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Police announce tour dates

No Southern California stops are among the first round of concerts, but the reunited band is expected to play L.A.

February 13, 2007|Geoff Boucher and Randy Lewis | Times Staff Writers

A familiar voice was piped into the Whisky on Monday, and the audience that crowded the West Hollywood club laughed out loud when they heard it: It was an excerpt of a dated interview with Sting, and the famously droll rock star was answering a question about the prospects of a reunion of his old band, the Police.

"It would be cause for having me certified insane," the Brit said, an edge in his voice. The next moment, on a staircase leading down to the small stage, there was the real Sting, along with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers, and the long-awaited Police reunion seemed just crazy enough to work.

Sting, smiling, told the crowd that if they saw a chap with a white coat in the back to "just let him through."

The trio that split at the height of their popularity more than two decades ago got back together on Sunday night too, to open the 49th Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center. The Monday event, for the media and some lucky fans, was part news conference and part rehearsal session, both to promote the reunion tour of the band.

The tour opens May 28 in Vancouver, Canada, and includes a June 16 headlining date at the Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tenn. The initial itinerary, which concludes with concerts Aug. 1 and 3 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, consists of 14 summer shows in 13 North American cities -- and no Southern California tour stop. But Monday's announcement promised additional concerts to be identified in coming weeks, including Los Angeles, and 12 other cities.

The group also plans to capitalize on its international following with more performances in the fall in Britain and elsewhere in Europe as well as Mexico, South America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand

There will be arena shows and some stadium stops, and Sting said the defining attraction would be the reunited musicians on stage, not elaborate special effects or a bevy of backup singers and horns. "Three guys on stage. That's all."

It's three guys that many thought would never share a stage again. Although Sting has toured regularly since the Police disbanded, typically performing signature songs from the group's repertoire, a full-fledged Police reunion ups the buzz factor considerably.

In the world of concert promotion, "Sting on his own is a great act that everybody fights over," said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the concert industry tracking publication Pollstar. "They're going to be fighting even harder to get the Police."

Copeland noted that the band's fights in the past were always about musical direction. "We never hated each other," he said, while Sting, sipping tea, groaned and shook his head in mock protest. When Sting said the band was already quarreling again, Summers leaned into the microphone and muttered, "No, we're not." Then Sting: "Yes, we are."

The next three months of rehearsals will sharpen their skills, but will the band make new music? The members each sidestepped that question repeatedly Monday, suggesting that they may wait to see how their newfound reconciliation plays out.

The tour is being organized by Live Nation, and because of tour sponsorship from Best Buy, priority access to tickets will be given to the mass merchandisers' customers who belong to its rewards program. Only those who had memberships active before Feb. 1 will get the early access. Prices will range from about $50 to $225 in most markets. The only shows with on-sale dates announced are those in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal (on sale Saturday) and in Boston and New York (on sale Feb. 20).

The Police's opening act will be Fiction Plane, another trio with a bassist whose surname is Sumner: Joe Sumner, one of six children of Sting, whose real name is Gordon Sumner.

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geoff.boucher@latimes.com

randy.lewis@latimes.com

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