|Country of origin:||Germany|
|Fan of:||The Police|
|Favorite Police-related album:||Outlandos d'Amour|
|Favorite Police-related song:||A Sermon|
|Website:||no need for my own website, when this is here...|
The Early Years
For years and years I regretted not having been able to see a live concert by The Police in the 70s or 80s. I still do. But in the meantime a lot happened that would ease my pain :)
I still needed to see Stewart Copeland play some drums.
So on 2002-07-22 our little band drove to Ibbenbüren, because Stewart was promoting TAMA drums in a music store. He was supposed to sign autographs and answer a few questions starting at 4pm. We hoped he might pick up some drumsticks, too. He didn't. When we arrived at the Musik Produktiv store he sat at a table in the main hall and was being interviewed by press people. In the upper store he signed some stuff people brought. There were only about 20 people present, so he had all the time to do some small talk. We shook hands, he made some jokes about Sting and jazz, signed records and DVDs and that was it... No drumming...
In the next years I would join the forums on Ian Copeland's and then Stewart's website. That was a very wise decision.
In early 2006 things looked very promising Police-wise. Stewart had finished his home movie about The Police. Stewart and Andy had "reunited" with Sting in Park City while promoting Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out at the Sundance film festival. Not only one, but two Andy Summers books were about to be published. Things were good.
Out of the blue things suddenly would become incredibly great!
I wasn't sure what to expect from this e-mail, but after reading it it was clear that it was indeed sent by Stewart Copeland. Although he had finished a version of Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out for the Sundance film festival, releasing this movie on DVD was another story. People in the movie had to be contacted and asked if they were OK with this. Otherwise the film would have to be re-cut.
Stewart's e-mail was about two German artists who appear for only a few seconds in the middle of ES. Stewart intended to find these two people although no one would have missed these few seconds if they were cut from the movie (except, for some reasons, Stewart). The problem was that Stewart didn't know who they were or even when or where he recorded this super-8 footage.
Why me? Stewart had probably read posts on either Ian's or his own forum and he had learned two things about me: a) I'm German b) I know my stuff
So now it became my job to find those two persons :)
I received very short movie segments, stills and mp3 files. But I immediately recognized that this job would be hard. As I've read and re-read every teenage magazine from the late 70s and early 80s it was clear that those two people were no stars and their songs were no common part of German culture...
Identifying the TV show they appeared in was the easiest part, but neither the TV show nor the TV channel existed anymore. I contacted the TV channel's successor and they went to their archive to look if they could find the show and make a copy on VHS.
I used forums in the internet to identify the songs by using the text fragments from Stewart's short footage. On February 13, 2006 I flew to London for a few days of shopping. Being there I kept on working and exchanging e-mails with Stewart. Stewart would fly to London, too, but when he arrived I was already gone...
Identifying the first artist and his song was rather easy, but finding the real person was a problem. I gave Stewart and his management a few options on doing this on their own and - yes - I even did something not quite 100% legal to find his real address - it was for the greater good, after all...
On March 19, 2006 - after having received and studied the complete TV show on VHS - I finally managed to find the second artist including his real name, telephone number and e-mail address. My work was done.
As I refused to receive any money for my efforts I got an advance copy of ES (the Sundance film festival cut) in late March. A month later another DVD with the bonus material arrived. But the best bonus would be Stewart answering a LOT of questions about The Police!
The Man Himself
After a period of grief and cancelling Q&As for his movie Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out Stewart was coming to Munich on 2006-07-16 - on his birthday. His movie was part of the International Munich Film Festival. Just when the awesome football (soccer) world championship had ended beautiful Munich was invaded by film people from around the world... I bought some tickets on the internet, but before driving the 600km distance I asked Derek Power if it would be worth the effort. He confirmed that there would be a Q&A. I hired a car to drive to Munich and back in one day. Before the movie screening I met Gert and his cameraman inside the cinema. They were working on a documentary about Stewart, The Police and the fans and had already done an interview with Stewart on the same day. An old friend of mine now lives in Munich and his girlfriend has connections to Eberhard Schoener. So we met Eberhard before the screening and Gert got the opportunity to do an interview session in the cinema afterwards.
