The Police rocked Twickenham stadium last Sunday night in a sell-out gig nearly 30 years after the band first formed.
I was surprised to notice that he sounded uncannily like his dad, particularly on the high-pitch long notes (another of Sting’s trade marks). Apparently I wasn’t the only one to notice the uncanny vocal resemblance. He sounded almost as if Sting had gone down the Sex Pistols’ path.
While the second supporting band took the stage I was more preoccupied with the stadium’s demographics than with their forgettable performance.
I shouldn’t have worried, though, by the time The Police took to the stage the stadium was choco-block.
Anyway, digressing again. Back to the beginning.
I was so stunned to see the crowd actually getting up from their seats and starting to sing and dance with “Message in a Bottle” (this is an English audience we’re talking about, remember? Not the marvellous crowds we have in Argentinian stadiums which make stadium rock so memorable over there) that I almost fell on my bum in surprise.
Sadly they soon calmed down, although I happily continued my solitary duo sing-a-long with Sting on the top of my lungs in pure bliss for the rest of the night. I was pleasantly surprised to see that even though 20 odd years had passed, the band hadn’t changed at all. I mean, I had the strange feeling of being in a time-machine or something sometimes.
The show confirmed my up-to-that-moment-untested theory that The Police’s sound was custom-made to be heard live. You listen to those records (ok, CDs, I never owned a Police vinyl) and the songs are crying out to be played live.
Did they do them justice? Absolutely yes. Stewart Copeland even mimicked the “Wrapped Around Your Finger” video when he half hid behind his drums to play the intro to the song. (sadly there were no candles to tumble though) (fire hazard!).
And thanks to that combination (I think) of yoga/tantric sex/locally-produced cheese from his Lake House in Wiltshire or whatever it was, Sting was in top form, as ever, doing his iconic jump from the amp (see concert ticket above) at every chance he got.
No matter how great he sounds solo, with the Police he’s a different man. Way better, I mean.
One of the things I like most about Sting is how often he makes literary, mythological references in his songs, and while you can indeed enjoy the songs without understanding them completely, the fact that often his songs have deliciously complicated lyrics makes you realise there is a deeper meaning to them. I have to say it has also broadened my cultural spectrum prompted as I was by the curiosity of knowing what the @*x*! he was talking about in the songs.
I always said that if you could sing “King of Pain” by heart then you sort of “graduated” in English pronunciation, comprehension and listening skills.
The band went through the whole back catalogue leaving no song untouched although, of course, you’d want them to play every single song.
One of the highlights of the show was his perennial “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” (an allusion to his own Police prehistory, he used to be a teacher in case you don’t know).
It was during their rendition of “Roxanne” and “So Lonely” that I was very proud to discover I have lungs that would make a truck-driver feel ashamed.
I was so blown-away by the last number of the encore, “So Lonely”, that I actually forgot their most famous song, “Every Breath You Take” had yet to be played. (honest!)
Oh, anyone who has seen the Police’s 1984 live “Synchronicity” concert, remember the guy who seems possessed during “Driven to Tears”? Well, I put him to shame too.
By the end I could not believe neither my eyes nor my ears.
And yes, I am seeing them again at Wembley in October!
Euphoric as I was on my return from the concert, I leafed through Trudie’s (Sting’s missus) cookbook in search of a suitable recipe to share with you, and what do I find but their very own cat-shaped cookies?
Oh, those cat-shaped cutters have their own story but I’ll leave that for another time now, shall I? But it seems as if I was destined to bake these cookies…
Black Cat Chocolate Shortbread Cookies (adapted from “The Lake House Cookbook” by Trudie Styler & Joe Sponzo)
2 cups flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus 2 tablespoons extra for dusting
½ teaspoon baking powder
a small pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or good-quality plain chocolate, chopped
angelica, cut into 28 tiny pieces
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddled attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips by hand, then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile draw a cat shape measuring approximately 4 inches from head to paw and head to tail on a piece of acetate or a large plastic lid. Cut it out to use as a template for the cookies. (You can skip this part if you have a black cat-shaped cookie cutter like I do!)
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough to ¼ inch thick. Place the cat template in one corner of the dough and cut around it with a small, sharp knife. Repeat until all the dough is used up – you will have about 14 cookies in total – then transfer the cookies to the baking sheet using a metal spatula and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 275 F. Bake the cookies for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. When the cookies are cold, lightly sift the extra 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder over the cookies and use the angelica for the cats’ eyes.
I owe you the photos, guys, I have yet to buy a camera…