OK, what are we looking at here? If you’re thinking it looks like someone used a camera phone under bad lighting conditions, you’re quite correct – thank you meryddian for the camera phone shot!
But let’s keep going. First of all, what is that blob on the left side of the picture? Oh, well, that would be me – and I can’t really blame the camera phone for that part! On the right side of the photo there appears to be a bright light. Could it perhaps be an alien spacecraft? The aurora borealis? A Midnight Madness sale at Best Buy? No, no, and no. It was actually something far more special than any of those possibilities. Here’s your final clue:
Yeah baby! Mery had an extra ticket for tonight’s Police concert and I snapped it up. As you can see, the concert was at Wrigley Field. If you were to look up my seat location, you’d see that it would be a wonderful seat for a baseball game – lower deck box seat to the left of home plate. The concert, though, was a different story. It’s true that we had a fairly head-on view of the stage, but the stage was deep in center field. I don’t want to complain unduly though. I had a great time, and our view was considerably enhanced by several magnificent large video screens surrounding the stage.
Sting was in very good voice tonight. One would normally expect an act this long in the tooth to transpose most of their songs down a few keys. While they certainly did that on a few songs (e.g., “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”), most of their songs were performed in the same keys as the original recordings. For that, the lads have my genuine admiration and respect! The rest of the band was in fine form as well – Stewart Copeland, energetic and always in complete command on drums and percussion and Andy Summers tearing it up on a variety of guitars.
A few other random notes:
If you look over the outfield walls at Wrigley onto Waveland and Sheffield Avenues, you will see that most of the apartment buildings across the way have built bleachers on their roofs upon which parties take place during Cubs games. Some of them also sport billboards for various beers. Tonight, one of them carried a large billboard for Miller Lite that read: “Every Little Sip You Take Is Magic.” Gotta love that targeted marketing!
I had to marvel at the contrast between the demographics of tonight’s concertgoers as compared to the first stadium concert I ever attended. That was in 1976 at the Pontiac Metropolitan Stadium (later to be christened the Pontiac Silverdome). Elvin Bishop and Todd Rundgren opened for Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band. Tickets were $6, by the way! That night, there were about 80,000 people in attendance. I’d guess that about 50,000 were teenagers and most of the rest were in their 20s. Tonight, the demographic spread was far wider. Mery pegged the overall range at about 8 to 64 (not to be confused with the old song “25 or 6 to 4”). Parents brought their children, including one tyke right next to me who was about 8 or so and sported a magnificent black Mohawk haircut.
Ah, but some things about concerts never change – lack of respect for rules and laws, for example. At that Seger show in ’76, I saw marijuana for the first time. The folks right in front of me were smoking it in a stylish little wooden pipe and I sat there terrified, expecting that at any moment the cops would descend upon us and arrest everyone in sight. Yikes, was I green! At tonight’s show, a sweet, smoky aroma wafted across our nostrils at one point. It was the distinctive aroma of marijuana – or so I’m told (cough, cough, ahem). Also, if you read the fine print on that ticket, you’ll see where it says “No Cam/Rec.” Please! There were cameras beyond number present and in use. I saw no one being busted for it. I’m guessing that they might have said something if you’d set up a tripod and begun shooting video, but aside from that, those words on that ticket were a waste of ink.
Sting also gets bonus points for doing his Chicago homework (or for having someone else do it for him). He mentioned at one point that the Police had last played in Chicago in 1983 at Comiskey Park. He asked whether anyone in attendance had been at that show. I guess nobody told him about the Great Divide between Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field (née Comiskey Park), because a distinct chorus of boos could be heard in response. He then asked if anyone in attendance had come to their show at the Riviera Theater in 1978. That is the veritable Stone Age on the Police time line, considering that the band had only just come out with its first album at that point. But it was a nice bit of local detail. Many a performer would have gone no further than “Hello Chicago,” followed a little later by “We love you, Chicago,” and would have capped off the evening with “Thank you, Chicago!” So I appreciate the effort!
All in all, a terrific night of music and spectacle. Thanks and hats off to Sumner, Summers, and Copeland for the show, and a big thank you to Mery for the ticket!