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Message In A Small Plastic Wine Bottle

September 16, 2007

Due to working solidly since the day I returned from holiday combined with ongoing problematic but improving family life now subject to attending Relate (a helpful assessment so far – yes – your relationship is extremely crap and we can help you) it has been a bit blogscant round here of late. So I am making it all up to you by sharing my jaunt to see The Police at Twickenham Stadium last weekend.

We cycled there which was brilliant – took about 10 minutes. I felt really excited in a rather childish way as the last time I had seen the Police was at The Rainbow, Finsbury Park in 1978. Rather shockingly in hindsight – I was only twelve. Yes, I got into terrible trouble as no one knew I had deceived all for at least a month by saving bus money to eventually buy a coveted ticket in the dress circle which (being a short-arse) I could just about get my chin over to see Sting with no top on and sporting some rather fabulous pale blue bondage trousers. It was very loud and grown up. But that’s another story for another post one day.

We had good tickets. Three blocks back from the front and an uninterrupted view of the stage. I always take my camera to big gigs as I love taking photo’s of people when they are not looking – like these die-hard Police (or possibly just Sting by the look of the leopard off-the-shoulder number) fans.


I did some quick mental arithmetic – sold out – capacity 150,000 x average age of ticket-holder 42 = a staggering combined audience age of 6, 300,000 which is about how old I felt when I realised if I put my glasses on everything suddenly seemed so much clearer on the stage area. Good grief. There was a lot of bald men in aertex sports shirts and casual sugar pink jumper draped over shoulder with accompanying comfy leather deck shoe action going on. Most of these ‘men of a certain age in uniform’ were rather unfairly stopped from whirling their arms and legs around in the aisles by the stewards and told to go back and sit down – which they did far too obediently I noticed. Here’s a picture of Stewart Copeland banging the introductory gong ELP-style:


and here’s a picture of Andy Summers bloody playing for god and like a rather brilliant saggy angel.


Although they all looked like they were at the mercy of a serious stylist – Sting a little bit mutton in skintight black drainpipes with matching lycra t-shirt, Andy Summers in breton t-shirt and expensive looking safari style jacket and Copeland in a Maharishi style sporty breathable top. I have to say they played brilliantly and with good humour. Not a scowl in sight – apart from when I shouted to him who still snores like a bison now he is back in the house ‘messy start!’ far too loudly after Message In A Bottle – the opening number. Well it was a messy start. It was all over the place. Sting came in a beat too late as far as I am concerned. It’s just that I shouted what I thought really loud in the split second before they launched into ‘Hello London’ bit. A split second later I was greeted by massively audible tut’s from Sting’s biggest fan in the multi-coloured leopard spandex behind me. I glugged another swig of stadium red from the nasty plastic bottle I was given in exchange for £4.50 from the bar on Level One half an hour before. Here is a picture of Sting’s blue fingers tripping out a bit of cod reggae of which they relied on quite a lot to get the audience going – lots of crowd participation ‘ee ay ooo’ going on – that sort of thing…


Nevertheless – it got better and better and better apart from the eee ay ooo odyssey’s which were a bit annoying after a while. The sound was great and the fact that it was generated by three people was quite amazing. At one point it sounded like there were two lead guitars and two drummers – it was tight with lots of clever, percussive and seamless time changes. They weren’t shy of pumping out big chugging electric noise either which was the best bit.


More glugs of heinous but strangely drinkable but later headache-inducing stadium red. Of course – nothing beats the first time seeing a band you love. 1978 was much more noisy and rough and overwhelming. This one was loud, accomplished and different. I suppose they have had 29 years of practice. It didn’t feel that they had been that long away.


They all looked so happy at the end – especially Stewart Copeland who was the most smiliest in his techno tee.
It was all very civilised – there wasn’t even a crush to get out despite being at full capacity. Three small plastic bottles of stadium red obviously had it’s effect (I blame the excitement too). Here is a photo I took in the honeywagon’s for some reason. Honeywagon is basically another word for nice trailer loo.


Aren’t they lovely and clean for gig toilets? And they had pegs to hang your bag on too.



