Sting - lead vocals, bass; Andy Summers - guitar, backing vocals; Stewart Copeland - drums, backing vocals
Headlining a bill that featured Robert Johnson and The Knack, the Police hit the stage at the University of California at Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall. It was their first visit to Berkeley (although Stewart Copeland announces "I went to school here about five years ago"), and they were still making their mark in the States. The trio's aggressive, hard edged attack combined with their eccentric take on reggae's groove was beginning to capture the attention of American audiences. Although all three members had extensive musical experience and backgrounds, their straightforward adrenaline-charged music firmly locked them into the punk/new wave movement.
Not surprisingly, their repertoire was still primarily limited to their 1978 debut album, Outlandos d'Amour. Every track on the album, with the exception of the final one, "Masoko Tanga," is performed live here. In addition to the early Sting classics like "Roxanne" and the reggae-rock anthems to unrequited love, "So Lonely" and "Can't Stand Losing You," they are still performing the early contributions from Summers and Copeland, such as "Be My Girl" and "Peanuts."
Although many perceived the bandmembers to be far younger than they actually were, a couple of songs in this performance contain obvious references to the contrary, like "Born In The 50s." Sting also segues the band in and out of the 1967 Beatles composition, "Fixin' A Hole," during "Hole In My Life."
In addition to the first album material, the set is fleshed out with two early songs that didn't make the first album and would not be included in the follow-up. Relegated to obscurity are a high energy version of "Fall Out" and "Landlord" which transitions directly into "Next To You" to close the set. Having exhausted all their material, they exit the stage, but the sold-out crowd of 3000 won't let them go. They return for an encore and whip into the song that kicked off the show, "Can't Stand Losing You," for a second time.
Although they would soon venture into more ambitious songwriting territory and diversify their sound, this show captures the Police between their first and second albums and at their most direct. Their sound still possesses a raw edge and their energy is undeniably explosive. This recording captures the Police in their early glory, still a hungry band and full of the raw aggression that put them on the musical map.