Happy Birthday Stewart Copeland: The Police Go (Mostly) Instrumental For 1984 Session

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Drummer Stewart Copeland celebrates a birthday today, as the co-founding member of The Police was born in Alexandria, Virginia on this date in 1952. Stewart formed The Police with bassist Sting and guitarist Henry Padovani in 1977, who was soon replaced by Andy Summers, and the trio went on to become one of the best-selling rock acts in the world and a huge draw in concert before breaking up in 1986.

Copeland’s aggressive, heavily physical style is unlike any other drummer that came before or after him. While Sting’s lyrics and stage presence garnered the most attention from the mainstream, Stewart’s distinctive drumming was at the heart of The Police’s music. The trio was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2003 and reunited for a 151-concert reunion tour that spanned 2007 – 2008, which grossed over $350 million.

In February of 1984, The Police was at the peak of their powers. The band was seven months into a massive world tour in support of 1983’s Synchronicity, which turned out to be the final Police studio album, and had over 50 shows under their belts. Copeland, Sting and Summers assembled on February 18, 1984 at Universal Recording Corporation’s Studio A to record their now-honed live set. Sting doesn’t do much singing in an attempt to save his voice during an off-day on the tour. As such, the resulting recording displays Stewart and Andy at their best and allows listeners to hear the trio without Sting’s voice or those of the three backing vocalists that shared the stage at each show.

The Police also extend some of the songs ever so slightly. Included within are a number of tracks from Syncronicity as well as such classics as “Message In A Bottle,” “Hole In My Life” and “Spirits In The Material World.”

“I recall that on a day off during the Synchronicity tour, we loaded in to a Chicago recording studio with the entire stage setup: risers, monitors and all,” Copeland’s drum tech Jeff Seitz said as per The Police Wiki. “The idea was to capture the band’s onstage performance in their prime, with minimal vocals, with the intent of adding them later. Sting was not singing at performance level to save his voice. We were in the middle of the tour and had a show the night before and two back to backs coming up.”

Listen to the recording of the session below:

Setlist

Synchronicity I, Synchronicity II, Walking In Your Footsteps, Message In A Bottle, Walking On The Moon, Oh My God, De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, Wrapped Around Your Finger, Tea In The Sahara, Hole In My Life (multiple times), Spirits In The Material World, One World (Not Three), King Of Pain, Don’t Stand So Close To Me