Outlandos d'Amour

London, GB
The Electric Ballroom
The Police at the Electric Ballroom...

If man can conquer science, walk on the moon, manufacture picture discs, all in search of a Perfect Modern World, why does he not fulfil one of the basic requirements for this Utopia and put The Police's music where it belongs - in the loftier regions of the chart.

When I say music. I cite singles in particular - for having released two eternal classics within the space of a few months and seen both disappear into the sunset, it seems admirable that they should survive such pagan injustice sufficiently to play a fine set at a crowded Electric Ballroom on an icy November night.

Although their live performance cannot match their vinyl magic, they managed to transmit a very spontaneous and much appreciated (three encores and room for more) night's entertainment.

Their prowess lies in their amazing fusions of rock and reggae, humour and lament. Most of the material was culled from the album 'Outlandos d'Amour' - and apart from a couple of brief unfortunate forays into the realms of heavy metal, was articulate and varied.

Though it is the instantly recognisable, choppy rhythms which dominate the songs - it took their live show to hit home the importance of Andy Summers' fine guitar work - which provides most of the real power behind the music, and to give a sound more associated with a five-piece than a mere trio. Bassist/vocalist/stripper Sting (he relieved himself of his boiler suit during the final encore and finished clad in nothing but socks and underpants) whose highly distinctive bitter sweet voice a friend once likened to that of a rabid kitten, was also in fine form providing the final link in The Police's armour.

They tore through a strong, if seemingly brief set, with honours going to 'Born in the 50's', 'Hole In My Life', and the wonderful 'Be My Girl' - broken in two by the interjection of Summers' endearing if strange ode to his inanimate love of his life,' Sally'. Unfortunately, contrary to the rest of the crowd, I did not enjoy their treatment of the great 'Can't Stand Losing You' - ad libbing with enthusiastic, but rather ropey vengeance. However the piece de resistsance, 'Roxanne', although styretched to similar proportions, did turn out fine, with the surprisingly good addition of a glamorous Karen O'Connor plus pal on backing vocals proving a positive improvement.

All round, a great show, a good atmosphere, and a fine band - for what more can you ask?

(c) Record Mirror by Kelly Pike