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The Police – Ghost In The Machine Tour ’81-’82 (Way Of Wizards WOW-361)

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Ghost In The Machine Tour ’81-’82 (Way Of Wizards WOW-361)

Vina Del Mar, ChileFebruary 19, 1982

Interview, Message In A Bottle, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Spirits In The Material World, Hungry For You, When The World Is Running Down You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around, The Bed’s Too Big Without You, De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, Demolition Man, Shadows In The Rain, Walking On The Moon, Bring On The Night, One World (Not Three), Roxanne, Don’t Stand So Close To Me, Can’t Stand Losing You

Vina Del Mar, ChileFebruary 20, 1982

Message In A Bottle, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Spirits In The Material World, De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, Demolition Man, Shadows In The Rain, Bring On The Night, One World (Not Three) (incomplete), Roxanne, Don’t Stand So Close To Me, Can’t Stand Losing You, So Lonely

Live Earth – Giants Stadium, New JerseyJuly 7, 2007

Driven to Tears, Roxanne, Can’t Stand Losing You, Message In A Bottle (featuring John Mayer & Kanye West)

 

The Ghost In The Machine Tour ’81-’82 DVD runs nearly 3 hours and includes 3 performances:  two the from the Ghost In The Machine Tour, and one from the Live Earth reunion concert.  The DVD comes in a very attractive digipack.  The front and back covers are a great period wraparound photo of the band.  The inside pages show a wraparound photo of Andy in full sumo regalia, about to tangle with a sumo wrestler (complete with Japanese text).  The DVD menus are clear and easy to navigate both among concerts and songs. 

Vina Del Mar, ChileFebruary 19, 1982

The first performance is from Chile on February 19, 1982 and was pro shot for television broadcast.  The video is not of great quality; it appears to be a couple generations from the original.  Close-ups are relatively clear (close-ups of Sting are the best; it is interesting to see the young blonde egomaniac in his energetic youth).  Wider shots lose most detail, making it very difficult to appreciate the band’s musicianship.  For the portion of the DVD covering Walking On The Moon, Bring On The Night and One World (Not Three), the video and audio quality becomes much worse, indicating a different source was used, many more generations removed from the original.  During this portion of the concert, it is very difficult to see anything which is not a close-up. 

Throughout the concert there are a lot of slo-motion replays.  There are also repetitive close-ups of mirror balls which hang over the stage.  The broadcaster apparently was attempting to be artistic, but succeeded only in being annoying.   

Sting plays a Steinberger bass (distinctive with its lack of a guitar neck), and wears a hoop earring in his right ear.  He sports a black form-fitting athletic shirt with shiny shoulder pads with “Police” on the front, and what appear to be dark blue sweatpants.  Stewart is wearing an “XTC” t-shirt and his customary white short shorts.  Andy is wearing an ugly black and white striped sweater and black pants. 

The audio sounds reasonably good, especially given the age and generation of the source tape.  However, there are some problems.  During portions of Message In A Bottle, the treble drops and the bass increases.  For about 11 seconds during Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, the audio drops in and out, and there is minor disturbance to the video.  The audio again drops in and out for about 15 seconds between Hungry For You and When The World Is Running Down.  During the Bed’s Too Big Without You, the audio slightly drops in and out for a few seconds.  Finally, during the portion utilizing the secondary source, the audio is noticeably worse. 

A female television reporter interviews the band prior to the concert, asking questions in Spanish while a man at her side translates the questions and answers into English.  Sting bounces incessantly, shaking his hands, which Stewart mocks at one point.  At another point, Andy steps in front of Sting, who pushes Andy out of the way.  When the interviewer asks how the band members get along so well, Stewart says:  “we don’t, we hate each other.”  A male announcer then introduces the band and the concert starts. 

There are a number of interesting occurrences and comments during the concert.  Near the beginning of Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Sting yells “Down!” in Andy’s direction, then bends towards Andy and yells something off mike.  After the song ends, Sting goes over towards Andy and again yells something off mike.  Either he is yelling at Andy to turn down his guitar or he’s yelling at someone off stage.    

During De Do Do Do De Da Da Da (where the band really hits their stride), Andy starts sustaining portions of his staccato guitar licks.  Sting holds up his hand to Andy, apparently telling him to stop.  Andy does. 

Following Demolition Man, someone comes running up on stage and hands something to Sting.  He can be heard saying:  “What the hell is this?  What the fuck is it?”  A close-up shows Sting drinking from a cup. 

During Can’t Stand Losing You, a guy (a fan?) comes on stage, taps Andy on the back, and proceeds to stand next to him for a good 30 seconds.  Sting can be heard to comment:  “who’s that?”

Sting carries on between several songs.  For example, Sting says:  “this song is called Shadows In The Rain.  It’s about nuclear holocaust, isn’t it.”  Then he giggles impishly.  During the song, Sting’s facial expression is priceless when he sings:  “he claims I suffer from delusion … Me?” 

Before Spirits In The Material World, Sting comments:  “It seems all the noisy people are up there, all the quiet people are down here.  Maybe you should change places.”  Then, at the beginning of the first encore (Don’t Stand So Close To Me), Sting revisits this notion:  “We’re glad all the old people have gone back to bed.  It’s about time.  I was getting worried about them.  I thought they were going to die off.”  Andy adds:  “Yeah, the old ones down in front.”  Sting then gestures for the upper section to come down, saying:  “I think you should come a bit closer.  No, really.”  Later in the song, the camera shows Chilean military entering the amphitheater (perhaps in response to Sting’s entreaties towards the crowd) ringing the VIPs near the stage and forming a barrier between them and those seated higher.  Sting comments:  “here come the troops.  Can’t get too exited can you?”  Recall this concert occurred during the regime of the brutal Chilean dictator, Pinochet.  The band normally would have done So Lonely as their second encore.  It is not clear whether they did the song and it wasn’t preserved, or whether the concert ended prematurely following the entrance of the troops. 

