Tag Archives: Music

The Police’s Legacy Holds Up At Toronto Reunion Stop

The Police at the Air Canada Centre in 2007.

The Police at the Air Canada Centre in 2007.

LIVE: The Police
July 22, 2007
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, Ontario

A bass-playing Sumner and his two bandmates did a woeful job of bashing their way through a set of Coldplay-inspired rock ‘n’ lite reggae last night. It’s a good thing then, that it was Joe Sumner and his tepid foray into the family business known as Fiction Plane and not the main gig as anchored by Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner — better known to the world as Sting.

That Sting’s son’s band opened for The Police’s first tour appearance in Toronto since 1983 cast a nepotistic pall over the early evening — particularly considering Joe plays bass and yelp-sings almost exactly like his dad, minus the charisma. About their only high point was single “Two Sisters,” but even that was an act of imitation.

The short intermission video that took place during the changeover didn’t bode well either. Sure, everyone loves Bob Marley and footage of him doing sit-ups is fun, but the extended coverage of models walking catwalks was an inexplicable inclusion that seemed straight out of Fashion File‘s b-roll archives.

There was great relief then when Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland took to the stage to right early wrongs. They started off with the beloved “Message In A Bottle” and, with the house lights on high in the ACC, the sold-out show was instantly converted into a dancing, singing mass.

“Synchronicity II” made for an enjoyable first dip into deep-cut territory and “Walking On The Moon” triggered a football stadium-spirited singalong on top of showcasing Sting’s still-got-it pipes. Indeed, the singer effortlessly made everyone in the building feel common and inferior. The 55-year-old is still completely ripped — no doubt explaining the enthusiasm of the substantial hot suburban mom demo in the audience — and his voice has maintained itself with remarkable agelessness.

The medley of “Voices Inside My Head” and “When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around” followed by “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” and “Driven To Tears” represented the low point of the show. It was a section of self-content adult-contempo that threatened to unravel the show’s early goodwill until all was corrected with the punkish “Truth Hits Everybody.”

That dynamic jolt was just what the audience and The Police needed to push the show from rote nostalgia into something more genuine. The next level fully hit when an elaborate percussion set, complete with giant gong, suddenly materialized for the start of “Wrapped Around Your Finger.” A wild-eyed Copeland managed to ratchet up his monomaniacal playing to even greater heights when he’d foray over to his more exotic kit.

A last quarter blast of hits “Invisible Sun,” “Walking In Your Footsteps,” “Can’t Stand Losing You” and a sprawled out jam of “Roxanne” sealed the deal. There was little of the much rumoured, much worried about jazz noodling, and lots of hits, which was just what the people wanted.

“King Of Pain,” “So Lonely” and “Every Breath You Take” represented the first encore. The playing of those tracks seemed a bit cursory, particularly on their big stalker hit and “Next To You,” which was something of an anti-climactic second encore closer. That said, The Police’s string of hits and technical competency retained an overall vibrancy rarely seen in the nostalgia/reunion/classic rock circuit. The result was a real and vital Police show still worthy of matching their legacy.

Here is the set list:

“Message In A Bottle”
“Synchronicity II”
“Walking On The Moon”
“Voices Inside My Head”
“When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around”
“Don’t Stand So Close To Me”
“Driven To Tears”
“Truth Hits Everybody”
“The Bed’s Too Big Without You”
“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”
“Roxanne”

Encore:
“King Of Pain”
“So Lonely”
“Every Breath You Take ”
“Next To You”

This review was originally published July 23, 2007 via Chart Communications.

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Polaris Podcast Explores The 2017 Longer List

Polaris Podcast EP7 was live from Ottawa.

Polaris Podcast EP7 was live from Ottawa.

Every year the Polaris Music Prize jury passionately support waaaay more albums than what happens to make the 40 album Long List or 10 album Short List. We call this the “Longer List” and we gathered jurors Francella Fiallos (CKDU), Dustin McGladrey (CFWE), Anupa Mistry (Vevo) and Jean-Étienne Sheehy (freelance journalist) to talk about some of the albums they recommended in 2017.

The Polaris Podcast is available in all the usual places — iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, etc — but you can listen to the full episode right this second via Soundcloud here:

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Samaritan News 10 Pack: Gord Downie, Metallica, More

Gord Downie

Gord Downie

Below are some of the stories I wrote for charity-focused entertainment site Samaritanmag back in the fall.

Metallica Will Headline Huge Benefit Concert to Help San Francisco Area Residents Affected By Wildfires

David Foster Foundation’s 30th Miracle Gala Raises $10.2 Million In Vancouver

WATCH: Gord Downie Wanted to Protect Our Water

Dolly Parton Donates Money and Books for Hurricane Relief Efforts

Downie and Wenjack Families Thank Canada for Support

Midnight Oil To Perform Benefit Show To Support Oceans

NABSDay Launched To Support Advertising Industry People In Time Of Need

LISTEN: Miley Cyrus Sings Teddy Bears Picnic To Protect B.C. Grizzlies

Late Tom Petty Supported a Number of Causes and Charities

Bruno Mars Helps Send Students To Grammy Music Camp

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The Spirit Behind The Spirit Of John Concert

Spirit Of The West's John Mann

Spirit Of The West’s John Mann

In recent years a cast of high-profile Canadian musicians have been rallying around Spirit Of The West singer John Mann in the wake of his diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

This past September these musicians gathered in Toronto for the Spirit Of John benefit concert.

I spoke to organizer/Chalk Circle singer Christ Tait about the event for Samaritanmag.

To read the story click here.

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Samaritan News 10 Pack: Paul Simon, Charles Bradley And More

Paul Simon

Paul Simon

Below is a collection of stories I wrote for music ‘n’ charity site Samaritanmag in late summer 2017:

Students From Pathways To Education Program To Attend Obama Speech

Fans of the Late Charles Bradley Asked to Donate to All-Stars Project and Music Unites

Beyoncé, Oprah, George Clooney, Many More To Be Part Of Hand In Hand Hurricane Harvey Benefit

Paul Simon and Edie Brickell Donate $1 Million USD To Hurricane Harvey Relief

People to Pets: 5 Ways To Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

Dolly Parton’s First-Ever Children’s Album Will Fund Free Children’s Books

Stars Using Upcoming Tour To Support Native Women’s Shelter Of Montreal

Muscular Dystrophy Association Chair Releases Statement About Death of Jerry Lewis

Loverboy Autographed Bass and Lyric Sheet Auction To End Before Weekend

Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready to Perform Star-Spangled Banner at September Seattle Mariners Game for Crohn’s Research

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Lupe Fiasco Gets Martial Arts TV Show

Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco

Martial arts and rap connections aren’t just the exclusive property of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Lupe Fiasco also happens to be an avid martial artist and that talent will be on display with his forthcoming series Beat n Path.

Sarah wrote about the show and Lupe’s martial arts background for Asian World Of Martial Arts.

To read the story go here.

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100 Letterkenny-Inspired Band Names

F.A.K.U. (Freaks Acting Krazy United)

F.A.K.U. (Freaks Acting Krazy United)

There are a lot of stupid band names.

That’s why when I watched season three of the hilarious show Letterkenny awhile back I realized much of the dialogue could be converted into rippin’ band names.

So I made a list of the best of these potential band names for A.Side.

To read the whole list click here.

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