The Police and Elvis Costello Begin Again in Ottawa

May 2, 2008 12:05 PM ET

It will be a shame if this is indeed the final North American swing for the Police, as the reunited group showed itself to be a joyous arena rock machine that enthralled a sold out Scotiabank Place in Ottawa last night, their first visit to Canada's capitol since 1979.

Clad in a black suit and restrained specs, opener Elvis Costello unleashed a mixture of classics and cuts from the recent Momufuku, his lively new album. "I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea" grew anthemetic with gristly bass lines and a haunting keyboard drone, while "Alison" oozed kitschy charm as Costello held a quivering high note. Along with Momofuku's gorgeous acoustic ballad "My Three Sons" — an ode to his own children, not the Fred MacMurray vehicle — Costello's set defined how well-worked neurosis can be channeled into transcendent pop moments.

Even if Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers and Gordon Sumner actually hate each other's guts, the virtuosic chemistry produced by their 21-song set was unparalleled. This is still a band on their A-game — gleaming, precise, and infectious. As Sting teased out melodies like Chet Baker, a surreal percussion showcase sent Copeland barreling between toms and an upright glockenspiel, transforming "Wrapped Around Your Finger" into a would-be Japanese Shinto ceremony. Bathed in blue light (guess what color scheme lit "Roxanne"?), final encore "Every Breath You Take" became a slinky, wraith-like warning, dissolving into applause as cell phone cameras blazed like fireflies. But even after his bandmates' exit, Summers played on, peeling out electric shocks of guitar riffs with a naughty grin. "Andy, what the fuck are you doing? I thought we said no!" joked Sting upon re-entry, launching into the more-appropriate closer "Next To You."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
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


Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

More Song Stories entries »