The Police and Elvis Costello

17 years after attending my last arena rock show (Rush at Maple Leaf Gardens), B and I headed off to Scotiabank Place last night to hear The Police and Elvis Costello. We’ve been looking forward to it for a long time, and it turned out to be a great night.

6:30 – We arrive about an hour before the show. T-shirts are $40 – some uberfans are buying them and putting them on right away in a public display of total dorkness. The crowd seems…old. Then I realize they’re all the same age as me. Ergo, I’m old. Sigh.

6:37 – I spot a rare Tim Horton’s Roll Up The Rim to Win cup. Then another. And another. I guess Tim’s had stocked up for a long playoff run, but the Sens feeble effort leaves this place as the last bastion of RUTR2W goodness. I’m tempted to get a coffee just to roll one more time, but decide drinking coffee at a rock concert is just too lame, even for me.

6:50 – We arrive at our seats. Section 309, row H, seats 22 & 23. For $95 each (plus service charge), we are roughly one mile from stage. Our view is impeded by a plexiglass shield. This sucks.

7:20 – A happy quartet walks by us and says, “That guy just gave us better seats!” The man in front of us leaps up and heads off in search of this magical person. I elbow B, and she agrees to check it out, too.

7:30 – Just as Elvis Costello and the Impostors take the stage, B grabs me and says “You owe me big time”. My wife is awesome. With new tickets in hand, we fight our way through the crowd to the promised land.

7:35 – We open the curtain to Section 109 and find ourselves just 40 feet from stage right. Our seats are amazing – we have a great view of the band and can check out some of the goings-on backstage. It reminds me of the spot I used to watch a lot of orchestra concerts from, except a lot louder (and cooler). I wonder why I didn’t buy tickets here instead, and then I remember they were $210 a pop.

8:20 – Elvis finishes up a great performance with (What’s So Funny ‘bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding? The whole set was so well-crafted, and it was a pleasure watching such a crack band doing its thing. I got a real kick out of watching over Steve Nieve’s shoulder as he went repeatedly went nuts on his Wurlitzer. I haven’t listened to much of Elvis’s stuff, and it looks like I have a lot of catching up to do.

8:45 – After a pretty quick change-over, The Police bound onto stage. For a second I think Malcolm McDowell is their new lead singer, but it’s just Sting sporting a scraggly beard. Speaking of look-a-likes, I think Stewart Copeland looks a lot like a paranoid Stephane Dion.

The next two hours pass by in a blur. The set includes 21 songs, with barely a break between them. For three guys who are rumoured to hate each other, they have undeniable musical chemistry on stage. Sting’s voice sounded great, Andy’s guitar riffs were note-perfect, and Stewart complimented his usual precise hi-hat work with some nice percussion stuff.

As The Police wrapped up with a 20-minute encore, I was reminded that there are few things more enjoyable in the world than hearing people make music at a really high level. Add in a few hundred speakers and lights, several video screens, 12,000 screaming fans, and the beautiful woman in the seat beside me, and I can’t think of a place I’d rather be.


For the hard-core fans, here’s last night’s set list…

Bring On The Night
Demolition Man
Walking On The Moon
Synchronicity II
Voices Inside My Head
When The World Is Running Down
Don’t Stand So Close To Me
Driven To Tears
Hole In My Life
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Wrapped Around Your Finger
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
Invisible Sun
Message In A Bottle
Can’t Stand Losing You
King Of Pain
So Lonely
Every Breath You Take
Next To You

3 thoughts on “The Police and Elvis Costello

  1. A number of people doing a Google search for some combination of “Police”, “Elvis Costello”, and “set list” have ended up here. Most of them are Americans, and they may be confused by a couple of my Canadian references. Here’s a quick explanation:

    Roll Up The Rim To Win: A national pastime that occurs every spring in Canada. Tim Hortons, purveyor of poor coffee and fatty treats (and employer of mangers with poor judgement), plays a cruel trick by telling us we can win cars and boats by rolling up the rim of our coffee cups. We desperately tear the cup apart, only to find “Please Play Again” every time.

    Stephane Dion: The Anti-Obama. A blackhole who sucks the charisma from all who approach. May also be a future Prime Minister.

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