The Police concert Monday night was probably the biggest production that will happen at Red Rocks all year. Despite its size, the show ran like clockwork.
After Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up" pumped over the public-address system, the houselights dropped and Stewart Copeland started the evening off with a swing at the huge gong behind him. Guitarist Andy Summers came out and launched into the opening riff of "Message in a Bottle."
The band sounded tight as it plowed through hit after hit. The guitar work by Summers on "Demolition Man" and "Driven to Tears" alternated between frenzied distortion and lighter rhythm playing. Sting played to the crowd throughout the evening. Looking trim and smiling, he frequently would sing half a lyric and then let the crowd finish it.
While the Police didn't play any new material, they did rework some of their classics. "Wrapped Around Your Finger" was played at a slower tempo, and Summers' guitar was much more prominent, adding a spooky edge to the song, while Copeland left his drum kit to play a variety of instruments, including the xylophone.
The set list was a little different than the one at the Pepsi Center last year, and they ended with two encores, including a searing version of "So Lonely."
But given their body language, it was easy to see why this may be the last-ever Police tour. Summers and Sting rarely looked at each other and mostly stayed on separate sides of the stage. Elvis Costello opened the evening with a ragged sounding set, delivering most of his hits.
"Pump It Up" and "Watching the Detectives" were two early highlights, and Sting came out and sang a verse and harmonies on the chorus of "Alison."
The Police and Costello play again tonight at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.