Vina Del Mar, ChileFebruary 20, 1982

The second performance on the DVD occurs the day after the first and in the same venue.  The band even wears the same clothes as they did the previous evening.  Perhaps they did so in order that footage from the 2nd night could be intermixed with footage from the first night for an eventual broadcast. 

Since they are playing the same songs, in the same venue, and wearing the same clothes, it feels like we’re merely watching a replay of the first concert.  This makes this second performance considerably less enjoyable than it otherwise might have been. 

The quality of the video is on par with that of the first performance.  This second concert clearly was also pro shot for broadcast, complete with many annoying slow motion shots.   

However, the quality of the audio is worse than the first performance.  The upper registers of the guitar and most of the percussion are lost.  In addition, beginning with Roxanne, the audio begins to oscillate/tremble rapidly, which is very annoying and renders the remainder of the concert almost unlistenable. 

After Spirits In The Material World, the camera cuts to the audience and stays there until The Police begins De Do Do Do De Da Da Da.  The transition is seamless; we don’t notice that 3 songs have been cut.  Again, when Sting announces Bring On The Night, the transition is seamless.  We don’t notice that Walking On The Moon has been cut.

The menus note that One World (Not Three) is incomplete.  The DVD preserves first 4:13, which is almost the entire song, then cuts directly into Roxanne, which has already begun. 

There are interesting occurrences and comments during this second performance.  At the beginning of Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Sting flubs his lyrics (he seems to do this most every concert).  He starts off by singing the second verse (“Do I have to tell the story of a thousand rainy days since we first met”), then comes back and sings the first verse (“I’ve tried before to tell her of the feelings I have for her in my heart”) in place of the second. 

During the Regatta De Blanc portion of Can’t Stand Losing You, Sting appears to cup his ear, as though he can’t hear himself sing.  He then turns and yells offstage:  “c’mon Dave!”  Andy stops playing, walks behind Sting and places his hand on his hip while staring offstage as if to emphasize Sting’s complaint to Dave.  While still playing and singing, Sting kicks backwards and lands his foot in Andy’s side.  Andy turns around, and on his way back to his microphone, lands a kick on sting’s backside.  The show must go on, even if the band can’t get along and Dave can’t get the sound right. 

Later, Andy walks downstage and talks to someone in the center orchestra section between the audience and the stage (perhaps Dave?).  Then he walks back on stage, still playing all the while. 

After finishing Regatta De Blanc interlude, Sting says:  “Alright Chile.  This is Chile isn’t it?”  (A question he asks about every other show).  “Alright.  I know, I’ve got a good idea.  I’ve got a brilliant idea.  What about singing the national anthem, no?  No?”  The crowd responds:  No!  Then Sting says:  “We’re going to do that bit again, ‘cause I didn’t think it was quite as good as I thought it would be.  As you probably guessed, I’m talking nonsense.  Alright.”  The band then goes into the Regatta De Blanc interlude for a second time.

Following the second interlude, Andy really starts performing for the crowd, dancing maniacally and leaning the end of the neck of his guitar on the ground while still playing. 

There is no evidence of the military entering the arena this night.  However, prior to the second encore, the band again entreats the crowd to move down.  Sting: “alright this song…”  Stewart:  “come down in front.”  Sting:  “yeah, I think you should actually move forward”  (gestures to crowd to move down, then shrugs) “maybe not.” 

Because of the audio problems, and the sense that we’ve just seen this show before, this second performance doesn’t add a whole lot to the DVD. 

Live Earth – Giants Stadium, New JerseyJuly 7, 2007

The audio of this performance is fine, but the video is not clear as it should be.  There really is no excuse for not having a crystal clear video for this broadcast which occurred only last year. 

A Live Earth logo stays in the lower left, and the Bravo channel logo stays in the lower right.  An annoying crawl sometimes occurs between the two logos.  Finally, a very annoying advertisement for Queer Eye occurs during Can’t Standing Losing You. 

Following a very short introduction by former MTV VJ Duff, Aamer Haleem (the host of VH1′s Bands Reunited), and Dave Holmes (co-host of Fox’s DVD on TV), The Police take the stage. 

Stewart now sports a full head of white hair and, instead of duct tape, wears gloves to support his hands/wrists while drumming.  Sting is still in great shape (as is Stewart), but its sad how much hair he has lost.  Andy is now a little soft in the middle (but still plays wonderfully), and sports an “O my God they killed Kenny” guitar strap. 

All of the songs have been slightly reworked for reunion tour, but still sound great.  Only a couple of quibbles:  the synth (which Sting plays with his feet) is too loud on Driven To Tears.  Also, Sting’s voice sounds a bit ragged at times. 

John Mayer joins the band on stage at the beginning of Message In A Bottle; Kanye West also joints after the 2nd stanza.  Usually guest artists are very annoying; here, they are only slightly annoying.  At first, Mayer precisely mimics Andy; later, it sounds as though they play in harmony.  As for Kanye, it is true what they say:  he is a great artist, but not a great rapper. 

After finishing their four song set, Sting introduces Al Gore, who shakes everyone’s hand then says goodnight.  The camera then cuts back to Duff, Haleem and Holmes, who do a short outtro.  This non-Police footage is completely unnecessary, and should not have been included. 

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1 Comment

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  1. Avatar of tinman44
    tinman44 says
    September 15, 2008, 2:37 pm

    Compare with the very similar DVD: The Police – The Best Of What’s Still Around (Apocalypse Sound AS-124)

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