The Police could've done anything they wanted and received thunderous applause as Saturday's Bonnaroo headliners. Opening with Message in a Bottle and finishing slightly less than two hours later with Next to You, the band gave Bonnaroo familiar favorites, but often with new approaches.
It's amazing just how much music these three musicians can create -- and it's to their credit that they didn't bring additional musicians or backing tapes -- but it's also remarkable how much more they put on their recordings. The band has rearranged several songs, notably Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic and Walking in Your Footsteps. In a marked change from early-career shows, where the trio often performed their material at breakneck tempos, some of these songs, like Truth Hits Everybody and Wrapped Around Your Finger, have slowed considerably with passing years.
Not that any of the 80,000 people there -- and pretty much everybody who came to Bonnaroo had crowded into the main field -- cared.
"I was way too obsessive about them when I was younger; I can't watch it objectively," said Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger, who estimates he saw the band 25 times during its original run but hadn't caught the reunion tour yet. "I worshipped this band my whole childhood."
The band apparently has tightened its act since the disastrous Vancouver gig drummer Stewart Copeland wrote about in his blog. The group also played fewer songs for the Bonnaroo crowd than they've performed at other tour stops, omitting numbers like Don't Stand So Close to Me and Spirits in the Material World that they've included during other shows.
Here's the set list:
Message in a Bottle
Walking on the Moon
Driven to Tears
Voices Inside My Head/When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around
Truth Hits Everybody
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Wrapped Around Your Finger
The Bed's Too Big Without You
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
Walking in Your Footsteps
Can't Stand Losing You
King of Pain
Every Breath You Take
Next to You