Inside the cinema Eberhard introduced The Police and Stewart in particular with very kind words. The movie itself was slightly different to my advance copy. The sound was bad, but that was just a technical problem of the cinema. The movie itself would have been in Dolby Digital 5.1., but the cinema showed it in some other format. So the music was deafeningly loud compared to the spoken language.
After the movie Stewart entertained the audience with some stand up comedy and answered lots of questions. He talked about the process of making the movie and releasing it on DVD. Then he told the story of some German artists who appear in the movie for seconds only.
I thought: Wait a minute. That can't be. Does he tell my story ? I think he does... What is he up to? As it turned out he did tell my story. Before finishing it he asked "Is Dietmar here?" and made me get up and receive my applause for finding those artists. Not bad at all. And Gert recorded this on film :)
After the Q&A Stewart and I finally met and I gave him his birthday present - a very early and rare live gig of The Police on CD. Then he took some time to talk to a few fans and autographed stuff. The friend I mentioned earlier took a photo of Stewart and me which clearly shows that I wasn't yet used to be in the presence of rock stars... I look like a bunny about to get shot.
I tried to find Gert again. Found him doing the interview with Eberhard Schoener inside the cinema room where the screening had taken place. Eberhard Schoener is a kind man. He talked very quiet, yet very passionate about music. At one point during this interview Stewart Copeland entered the room and spread his arms as if he wanted to embrace not only Eberhard, but the whole world. Eberhard smiled while continuing his interview.
Derek Power was also present - another very kind man. I finally watched the three of them leaving the cinema together as they were going to enjoy themselves in a warm Munich night.
Then I drove home again - it was a long way back, but you might guess that I was in a good mood.
Stewart kept on promoting his movie around the world. As I found out Munich wasn't the only place where he mentioned my efforts. He kept on talking about this in Q&As, during press interviews and even on radio and TV! I still can't believe that he thought my contribution was such a big deal.
In December 2006 there were rumours about a possible reunion of The Police. Of course Stewart wouldn't answer any questions about that as Sting's management threatened to shoot Stewart's kids if he talked...
But there was something going on and at one point it was obvious that The Police were back! I couldn't do the trip to the Whisky rehearsal in LA as it came at such short notice - that's again something I regret, but I can't change that now... My work was in the way. But over the next months I made sure that work would never get in the way of me seeing The Police again.
The Police 2007
On 2007-05-27 I flew to Vancouver to witness my first ever live gig of The Police. I had an appointment with DM-Kellie in the queue. The safest way to recognize her was to look out for a certain green flag. Don't know what happened to that one. So after arriving at the airport and driving to my hotel with a taxi I walked to GM Place. The first people I saw were DM-Kellie, Conroy, GinaSuperCat and if I'm not mistaken SamburuSunset and Mercury Rising. Laz and Gert were also around. I had to get my 4 tickets which I bought with 2 accounts on tp.com. DM-Kellie got two tickets and I Gert got the other ones. I was interviewed by Jordan Copeland, as were Conroy and Gina. And I did an interview for a German TV channel, but they didn't broadcast my bit. We were among the first 200 people so we got into the fan club party (without The Police, of course, but with lots of known faces plus Dave and Wendy from tp.com). This party was inside the GM Place in a pub above the stage. I looked down and saw the empty arena. The stage was being prepared for the concert. The Footsteps animation was running - at that moment seeing The Police in concert became real. I wanted to end the party. I wanted to get down and get to my seat in row 13. Took the first opportunity to get there. Being there I was surprised that I wasn't that excited anymore...
The Police came out and talked a bit before they did their rehearsal gig. The first two songs blew me away! The feelings were overwhelming, my mouth was open. They were so powerful! Things slowed down a bit... The rest was not really bad, but still a letdown after that powerful start. A few songs were too slow or just not that exciting. But I loved most of the changes, especially the new bass line in Moon and Invisible Sun. But I was so tired from travelling that I was just not experiencing this concert as the life changing event that it should have been... But how could it have met my unspecified expectations in the first place?
While other fans later met to chat about the gig I headed straight to my hotel and had a good night's sleep.
