Friday, July 20, 2007

De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da

August 20, 1983 - Philadelphia, JFK Stadium

Voices Inside My Head

Synchronicity I
Synchronicity II
Walking In Your Foosteps
Walking On the Moon
Oh My God
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
Wrapped Around Your Finger
Tea In The Sahara
Spirits In A Material World
Hole In My Life
Invisible Sun
One World (Not Three)
King of Pain
Don't Stand So Close To Me
Every Breath You Take
Murder By Numbers
Can't Stand Losing You
So Lonely

My hair was considerably longer, blonder and much shaggier than it is today, or had been at any time. In fact, with a proper pair of sunglasses, a nice white tank top and an SLR [a Canon AE-1, specifically] I could pass for a certain English guitarist of popular acclaim at the time … especially when I was sitting on the barricade to the “Artists Only - Secure Area.”

Well, these girls must have read enough fan magazines to know that Andy Summers, the Police’s guitar player, was not only a great guitarist, but that he was not too tall, liked to wear white tank top T-shirts and almost always had a 35mm camera draped around his neck. They also “knew” that Mr. Summers was also not too keen on the whole “backstage” scene and whole generally spend his pre-show time “chilling with the fans.” While they had expected, with all their research, to meet Andy Summers, they hadn’t expected to meet his brother, “Randy Summers”

I took maybe half a roll of film of them to kill time before I handed them over to the roadies. The bright sunshine really enhanced the shots of them flashing their tits and asses at me [sorry, those old chemical prints are long gone]. While the older sister went on her way to score us some pot, the younger sister thanked me for the chance to get backstage: verbally and orally. When Janie retuned, Sarah went off to cop some beer and her older sister showed her appreciation as well.

When everyone was finished and happy, I pointed them in the general direction of the hospitality trailers and continued on my day.

I don’t think they EVER thought I really was who I told them I was; Just as their names COULDN’T really have been Janie and Sarah. But we enjoyed it all just the same.

"Hello, Philadelphia. Are you hot? I'm certainly hot. It's 98.6 degrees. That's the same temperature as blood.”

Before ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’: "There is a girl with a blue bikini on there. You are very distractive. She's there. What's that guy doing between your legs? I can't perform with this going on".

Later, looking into the setting sun “I can't see you. I think the next time we play Philly, we have to play at night.”

They did.

July 19, 2007 – Philadelphia, Citizens Bank Park

Message In A Bottle
Synchronicity II
Walking On The Moon
Voices Inside My Head>When The World Is Running Down
Don't Stand So Close
Driven To Tears
The Bed's Too Big Without You
Truth Hits Everybody
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Wrapped Around Your Finger
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
Invisible Sun
Walking In Your Footsteps
Can't Stand Losing You>Regatta de Blanc>Can’t Stand Losing you
King of Pain
So Lonely
Every Breath You Take
Next to You

From the bootlegs I'd heard, they were definitely NOT playing the way they did in '83. They were using different keys and tempos than what we're used to and this gives the songs a completely new feel.

Example: Slowing "Please Don't Stand So Close to Me" and taking it down a key makes it a very dark and sinister tune ... You get the feeling now that the "young teacher" was actively pursuing the girl and she's the one singing the chorus [“please don’t stand so close to me.”]. It becomes nearly the sister to "Every Breath You Take" which Sting has always claimed to be about obsession and possession.

I do kind of wish they had stuck to the promise they made at the press conference to mix up the setlists, but when you haven't played your catalog for 24 years, you might not want to take chances.

*read about “The First Disaster Gig" here.
I have this show and as bad as Stew thinks it went, it’s still pretty damn good.

The weather was threatening. I got downpoured on three times on the way from work to pick up D'Kid's babysitter. We arrived late missing the openeing bands, but we didn't get rained on at all. Not that it would have mattered since we were up at the top under the roof ... By up at the top, I mean the next to last row!!! But I as told D’Wife, "Someone had to sit there; might as well be me." I'd never been so high, I mean, "so far up" at a concert. I could see over the top of the stage, down 11th street and across the Schuylkill to Center City. I actually saw a guy get pulled over on I-95 to the right over the right field wall; the red & blue flashing lights caught my eye.

I did start to get an anxiety attack as we climbed the steps, but once we got to the top and sat down, I was fine. There were a couple of 250-pound girls in front of us, and when they danced - and they really went to town - I swear I felt the stadium move.

We were dead center of the stage [although a 1/2 mile away]. The sound was terrific; I guess the summer air really helped it travel. Sting lows on the bass made the place rumble; Stew’s tom-toms rattled like gunshots and Andy’s solos shimmered across the summer night. The lights were pretty good, they changed color theme depending on which album the song they played was from - black and white for the first, blue & white for the second, yellow and orange for ‘Zenyatta Mondatta’, red yellow and blue - of course - for ‘Synchronicity.’

During "Walking in your Footsteps" they played an animation of a dinosaur skeleton walking. The drums in the intro gave it a very Phil Collins-Disney feeling – I’m thinking specifically of “Tarzan”. When Sting played the pipes – maybe it’s a pan-flute? – he would play a couple of notes, back the pipes from his mouth and look at it with a “I didn’t expect it to sound like THAT” look; or maybe it was “Okay, now where are the next bunch of notes on this thing?” Andy played a remarkably Adrian Belew-ish solo using the "Lone Rhino" effects.

Stewart Copeland played a wide arrangement of percussion, including a glockenspiel for the intros to "Wrapped Around Your Finger" and "King of Pain” using drumsticks instead of the traditional hammers. Summers really tore up on the guitar, taking some extraordinary risks with the effects and very, very fast yet fluid playing.

As I said, they played most of the songs a bit slower than we're used to hearing ... with the hits, nobody seed to care, but with some of the songs people didn't recognize, a slow tempo and extended jamming (yes, they did!!!) just led to "crowd chatter". People sat down and talked amongst themselves, text’d their friends, posed for photos. To that point, I could probably live a long and happy life without EVER hearing "Walking on the Moon" ever again.

Sting mentioned their 1978 show at Grendel's Lair [which is now a GAP on South St.] which I attended. That show, or the Philadelphia fans, must have made a big impression on him; he referenced it when I saw them at 1981 at Liberty Bell [now Philadelphia Park], and again, of course, in 1983 at JFK.

Sadly, this time, there was no hanging out at the back gate, no camera [cameras weren’t allowed but c’mon, technology, man. They’re small enough now to fit easily in a non-frisked pocket. When I shot my photos in ’83, I had a bulky Canon AE-1. Had I brought my Panasonic, it would have blown those old photos away].

The were also no blowjobs given for the opportunity to sneak in through the “Event Staff ONLY” entrance; not to me anyway.

Watching the lesbians who made out through "Wrapped Around Your Finger" almost made up for it, though. They were cute, too. I have to admit, girls who like girls have gotten much better looking in the past 25 years or so.

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