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  1. Tim Footman permalink

    I saw Midge Ure a few years back. (OK, it was a freebie.) One of the highlights was a bloke turning up 10 minutes after MU had taken to the stage, to a frosty reception from his wife. He explained that he was late because Brian had insisted on talking to him about the quarterly reports because it was the regional conference next week. Still, at least he’d loosened his tie in acknowledgement of the rock ‘n’ roll nature of the event.<br/><br/>The demographic was further confirmed when Midge’s sarky remark about rap music drew a standing ovation; and when people started to trickle away during the encore, accompanied by several worried comments about having to pay the babysitter overtime.

  2. Istvanski permalink

    Top review Rockster. The atmosphere that you describe here kind of reminds me of the Tina Turner gig at old Wembley I went to (like Tim’s experience ’twas a freebie too). Time machines permitting, Rainbow ’78 would’ve been the one to visit.<br/><br/>Did Copeland speed up his drumming during the songs?<br/><br/>Nice scarf by the way. Chiffon?<br/>x

  3. Robert Swipe permalink

    We could just about hear them from our gaff – and yes, the drumming was as wayward as the Crystal Palace back four Iststers. And, yes, Ro – it was a messy start, but there was no need to yell it outy *quite* that loud. We heard a few belches too – were they feeding you through the PA, I wonder?<br/><br/>I saw them at Hammy Odeon the Sunday that Message in a bottle went to number one. They were supported by Fashion and a really good (i.e. terrible) punk band called The Straps. They Cops only had about 5o mins of material, so there was a rather indecent amout of dee-ay-ooing that night too. I’d have thought they’d have grown out of all that. Mind you, Harry Belafonte always was a big influence, I believe.<br/><br/>I still think the best thing Sting ever did was allow himself to be interviewed by the Stotts…<br/><br/>Bob

  4. Istvanski permalink

    I met the singer from The Straps (well…that’s who he said he was) in my local fish and chip shop in Beddington not that long ago. <br/>"I’ve got Rat’s phone number on me mobile" he said.<br/>"How nice. Is that savaloy ready yet?".

  5. Billy permalink

    The Polive always reminds me of my GCSE music exam. We had to write down the chord changes of <i>Can’t Stand Losing You</i><br/><br/>Top review.

  6. First Nations permalink

    excellent review!<br/><br/>sting has always looked rather frightening as far as i’m concerned, and age has done nothing to improve matters there. maniacal gleam in the eye.<br/><br/>look at you in the mirror with your yellow handbag and all. my my!

  7. Thanks for the Police update rockmum…great. I just heard Barry changed his mind about going on The View! You heard it here first folks.

  8. savannah permalink

    well done reporting, sugar! i’ve given up on stadium concerts…jaysus, i feel old right now *sighing*<br/><br/>(love the ensemble, btw)

  9. rockmother permalink

    Mr Tim – yes we had a lot of ‘late arrivals’ – anxious looking late parents who sat down nicely once they had found their seat<br/><br/>Ister – why thank yauw. Yes – Copeland was great and no – the scarf is cheap Indian cotton from Berwick St and going a bit rag like actually – it photograph’s well<br/><br/>Swiper – yes – the Stott’s interview is the only best thing Sting has ever done<br/><br/>Billster – wow – that sounds like a rather fun music exam. I meant the review to be much more serious and forgot to mention a few things but nevermind. Glad you enjoyed it.<br/><br/>Her Firstness – Sting looked a bit Botoxed to me – his forehead didn’t move when he sang. Re: bag – yes – it’s my favourite mustard slouch!<br/><br/>Dickley – you are welcome Dickley. Oh – Barry – fickle crooner that he is. I wonder why he did that?<br/><br/>Savmarshmama – don’t feel old – just not very young anymore. x

  10. llewtrah permalink

    Everyone’s already said everything about the music 😉 <br/><br/>I skipped Relate. Unless they were going to help pay his moving out costs I didn’t see any point. But that was just me.

  11. rockmother permalink

    Llewtrah – well – I’ll give it a try.

  12. Browner permalink

    hi Rockmother. thanks for your comments on my photos. I saw The Police twice on their recent tour (having been too young to see ’em the first time round) It was quite a big deal for me as I never imagined I would get the chance. When they struck up that first riff from Message in the Bottle, well what can I say… my reaction was less than manly! Mind you, was it only me or has Andy Summers being playing Jazz too long. I found a lot of his solos to be insufferable fret wank

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