The Police: Woke Up This Morning, Don’t Believe What I Saw

One of the earliest musical memories that I can remember is staying at my aunt and uncles place when my parents went on holiday and hearing ‘Outlandos D’Amour’ by The Police and ‘Parallel Lines’ by Blondie.  Going by what school I was at at the time I think this would have been early 1979.  Fast forward 29 years and I’m stood in front of Messers Sumner, Summers and Copeland with a camera in my hand and two songs in which not to get too starstruck and overwhelmed by the situation.  On top of all that, it’s also the first time someone has let me loose down the front of a stadium show…… 

First band up was the never-heard-of-them-before somewhat dull and unadventurous pub rock sounds of Fiction Plane.  Found out after their set that they had Joe Sumner – Son of Sting – on bass.  Good to see nepotism alive and well in the music industry in 2008.  He did a nice jump off his amp at the end, although I almost managed to miss it.

Joe Sumner

Not sure what bright spark decided on Fergie for the main support.  Pretty bad mis-match, but luckily because of the three song rule I at least managed to miss her Rolling Stones-Led Zeppelin medley thing.  Just goes to show that there are occasional benefits of being made to wait out on the pavement outside the venue between acts……



And so to The Police.  It’s funny how staged and choreographed the whole thing was and yet, with their jazz backgrounds, a bit surprising.  Not only did the photography contract that we all had to sign tell you what the two songs we were going to be photographing were – Message In A Bottle and Synchronicity II – but the contact itself was from the US tour.  Looking at a few reviews it seems that they’ve played the same set in the same order every night of the tour.  Also, the PR woman told us in advance that at the end of the second song Sting and Andy Summers would converge on the Sting’s side of the stage and do a jump at the end of the song. 

Of course it didn’t pan out quite like this, with Sting doing a jump at the end of the first song with Andy Summers still over his side of the stage.  Guess that serves me right for beleiveing anything anyone who works in PR tells me……

Because of this, I think most photographers in the pit missed the shot and I only just managed to capture it.  It’s not a very good photo though, with Sting too far over to the side, which meant I didn’t get his bass headstock, and looking like he’s got no teeth.  Also I think I was too side-on to him anyway.  So if you see loads of photos from this reunion tour of Sting jumping, it’s not because everyone is such a great photographer, anticipated what was going to happen and has great timing, it’s just because they’ve been warned in advance to be ready for it.


It’s interesting looking back on the photos that I took this night; very few of Sting but plenty of Andy Summers and especially Stewart Copeland.  This was predetermined by myself, as although Sting was the main songwriter and the main singer, the key to their sound and their success, at least for me, was all in the drumming.  Just a shame that Stewart Copeland is a classic example of the ‘time waits for no man’ adage – he was always the cool one in the band, now he looks like someone’s granny!  Luckily there is no correlation between how you look and how well you drum.


Stewart Copeland 

Andy Summers

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