began to rule the New Wave world. As the first disc of this rewarding and interesting post-breakup concert release indicates, it was an altogether different era. The music from this 1979 Orpheum club date, in Boston, snarls with manic dismissiveness. In those days even raw-minded rock outfits tried to construct songs that sounded new or at least different from the great, familiar sprawl of classic rock. Today's fond contentment with re-imagined Beatles and Zeppelin seemed unthinkable.

In Boston all the Police's wiry elements held forth: the choice of reggae as the conveyor of soulfulness; the jazz nostalgia that flavored Sting's Russian- and Eastern European-derived melodies; the emptied-out punk-guitar momentum carried off with near-total disregard for Chuck Berry or Boston (the group). The Police motor through songs as stunningly composed as "So Lonely," "Roxanne" and "Walking on the Moon." They also nail down brief riffs on tunes like "Bring on the Night" and "Message in a Bottle," turning them into expansive music unconcerned about anybody's rules.

By 1983, the Police had graduated from buses to limos, from the coziness of university evenings to the massive auras of Sun Belt stadiums. In Atlanta, on Disc 2, you get the fluent, cheesy synths, the spiraling and taut arrangements, the highend background singers, Andy Summers' majestically hair-sprayed guitar solos and all the rest. With confident élan, the band sails through career gems like "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" and "Don't Stand So Close to Me," as well as the anguished Synchronicity grooves. In Boston, the Police made bracing music because they bristled at the constraints of punk; in Atlanta they were taking on the limitations of pop itself.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Wake Up Everybody”

    John Legend and the Roots | 2010

    A Number One record by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes in 1976 (a McFadden- and Whitehead-penned classic sung by Teddy Pendergrass) inspired the title and lead single from Wake Up!, John Legend's tribute album to message music. The more familiar strains of "Wake Up Everybody" also fit his agenda. "It basically sums up, in a very concise way, all the things we were thinking about when we were putting this record together in that it's about justice, doing the right thing and coming together to make the world a better place," he said. Vocalists Common and Melanie Fiona assist Legend on this mission to connect.

    More Song Stories entries »