Flashback: The Police Take a Last Bow on Their Reunion Tour - Rolling Stone
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Flashback: The Police Take a Last Bow on Their Reunion Tour

This 2008 performance of ‘Next To You’ could be the last time the Police ever play together

The Police played an astounding 151 concerts on their 2007/08 reunion tour and grossed $362 million, and even that doesn’t include merchandise, sponsorship deals and the many other ways they found to cash in on the occasion. The three of them might not be best friends, and Sting’s idea of a fun year probably doesn’t involve singing “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” 151 times, but leaving all that money on the table would have involved Robert Plant-levels of restraint.

The tour wrapped up August 7, 2008 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, and they donated the proceeds to public television in New York. Most every night on the tour opened up with “Message in a Bottle,” but at the farewell show they opened with Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” as a tribute to a previous generation’s rock trio that never quite got along either. (Three years earlier, Cream played their own final concert at MSG.) Later in the night, they played “Purple Haze” to honor yet another short-lived trio.

Sting grew a beard throughout the final leg of the tour, but after closing the main set with “Every Breath You Take,” he went backstage and overhead screens showed two women shaving off the entire thing with amazing speed while others shined his shoes and gave him a manicure. He emerged shirtless and clean-shaven and, like every show of the tour, the band closed out the night with “Next To You,” the very first song on the Police’s 1978 debut LP.

After group bows, men came onstage in opera-style drag and a large woman mimed a bit of “Ritorna Vincitor” from Verdi’s Aida. (As they say, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.”) It was followed by the Looney Tunes theme, a little shimmy from Sting, Porky Pig stuttering his way through “That’s All, Folks,” a group photo in front of the stage, Sting yelling into the mic “Madison Square Garden, this is the center of New York City, the center of the world, thank you, thank you,” Stewart Copeland ripping his shirt off and the three of them walking offstage.

Odds are extremely high they’ll never play together again, but if the surviving Beach Boys could reunite for a tour, we suppose anything is possible.

In This Article: Sting, The Police


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