Ask a Dilettante – Police, -ists

Did you see The Police reunion tour at Toyota Center Friday night? I know you like all that old crap.

You’re only as old as you feel, sir. And yes, Dilettante saw the show. Sigh. Here’s the deal. The Police broke up before I was old enough to go to concerts. So for the past twenty-something years, I’ve regretted never having seen them live. Sure, I’ve been to more than my share of Sting concerts, but I try to keep that under my hat. And I don’t wear a hat, so you can imagine how hard that’s been.

When the rumor was going around that the Police were going to do a “surprise” performance at the Grammys, I greeted the news with cautious optimism. When I watched their performance at the awards show, the optimism turned to outright fear. Not only did they do one of their crappiest songs (Roxanne), but they didn’t sound all that great. I was not going to pass up the opportunity to see them in Houston, however, so I bought tickets the moment they went on sale. Guess they were a hot commodity because the pair of seats I purchased were behind the stage.

The seats were so shitty, a sherpa led us only part of the way there. He handed each of us a small baggie with some sort of jerky in it and told us to “stay together.” He lingered a moment longer, then left to make his way back down to ground level. After shooing off the goats that were in our seats, we each took a hit of oxygen from the tank we’d stolen from the sherpa. The crappy view ended up being not bad for two reasons: Sting’s ass (yoga) and Stewart Copeland’s drumming (wow). Andy Summers looked like a guitar teacher who had to step in at the last minute to play a student recital in a gymnasium. It was like he was embarrassed to be there yet couldn’t help but wail on the guitar, all the while wearing a disinterested look on his face so no one would think he was having fun.

As for the music part of the show, they played new arrangements of many of their songs. None were as bad as Spinal Tap’s Jazz Odyssey period, but they were certainly reminiscent. “Hope you enjoy our new direction.” If these guys had been touring for the past twenty-five years, I’d understand their desire to play old songs in new ways. But this is a reunion tour, and many people in the audience never got to hear these songs in their original form. I’ve already heard the jazzy versions during Sting concerts (back under the hat, you), so I wanted (and expected) the undiluted version at this show. Still, I’m glad to have gone. And there’s a little bit of that jerky left.

I read Houstonist religiously and Austinist when I feel like being a mainstream hipster, but I’m confused right now. Are you and your -ist friends now writing for Texas Monthly? What gives?

Q&A columns are popping up like CVS stores lately, aren’t they? Guess a lot of people have questions and a lot of other people think they have answers. At least your friend Dilettante is the only columnist (I think) who combines the snotty third person with the more regular first person. No, it’s not grammatically correct. But that’s okay. You and I understand each other. As for your question, as far as Dilettante can tell the new Texanist column has nothing to do with Houstonist, Austinist or any of the other -ist sites. Also, it looks like Texanist doesn’t make up his letters like Dilettante sometimes does (though this particular entry was sparked by a real letter). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

Thanks for the compliment, Texas Monthly.

[This column originally appeared in its entirety on Houstonist.]