2007-05-28 After some sightseeing I went to GM Place early again and was immediately interviewed for some internet channel. This night's seat was on Sting's side a little bit behind the band, so I could watch Stewart all the time. And that's what I did. I enjoyed this concert, now knowing what to expect musically, just watching Stewart's movements. Gert interviewed me after the concert. At first I didn't want to, but I noticed while doing this that I began to enjoy it - and I was satisfied that my English was not too bad. I told Gert that The Police played OK, but that I probably wouldn't see more concerts than I already had bought tickets for (which was about 10). Yeah, right!
May 29 Mercury Rising was taking me, Gert and his cameraman on the same trip she did the day before with other fans - to the rehearsal spaces in the Squamish reserve, Lion's Gate Studios and to the docks where The Police had their open air rehearsal a few days before. The Squamish town hall was open, so we got in. While Gert did some interviews, some worker showed me a carpet that The Police had used in the whole hall for rehearsals. Pieces of that carpet were still all over the place. So I asked if I could have some. If I had a van I could have taken everything. But as it was I just grabbed a huge piece. Then someone saw the chance to get rid of all the junk The Police left and brought me an empty bottle of water (which according to him only Sting used). Fine, I'll take that, too - if you insist :)
We saw more - Lion's Gate Studios from outside. The docks - not that clear where they were rehearsing... And the sightseeing - what a great landscape - mountains, forests, suspension bridges, the beach... This was definitely the best day so far- and it's one without The Police playing!
2007-05-30 - the "disaster gig"! Mercury Rising told radio channel "rock101" about me, so I found myself doing yet another interview right before the third concert. I had a seat on Sting's side again. 8th row from the stage - great view. I loved that The Police made mistakes that day. I really began to enjoy all the changes and loved being at this concert. A fast middle part in Footsteps, lots of jams. Sadly Truth... was left out :(
Between 10:30 and 11:30pm I waited with Gert and others at the backstage entrance to see The Police leave. Sting's car stopped for some autographs. Stewart's stopped for some handshakes. Andy's car didn't stop, but he waved.
Back at the hotel I noticed that Stewart had hurried to write his famous "disaster gig" thread. Why does he still think of me after my little efforts more than a year ago? I was the first person to see and respond to that historic thread which would be all over the press in the next days - worldwide!
The next day I met for dinner with Toni, Xavier and Miquel from Barcelona - and that's where I really began to enjoy meeting people from all over the world. All in all Vancouver was great - I saw The Police, I saw a great unique city and I met my first nutters (although I didn't spend much time with them there - but I promised myself to catch up some other time)...
The European Tour
2007-09-16 - Geneve, Switzerland
After watching a few gigs with my Sabine from middle distances (Twickenham, Hamburg, Amsterdam) I went to Geneve on my own. (Sabine was more enthusiastic than I was. Always looking forward to the next concert when Next To You was just finished :)
Geneve was the worst experience I had. I was ill, had the flu. But I had paid a horrendous sum for the train tickets, so I went there, although not in best shape. I met Simon and Giovanni in Geneve. While I had a seat on Andy's side they were inside the Golden Circle directly in front of the stage. Giovanni came over to my place and suggested we might be able to get backstage later. I said that as nice as that sounded I wouldn't risk spreading the flu any further.
Watching this concert while being ill and from a rather far away seat was a letdown. I thought I had seen too many The Police gigs by now. The Flag people at the front had all the fun. It was either not going to any more concerts or experiencing the thrill of getting to the front when there's a chance. No, I finally HAD to get to the front. When I bought the first tickets for the European tour I really thought I'd be too old for this shit and would prefer sitting down and watch a concert like sitting comfortably in my living room. I was so wrong.
2007-09-19 - Vienna, Austria
Hours before the doors opened I met some Sting fans in front of the venue, Luuk, Rüdiger, Stepanka, Timo and Peterlien. They convinced me that it's worth to go the extra mile and to get in line early to get into front row. When the doors finally opened after what seemed like a year of waiting the running began. Everybody's ticket had to be checked. And you were searched by thorough Austrians. I felt like I was searched longer than everybody else because to my right people kept passing me. Good that those didn't know what The Police's pitch looks like. Because they took the first entrance into the main hall they were on the wrong side of the barrier. I headed up to the end of the corridor where I managed to get a wristband and then headed to the front row. Had a nice place in the middle slightly more to Sting's side (again?) but almost dead center.
