Monday, February 18, 2008

Defending the Music XVIII: Seems a Million Miles Away but it Gets a Little Closer Every Day

I had to miss the concert. It was the only reasonable course. I had tickets. It was the first stadium concert in twenty years. I had even did back-flips to arrange the best possible chance to be able to go... but when the time came I was too tired and had too far to go to complete my task and at too great stakes to risk the additional exhaustion of seeing one of my favourite bands of all time live... for possibly the only time in my life...

When I first saw the video for Every Breath You Take, I already recognised that The Police were an established band of note though I couldn't name any of their songs (though it would turn out I did know a few already.) I was taken in my the compellingly moody single instantly. It wasn't even the coolest video to come off the album.

I think I actually got Synchronicity through the Columbia House music club - which in those days was a 4-6 weeks 'til delievery kind of affair, a seeming enternity compared to the 4 business days of today.

I loved the album, but Demetri... I think it's safe to say that that album changed his life. Demetri became a lifelong Police fan, and as one of my best childhood friends, he brought the rest of the Police albums into my life.

Five albums seems like such a rip-off. We only got five from one of the best trios ever put together.
Sting: This guy started his career as one of the greatest song-writers in rock history... and there is only one direction to go from there. His time with the Police produced several dozen of the most perfectly crafted songs ever. Paul McCartney personally thanked him for writing a perfect bass-line for Walking on the Moon. Sting's solo career however fell victim to the law of diminishing returns. Dream of the Blue Turtles is a masterwork. Nothing Like the Sun has masterworks on it. Soul Cages has a masterwork on it. After that his career becomes a scattering of moderate accomplishments floating amongst a sea of noodling pretentious mediocre MoR.
Stewart Copeland: Watching Live in Atlanta more than a decade after it had been released, I found myself entranced by Stewart Copeland's performance. His rhythmic texturing made the Police what they were - not to detract from either of his compatriots prowess. He's fucking brilliant. After watching that video I wrote an email to Demetri expressing my appreciation for Stewart Copeland in a way I have never managed to recapture the effectiveness of.
Andy Summers: When they formed the Police, Andy Summers was already a London Club Act legend. He was the guy who lost out to Ron Wood as Mick Taylor's replacement (Oh how different music history would have been!) in The Rolling Stones - but clearly Keith Richards wasn't going to allow himself to be upstaged by the gargantuan talent of Summers. (Yeah, bring it on Stones fans, I have nothing but contempt for the three chords your boys have never wavered from at tedium.) Put it this way, when Summers agreed to be the senior member of the police, Sting and Stewart, went all fanboy.

When a year ago a reunion tour was announced, I went all fanboy. Demetri went all fanboy. We went and paid the extra cost necessary to get advance tickets through Best Buy with our other friend David. Demetri made plans to fly from London England to Vancouver in order to see the first Police concert in what might have well have been ever in our lives.

Then life started to interfere.

My film, Beast of Bottomless Lake was necessarily scheduled to overlap with the concert. Our schedule quivered back and forth right up until the end, and in the end I arrived back from the Okanagan the day before the concert, exhausted and already on the verge of an exhaustion triggered illness I would have been borderline... but something had also come up for Demetri. He couldn't make it either. That pretty much did it for me. Being there without him seemed to me like it would have been awkwardly hollow. I felt like I would have been betraying him.

I admit I really wish I could have seen the Police, and the fact that technically I could have made it makes it a real question, but given the same choice under the same circumstances I would take the same option - regretfully missing one of the most anticipated concerts of my life. The additional stakes were simply too high.

Demetri did eventually get to see the Police. If I get a second chance, I figure I'll take it.

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