The first live album by The Police called Live! featured two concerts, one from 1979 and the other from 1983.
These two concert recordings are so different that I have done separate reviews which show the different track lists and album sources as well as my views.
The Police Live in Boston 1979 – rating 27/30
The Police Live In Atlanta 1983 – rating 20/30
The Police Were A Great Singles Band
I see The Police as a group that produced an excellent series of singles from 1978 to 1983 but didn’t create a truly classic album. To justify this statement, I turn to BestEverAlbums.com where users can create their own lists of classic albums which are then compiled:
- #250 Synchronicity (as at 21 September 2014)
- #595 Outlandos D’Amour
- #680 Regatta De Blanc
- #691 Ghost In The Machine
- #769 Zenyatta Mondatta
I also believe there is a difference between the British and American view of The Police. In the UK, The Police had #1 albums from their second, Regatta De Blanc onwards and each won a platinum disc. In The USA, The Police albums grew in popularity with only the last (Synchronicity) getting to #1 and earning 8 platinum discs compared to three for the next most popular (Ghost In The Machine).
Perhaps the singles show the impact even more starkly:
From Outlandos D’Amour
- Roxanne (#12 in the UK, #32 in the US)
- Can’t Stand Losing You (#2, -)
- So Lonely (#6, -)
From Regatta De Blanc
- Message In A Bottle (#1, #74)
- Walking On The Moon (#1, -)
From Zenyatta Mondatta
- Don’t Stand So Close To Me (#1, #10)
- De Do Do Do (#5, #10)
From Ghost In The Machine
- Invisible Sun (#2, -)
- Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic (#1, #3)
- Spirits In The Material World (#12, #11)
- Secret Journey (-, #46)
- Every Breath You Take (#1, #1)
- Wrapped Around Your Finger (#7, #8)
- Synchronicity II (#17, #16)
- King Of Pain (#17, #3)
Synchronicity showed The Police in decline in the UK but growing in popularity in the United States wither their first #1 single in Every Breath You Take and another #3 with King Of Pain which matched their previous best achieved by Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.
Overall The Police Live! Album
The first CD is terrific. Just what you’d want from an early recording of The Police.
The second is a disappointment and, if you buy it as an mp3, I urge you to reclassify the two concerts so you don’t listen to one and then the other. The fall in performance is alarming.
It’s much more manageable if you listen to them as two different albums which is easy to do with the CDs. I find that if I enjoy an album, I’ll keep hitting the replay button or just let it circle around in the car.
As I mentioned earlier, there may be a British bias towards the first Cd and an American bias to the second. I’m certainly agreeing with my countrymen.
An arithmetic average of 27 and 20 would be 23.5 but I don’t want you to miss out on the first concert since the pricing is reasonable. I’ll therefore round up to 24 which gives it a recommended assessment.
What Others Say
You can hear 30 second samples of each of the songs at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. I recommend that you do it before buying.
Buying The Police Live!
You can get this very good live album from:
What Do You Think?
Is this the best of the Sting live cds?
Best Live Albums Of All Time
The Police Live! is included in the poll to find the best classic rock live albums.
If You Like This, I Think You Will Also Like…
Are The Police classic rock or punk reggae?
- The Slits Live At the Gibus Club 1978 (if you like punk reggae with a rougher edge)
- Sting Bring On The Night 1985
- Dire Straits Alchemy 1983