I've seen various venues where there was a large gap between the first row and the stage. Here it was like nothing, just enough space for the cameras and nothing else. So when The Police finally appeared it was like they were playing in my living room, so close I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to shoot too many photos because you get distracted and don't listen to all the music anymore. But I had to use this opportunity, so I took about 200 photos while still catching everything what was happening - AND waving The Flag from time to time.
Some press photographers were in the way for the first song, but this was over soon and I had a good chance to capture Stewart's attention during Synchronicity II. While he was busy drumming he saw me and the flag and his face changed into a funny expression of recognizing me and the flag while nodding and grinning. From then on it was easy. Stewart knew where the flag was. So almost every short wave was awarded with pointing or smiling or nodding. But I didn't overdo it, because there were rules. And Stewart still had to do a drummer's job.
I can't really tell if the performance was better than on other occasions. But you haven't seen a Police concert if you haven't been to the front row. There's nothing like it. It's so personal. It feels like watching The Police in a club, because you hardly realize that there are 16.000 (or 60.000) people behind you. The sound might not be the best there, but you feel all the bass notes like a strong wind. The energy is unbelievable.
After Every Breath... The Police were leaving the stage. Except for Stewart, who stood behind his drums and looked at me. His stare seemed to demand something... What... oh, The Flag. I had kept it folded for a while and didn't use it much because I got caught in the excitement of seeing The Police from such a short distance. So I just grabbed the bundle and shook it grinning like an idiot without even unfolding it - which was good enough for him - he was grinning, too.
Having met Stewart in Munich and while communicating via e-mails I never thought of him as a rock star. Seeing him in Vienna from a close distance playing my favourite songs with The Police I felt like a teenager again, because it hit me that The Police are still rock stars who sell out stadiums. Being mentioned by that rock star in front of that audience (while being in front row and seeing them from up close) combined every feeling I had about Stewart and The Police in one moment. The rock stars and the (normal) persons behind the icons became one and I was in the middle of it all - AND had The Flag. It was almost too much. But it began to feel normal to be a part of this somehow.
2007-09-27 - Barcelona, Spain
The Barcelona gig was a hard one. I took a taxi from the airport because I was rather late. Again I wanted to get into front row, of course, because I had the flag and now I knew how good that felt. I searched the right gate for hours, as it seemed. When I found it, there was already a long line. I stood there for hours. Then inside the arena the usual race to the front started - damn, only row 2 today - but the girl in front of me was only 1,60m, so that's no problem. As there were several support acts - including an awful local band and Fiction Plane - waiting for The Police while standing and not being able to drink or pee took some more hours. But it was worth it!
Not only did Stewart see The Flag immediately: his son Jordan did a thumbs-up sign while filming the audience (and The Flag). This was the Mrs. Doubtfire gig where Stewart's headband played tricks with his hair. And Stewart destroyed Wrapped, probably because he couldn't hear anything... After the last song Stewart almost left the stage before turning back, grabbing Sting's microphone, pointing towards me and shouting "Dietmar!" in front of probably 55.000 people who didn't have a clue what that was all about.
On the day Sabine and I were travelling to Paris I received two e-mails from Stewart that I could see a soundcheck - I was supposed to contact his road manager Brad Sands for that. But as Sabine and I were already on our way to Paris we didn't get these mails in time. Too bad we didn't see the historical soundcheck with Henry Padovani. We barely managed to give The Flag to Olivier and check in at our hotel in time. We had far away seats on that day. Neither Stewart nor Henry were allowed to tell anyone about the secret that Henry would perform with the band that day. I was a little bit disappointed that I wasn't in the loop. But Henry didn't even tell his family... so who am I to complain? Still, seeing The Police as a four-piece band was a great experience. Henry is such a nice guy that I was really happy for him - and for us to be witnesses to this event.
The next day was better - Sabine and I did some sightseeing and went to the arena not even that early. Still we managed to get into the front row (we had tickets to the golden circle). I stood next to Andy Finch - this time on Andy's side. Henry called us on Sabine's cell phone (I don't have one). When he heard that we were in front row he came over and we met for the first time after years of sending e-mails back and forth. When he joined The Police again for Next To You he was looking in our direction all the time - and smiling. Lovely man !
