St. Valentine Day (Tarantura TCDP-1)
Nanko Sun Plaza, Tokyo, Japan – February 14th, 1980
Disc 1 (Side FBI): Introduction, Next to You, So Lonely, Walking On The Moon, Hole In My Life, Deathwish, Fall Out, Truth Hits Everybody, Bring On The Night, Visions Of The Night, Message In A Bottle
Disc 2 (Side CIA): Peanuts (Fade In), The Bed’s Too Big Without You, Roxanne, Can’t Stand Losing You, Landlord, Born In The 50’s, No Time This Time
With their first Police show, Tarantura brings us a concert never before released on silver CD. The source is a very good audience recording which has been excellently produced, though the bass sounds are underrepresented and the synth slightly over represented. Occasionally audience members appear in the foreground of the mix, but they distract very little.
This was the first show The Police ever played in Japan, a fact which Sting makes reference to several times. Following a very nice performance of “Visions Of The Night,” Sting says: “That was called ‘Visions Of The Night.’ I don’t suppose you’ve heard that before. That’s the first time in Japan.” Again, just before the first encore, he says: “Thanks for making our first gig in this country such a nice one.” Perhaps nervous, the band seems just a little off on many of the songs, particularly Andy. However, they do seem to be enjoying themselves. Just before “Bring On The Night,” Sting excitedly shows the crowd his “brand new guitar … an eight string bass I’m very pleased to have.” “Walking On The Moon” sounds quite good, and leading up to the first encore, the band takes an extended tour of several songs, including at 10+ minute version of “The Bed’s Too Big Without You.” Curiously, the band dropped the entire 2nd verse from “Born In The 50s.” They usually did not play a second encore, so this song would normally end the show. Perhaps they felt the song worked better as a closing number without the 2nd verse. The second encore and final song is “No Time This Time,” which The Police rarely played live. The only other version of this song to appear on silver CD is from a May 4th, 1979 show in Miami, and appears as an additional track on both Lost BBC Studio Tapes 78-79 (Masquerad MQ007) and Evolution 2 (Golden Stars WPCD 1086). Unfortunately, as in the Miami version, the band races through the song at breakneck speed, as if trying to impress the audience with their punk bonafides.
Overall, this is a very nice addition to any collection. It should be noted, however, that The Police played the same venue and apparently the same set list the very next night, and that show was recorded for FM broadcast. Obviously, the quality of that show is better; however, the complete FM show has yet to appear on silver CD. See the upcoming review of Tokio Yeah! (Tarantura TCDP-2) for more details on this puzzling development. (JB)