31 Years Ago: The Police Play Their Last Concert
“After five formative years and five albums, you grow apart,” drummer Stewart Copeland told Musician in 1983. “Now, the only thing that the three of us have in common is onstage and on that album. That’s the only place we achieve synchronicity.”
“It sounds kind of jaded to say, but we’ve achieved all our goals,” he added later in the same interview. “When it comes to the Police, we have to think up some new goals.”
Still, Copeland, Sting and guitarist Andy Summers hardly coasted during their final months together. The trio embarked on a tour of arenas and stadiums that started in July 1983 and wound its way around the world before landing at the Melbourne Showgrounds in Melbourne on March 4, 1984.
It was widely known this was the last Police show for a while; in a pre-show interview, Copeland freely admitted, “we have no studio time booked; no concerts booked; nothing booked.”
However, save for three shows in 1986 as part of the Amnesty International-associated ‘A Conspiracy of Hope’ tour and their 2003 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, this Australian show ended up being the band’s last time playing a full concert together as the Police until early-2007.
Playing in front of 50,000 people, the Police ran through a set heavy on songs from Synchronicity (only “Mother” and “Miss Gradenko” were missing) and covered plenty of chart hits, from “Message in a Bottle” and “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” to “Roxanne.”
The night ended with an extended version of “So Lonely” that meandered into pop-reggae territory. The song felt bittersweet and, well, rather final — making it an appropriate cap on a successful and influential career first act.
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