We stayed at Raphael's apartment for the second night. Which was just another great experience after Joris had been our host in Amsterdam. Those were unforgettable moments as we noticed that complete strangers from foreign countries can have a strong bond through music alone...
2007-10-06 - Dublin, Ireland
I sent an e-mail to Stewart asking if it was possible to see the Dublin soundcheck with Sabine. No problem. Brad let us in at the side entrance and we got a temporary Working Personnel pass. Security personnel asked us about every two minutes if we had passes. I took one photo, then I was asked politely not to photograph. Which I accepted, because I was a guest here...
Stewart was the first musician to arrive onstage. He played the drums. Then he watched the "audience" which was about 12 people in the whole stadium. I waved. He waved back. He waved some more, which was an invitation to come to the side of the stage from where he led us onstage.
Suddenly there was the rest of the band. That close! Stewart would have liked to show us the technical aspects of his drums and percussions, but The Police weren't using their own stage in Dublin. So we made vague appointments for some other soundcheck in the future. As today's soundcheck was about to begin we left the stage and repositioned us on the lawn. A few fans were led into the Golden Circle, apparently some competition winners. I noticed that they were allowed to take photographs.
The Police played Message without Sting doing any singing. Then Sting asked the competition winners if somebody wanted to sing with them. But nobody wanted to. Stewart waved like crazy in our direction. I began to move - slowly. Don't know why he might have thought I could hit a note. He waved some more, so I hurried up to the side entrance of the stage.
OK, there I was with The Police on stage. I shook hands with Sting and got to stand at Sting's position. My feet between his pedals - using his microphone - reading lyrics from his screen (had to!)... Sting was given another microphone and he stood about one meter to my left.
The song started. During the intro I had a few seconds to go back and check silently if I could hit the notes. Worked OK. So I started singing and most of the lines were fine. During the song Sting sang lower vocals and I added harmonies on top of that.
What surprised me was that I wasn't nervous at all. I had to concentrate on the lyrics and on hitting those high notes. At one point I realized what I was experiencing and had a closer look at the musicians to my left. Yes, it was THE POLICE. Then I realized I completely had forgotten about Sabine in the "audience", so I made sure to make eye contact now. Joe Sumner was standing near the contest winners. I tried to make a sign to him that I recognized him and that I liked Fiction Plane as a band. I guess he didn't get it...
Sabine was speechless and couldn't believe what she just witnessed. I made sure those contest winners got my e-mail address - I needed to have some proof of this... The Police continued rehearsing new guitar riffs for Hole... After the soundcheck Stewart joined us again at the side of the stage. He came down from the stage and walked towards us with his arms stretched out, saying: "Do I take care of me people, or WHAT?" Then we began to walk to our seats far away from the stage. We saw Miquel, Smudge and Invisible enter the Golden Circle with The Flag and made a photo. But we didn't care that we weren't standing there today. We had had our share of thrills for the day...
2007-10-08 - Antwerp, Belgium
A few days after that we drove to Antwerp for another historical concert. Sting was clearly not on top form that night. You couldn't really hear it - but you saw him using his spray and drinking tea more often than usual. And he played half the gig with a towel around his neck. The Police left out Roxanne, which was not a good sign. Still - we were excited to be in the front row together with Luuk and Joris - probably the closest one could get to the stage (until Jones Beach that is, where there was no space at all between the front row and the stage). The next day we went back to Antwerp veeery early, because we were addicted to front row experiences now. Too bad that this was the first of a few cancelled concerts. We met Maud and made some sad photos with The Flag :(
2007-10-20 - London, England, UK
A lot of nutters in London! At The Police's Wembley Arena gig Sabine and I received hospitality passed from Brad - after the concert we could get backstage, but we didn't get to meet The Police. Still, Jeff Seitz and Jordan Copeland came by. And I finally met Craig Betts there...
Although DM-Kellie made sure that every flag bearer was aware of the rules that came with this task, there was one event where the main rule was broken. That was in Mexico later that year, when the Flag bearer misused the force of The Flag and presented it to Stewart. Rules are what keeps our lives together. My job is to make sure that people follow rules. So I HATE it when rules are broken... Especially when other people's efforts and financial expenses seemed to have been in vain and feelings are hurt.
