The Police

150 150 Rob McGibbon

Hmmm. A rare moment to post something of a lighter note, something more up beat. You know, that’s the trouble with this blogging gig, it is all too easy and obvious for it to simply become a whinge machine, a place to vent thy spleen. It’s a shame really because you just end up sounding like – and feeling like – an angry old grouch, that nothing is all that good, when indeed most of the time you really do look on the brighter side…

News that The Police are reforming to tour again brought back a happy memory. My first concert was to see them. I’ve just had to check the actual date – I’m not a spod for things like that. (Two clicks and I found that date. Still amazing, isn’t it?) So, on the 22nd December 1979, I saw Sting and the other two at Lewisham Odeon. The concert was a major treat after one of my sisters – Ali – had queued from 5am at Capital Radio and swapped some toys for some tickets. I think it must have been the earliest days of Help A London Child.

When I was picked up from boarding school for the Christmas holidays and told by her that I was going to see The Police, well, that moment of elation is still a freeze frame in my head. A real, grown up concert. I was 14. OK, I have no doubt there are better, more dangerous, rarer “first concert” anecdotes, but for me it was, Wow.

My singular lasting image of that night – incredible that only one survives – is Sting singing Roxanne. We had good seats, central, me standing on mine. When he hit the chorus the entire theatre lit up red. And there was Sting, immersed in this red glow. Hell, I wanted to be a rock star.

I’ve just flipped through a normally detailed diary from 1979 – a diary was the spleen venting equivalent of a blog during boarding school – and I’m a little gutted to find no entry for 22nd December. You see, I was too busy having fun to write. (Now there’s a lesson!) But on the 23rd there’s a couple of lines, asterixed from after Christmas detailing presents received etc. It says: “I bought a really nice pair of black Pointed shoes with the money grandad gave me. With wooden heel, leather soles and leather uppers”.

I may have just seen The Police, but what I didn’t know then was that becoming a semi-Mod and seeing The Jam at The Rainbow awaited…