The B List: 10 Great Police Vids

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2. The Police ran into a bit of trouble before they taped The Old Grey Whistle Test for the BBC in 1978. Sting nearly blinded himself with an aerosol can, on his 27th birthday no less. Not quite the best way to kick off your first television appearance. Stew lent Sting some sunglasses and the show went on. Check out this cool footage of Can’t Stand Losing You:

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3. The Police always seem extremely uncomfortable in their videos, and the Message In A Bottle vid is no exception. Both Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland mentioned how uncomfortable they were lip syncing in their book and film about the Police experience. The Police broke at the same time as MTV, way before the day of big-budget videos. Take a look at this video for Message In A Bottle to see what I’m talking about:

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4. One of the most exciting moment of “the hiatus” for Police fans occurred in 2004, when Stewart and Andy joined Incubus for a few Police songs at the KROQ Weenie Roast (Copeland provides the whole back story on his website). At the 2:20 mark, Summers and Copeland come out for De Do Do Do De Da Da Da, Message In A Bottle and Roxanne, which they intersped with some Incubus originals. Everyone on stage, and presumably in the the audience, had huge smiles going the whole time:

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5. One of The Police’s most unique songs is The Bed’s Too Big Without You off of Reggatta De Blanc. The loose feeling of the tune allows for some heady improvisations. Check out this terrific version of The Bed’s Too Big Without You from Mexico City in 1980:

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6. Bring On The Night showed a major shift in Sting’s songwriting. The tune is more serious in structure than other songs he had written in the past. When The Police last visited Japan in 1981 they had just started performing Bring On The Night live. Check out this video from Japanese television, which shows The Police at their tightest, just tearing the shit out of the tune.

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7. One of the more popular Police “rarities” is a tune called Deathwish. The band only played it for a few tours, and sadly the song didn’t make the setlist for the beginning of their reunion shows. At least we will always have this video of The Police playing Deathwish in 1980:

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8. The Police generally did a good job turning complex tracks they recorded in the studio into part of their live show. Sometimes it didn’t work out as well as planned. Sting, Stew and Andy always had trouble capturing the brilliance of Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic live in concert. For the Ghost In The Machine tour, the boys added a horn section to augment their sound. The horns don’t work so well on ETLSDIM, but it’s a cool video nonetheless:

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9. Fallout is a Police tune that really accentuates their punk roots. Just like Deathwish, Fallout is a tune that got shelved once The Police started to focus on more complex poppy tunes on albums such as Ghost In The Machine and Synchronicity. Check out this high energy version of Fallout from the late ’70s:

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10. The Police have always been world travelers. In the early ’80s they struck out on an ambitious tour of many cities not generally associated with rock music. They taped footage of their travels and performances for a film called The Police Around The World. As of today the film isn’t available, but rumors persist it will be released on DVD now that the band is back together. In the meantime, check out this footage of Shadows In The Rain and the band fucking around from The Police Around The World:

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