DM-Kellie put so much energy into organizing The Flag's travels around the world that following the few main rules she thought of was just a matter of respect. There was no way for a nutter to have received the flag and not know about its rules! And that moment of Stewart holding The Flag in his hands should have been at the end of the tour - as an event between DM-Kellie and Stewart.
So although Stewart obviously enjoyed holding The Flag for a while (what did he know about the rules?) seeing those pictures made me very sad - and angry. I had to channel my emotions in the most harmless way I could imagine - by calling that flag bearer "stupid" in public. That didn't work well...
That Flag incident in Mexico and the (non-)reaction of the nutters in Stewart's forum ruined my relationship with The Police's tour and the nutters for a few months. I'm not exaggerating. It took a long time for me to look forward to more concerts.
The Police 2008
2008-06-08 - Düsseldorf, Germany
As Stewart couldn't show us all the technical aspects of his drums in Dublin I invited myself for another soundcheck - together with Sabine and a few friends. We made arrangements for the Düsseldorf gig on 2008-06-08. We were late as we couldn't move that fast with a very pregnant woman among the group. As The Police were early, we missed a bit. But it was still great to experience another look behind the scenes. This time the band didn't rehearse any of their own songs. They just improvised and noodled stuff - which was nice, too! Stewart stopped by for a few minutes to chat. We then stayed inside the stadium. That was really great, because outside the sun was hotter than ever. And this stadium had a roof which could be closed. So being inside was rather cool - in more than one way.
We had the best positions in the front row. Maud had The Flag and was a few rows behind us. A tall security guy asked us to stay for a bit after the concert, I didn't quite know why... So it happened that Jerry led us backstage afterwards. We met the Charlatans in front of their dressing room and I talked to the guitarist about football / soccer for a while (he had a great year being a ManU fan and supporting The Police!). Being in the backstage area was new to me and felt unreal. When Stewart finished his shower we were led into his dressing room where they offered us seats and drinks. We talked for some time. That's where I learnt that the final show would be something special - there were some tickets to be given away.
2008-06-17 - Manchester, England, UK
In Manchester I went to Sting's book signing at Waterstone's. Afterwards I met Giovanni and Eugenio for a longer time than usual. We had a meal together and could share our thoughts about the whole tour, life and everything. I also met Steve and Gary from the UK. Later I got to my seat at the side close to Sting's side. I saw Brad talking to Giovanni and Eugenio on the floor. Then Brad came up the stairs to my place. I though he was looking for me, so I said Hi to him. As it turned out he was looking for Wombat. But it's a good thing I contacted him again. Because after the gig (including Bring On The Night) I saw him again talking to Giovanni and Eugenio. Then Brad waved and whistled. So we were led backstage - again... While Giovanni and Eugenio were greeted in a more common way Stewart found the words "It's fucking Dietmar!" for me. We made ourselves comfortable in that harem-like dressing room. Two long-time friends of Stewart were also present. They played polo with him in the 80s. We talked for about an hour until Brad suggested that Stewart might want to join the crew party. Would be a nice gesture as Sting was already gone and Andy wouldn't make an appearance. So that's where we were going. Charlie Hernandez, Jeff, Danny... everybody was there. Just alcohol and no food. I'm not excited about alcohol. I experience too many bad things when people drink too much. So I left rather early - today's events had been great after all!
New York, NY, USA
New York was something special. The city itself is awesome. To describe seeing The Police in and around New York for five days in a row and meeting dozens (hundreds?) of nutters there is something my English is not good enough for... I felt welcome here and I can't thank everybody enough for their kindness.
The Holmdel concert 2008-08-03 was a good one, but my first tailgate party and the nice company I had before and after the show was the most memorable experience. I still can't get used to concerts where they sell seats in front of the stage. That doesn't make any sense except for some people earning more money that way. But as nobody has to rush into the venue to hurry to the front it's nice to meet and eat on the parking lot.
