The Police – Paradiso 1979 (Wardour-523)

The Police, ‘Paradiso 1979’ (Wardour 523)

DJ Intro / Can’t Stand Losing You / Truth Hits Everybody / So Lonely / Fall Out / Born In The 50’s / Hole In My Life / The Bed’s Too Big Without You / Be My Girl – Sally / Message In A Bottle / Peanuts / Roxanne / Next To You / Can’t Stand Losing You – Reggatta De Blanc (60:16)
Live at Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 22nd June, 1979.
After a while of very little Police activity in bootleg circles, the Wardour label suddenly tripped up a great batch of recordings again and this title was one of a great batch of recordings that were thrown out there.
A superb, complete FM recording in wide stereo, this catches the band on their second go-around in the Netherlands capitol, Amsterdam at that beautiful old-church, The Paradiso (Opposite the wonderful Record Palace – Hoi Jan!) on the Leidesplein. Their second show in the city after playing previously in the smaller Melkweg on their 3 year long ‘The Police Around The World’ tour. 
By 1979, the band were slowly picking up gusto and acclaim – their chart success in the UK at least was sluggish and the band stuck between punk and new wave were sometimes derided for their poppy appearance, their musicality however was much more solid than some of the other punk bands who were still stapled to their “Learn three chords, form a band” ethos, the Police had muscular musical chops, their shows the furious quality that new-wave bands were sometimes lacking, they were however wordy, their broad remit of songs wider of the mark than their nihilistic punk peers. 
The bands history was literally a case of musical chairs – The members drifting in and out of each others spheres before settling as a trio shortly before recording their inaugural album – They would shortly begin to build on their stage presence for the following tour, tonight however, they stuck to their spacial basis of just the three band members. All the better for it maybe as it allows the band alone to show their already formidable prowess. 
This show is as tight as a drum-skin – 15 tracks of pop-quality length in 60 mins are stitched together seamlessly with very little time for the band to take a swig of water or even chat. They swoop through proceedings as quickly as a hawk and leave you gasping to catch up. Often gasping as in the case of ‘Sally’, Andy Summers twisted take on something like a John-Cooper Clarke poem which the crowd are only too happy to recite back to the band. I guess there’s no need to translate the language of love, whatever form it takes. 
There’s a fantastic extended ‘Roxanne’ that rolls nearly 7 minutes long that the crowd lap up and Sting speeds through like he’s just heard that the bar has been lined up with brown ale in his honour. 
The covers for this CD are really nice – In stark black and white with red lettering, they feature a sweet, neat aesthetic, great band graphics and are really easy to read. A great package.
I’ll be honest, this was my first Police boot – I knew the hits, I was happy to leap right in. Down to the quality of the sound, the set itself and the fact that Wardour generally put together a great image – I was pleased I’d picked up this disk for my collection. If you’re in the same place I was, you’ll be happy you did too. If you’re a Police devotee, you’ll love this.

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