Although I had so many personal experience with Stewart and The Police I tried to get some more. So on 2008-08-04 I went to Jones Beach very early to find the place where the trucks get in. Because that's also the place where the band will get in. I sat in the blazing sun for about three hours and saw a few cars (Andy, Sting...) pass by, but I couldn't recognize Stewart or Brad anywhere. As I finally heard the soundcheck (and recognized that it was indeed Stewart playing) I thought: OK, I tried - let's get into the shadow for some drinks now. After another tailgate party with nutters I went to my seat rather early. I met Brad again and he told me that they saw me waiting outside. When he had done his job of bringing Stewart to the stage in one piece he came back looking for me, but I was already gone. So we made appointments for next day's soundcheck - waiting in the sun had not been in vain after all...
Tamadude had sold me his spare ticket and he had jokingly referred to the vague chance of getting into the soundcheck with me. So on 2008-08-05 I tried to contact him by phone and e-mail, but couldn't reach him, as he was already travelling. We finally met in front of the venue. Brad came out and we got in together with two drum pals who were about to get a drum tour with Jeff Seitz anyway. The Police were rehearsing the songs for next day's TV taping with Elvis Costello for about an hour. Then Brad led us to the side of the stage, where we met Stewart for a few minutes. When we talked about me waiting for three hours in the sun yesterday Stewart replied: " You should have waited three hours and five minutes!" Before I left the venue I noticed that Andy had some familiar looking company. Almost everybody looked like him! Yes, those were his sons which would also appear onstage at the MSG show.
On 2008-08-06 the TV taping with Elvis Costello took place at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. My seat was so close to the stage that DM-Kellie gave The Flag to me. As rules for this event were rather strict I would not risk being thrown out of the taping by showing The Flag too much. So I just wanted to show it at the very end when everybody would say Goodbye. But as TV tapings are there were short breaks. And on one of them Stewart stayed on the stage and I took the chance of showing him The Flag briefly. He spotted it instantly and after I sat down "fearing" immediate punishment by Apollo Theater security people Stewart said: "Show the flag again!" That's when I had to stand up and show the flag to all the people in the theater. Then Stewart did his usual "Dietmar knows more..." shtick. I received a nice final flag point at the end of the show. This was another very special intimate experience with The Police and fellow nutters in the smallest venue imaginable... After the Apollo taping a lot of fans met at Fat Annie's afterwards where I ate something which would be my new passion for the times without The Police: cheese curds with avocado dip. I'll come back to New York just for this meal!
2008-08-07 - the final concert of The Police. I woke up early and bought the morning papers. One newspaper had an ad for some theater, but it had a different meaning for me: "GO TO THE PIT!" So I went to MSG early to see the trucks unload. Finding the right spot for the right entrance to start the line was difficult, as no one from the staff had any idea. I was told to wait outside and I started the queue there with Steve, Equalizer, BongoBoy and Thomas. After a few hours we were told that this wasn't the right spot after all... So we went inside to line up again. After I saw Sockii wearing a blonde wig (and looking great with it) I had to buy one, too - quickly. Luckily the shop was just around the corner... Sadly nobody else was inspired to paint the pit blonde :( The race to the pit was exciting again. What if the long hours of waiting were in vain and we couldn't make it to the front row? When our bunch of people arrived inside the hall we noticed that a few people were already standing in the front of the pit. Against our wish to get in quickly the staff took all the time to make sure everybody had a wristband and an "X" on ticket and wristband. I noticed that the fans on the other side of the venue had the same problems, and luckily we finally were able to enter the pit. All the people who waited at MSG with me for hours were able to get a decent position in the front of the pit.
So I saw the last ever (?) show of The Police from the front row - dead center. To my left were Analia from Uruguay, Holly from Vancouver, Meg and Dan. Right behind me were Amy and Nancy. To my right were Ron, Arpeggio, Steve from Manchester and then the nutter-smorgasboard from hell... The Police were trapped in a nutter triangle between pit, 111 and 119! The sound at the front wasn't good, but that didn't really matter. In my opinion the music on that day wasn't that great, because Andy was obviously thinking about a vacation in Idaho the whole time. Didn't matter... Every song was saying goodbye a bit and people around me started crying. But I guess there was no real sadness. At least for me it wasn't. I enjoyed saying goodbye to my favourite band. When they played Every Breath You Take I thought of writing a sign for Stewart. I'm always bored by that song, so I had some time to think about something else... Analia had some paper and a marker and I improvised on the spot. Originally I would have loved to get some of Stewart's sticks from the final show. But by the time they take their bows Stewart doesn't have any sticks with him. I didn't think of asking for the headband or gloves. I wrote "STEWART, YOUR T-SHIRT PLEASE..." on the back of one of Analia's signs. For two reasons: the shirt would be a unique collector's item & all the female nutters would get to see Stewart stripping. When the band was finally saying goodbye I held the sign up high, but hundreds of arms with or without THANK YOU signs or else were trying to get the band's attention. Stewart didn't see the sign - or at least he didn't react to it... Then the Fat Lady came out and I thought that this was it for me - no t-shirt. But Stewart thought of the most fitting way of saying goodbye to all the nutters by pointing to each of the well-known faces in the crowd before him. When he saw my sign he said: "Noooo!" and went on to point towards the people to my left. Good job, Dietmar, now you've pissed him off! Kevin Mazur took some final photos with The Police on stage and right after those Stewart took off his sweaty t-shirt and looked out for me in the front row. Although many other hands tried to grab it, I could catch it and pulled it away immediately. I didn't feel comfortable with such a precious object in my bag, so I later decided to wear it over my own t-shirt - made it more complicated for some lunatic to get it off me! I let everybody have their way with smelling or photographing that shirt at MSG and later at Fat Annie's.
Fat Annie's saw a final culmination of fans and I made sure to say goodbye to everyone I recognized and even to those I didn't.
The next day I had a final breakfast with a lovely bunch of people from the US and the UK and finally left to lead a normal life again. It's hard to believe that it's all over. And in a way it isn't, because there are so many memories we all share.
And what I wouldn't have thought when the tour started is that meeting people would be one of the most important parts of it all!!
(please don't think that all the other events or people I didn't write about here don't mean anything to me - they do and were just left out because then it would have been a book :)
2009-05-03 - Los Angeles, CA, USA
On the last day of my trip to meet Police fans in New York and Los Angeles I met Stewart at his home studio and was able to squeeze some Police related information from his diaries out of him (having left Cherry Vanilla half an hour before :).
2009-08-01 - Düsseldorf, Germany
2009-09-17 - London, England, UK
2010-11-13 - Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Met Stewart before and after his Eindhoven concert. I went there after a nightshift and closed my eyes during the soundcheck because I was so tired. Dinner with many nutters. Nice concert with Police songs. Stewart signed stuff after the concert and I then went to the after show party until I had to drive home - leaving Giovanni at Weeze airport in the middle of the night...
2012-09-24 - Los Angeles, CA, USA
I met Stewart at his home studio again and was able to get a LOT of The Police related information from his diaries.
2014-12-13 - Los Angeles, CA, USA
Jamming at the Sacred Grove.
2017-03-06 - Vienna, Austria - met Stewart in the lobby
2019-03-23 - Düsseldorf, Germany - met Stewart backstage after the concert
Concerts & events attended
- several Sting solo shows with an increasing amount of boredom...
- 2002-07-22 - Stewart Copeland promotes TAMA in Ibbenbüren
- 2006-07-16 - Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out screening and Q&A in Munich
- 2007-10-06 - incl. soundcheck
- 2007-10-09 - (cancelled show - at least I was there...)
- 2008-06-08 - incl. soundcheck
- 2008-06-17 - incl. Sting booksigning
- 2008-08-05 - incl. soundcheck
- 2008-08-06 - Elvis Costello TV show taping
- 2009-09-17 - London performance
- 2010-11-13 - Eindhoven concert
- 2015-04-16 - Dare To Drum premiere
- 2015-04-18 - Dare To Drum 2nd screening
- 2016-06-16 - Luxembourg concert
- 2016-08-25 - Augst concert
- 2016-08-26 - Augst concert
- 2017-03-06 - Vienna concert
- 2018-03-05 - Gizmodrome's Aschaffenburg concert
- 2019-03-23 - Düsseldorf concert
is there other stuff besides The Police? when I find anything I'll make a note here...
dietmarcloes at aol.com