Many miles away….

Right. So, a little delayed, but: The story that goes with the VIP pass is this — we did not meet the band. There was basically no chance we were meeting the band, and the pass didn't even get us close to within sniffing distance of the band. We got back there as a little thank you for an article I wrote about the show: The Police had donated every single seat in Madison Square Garden to New York public television, to give away in return for pledges. Very cool, that.

But the badge did get us into a nice buffet dinner and open bar pre-show, which was the last ever (tune in in 5 years, folks) Police show, held at Madison Square Garden on August 7. Unlike a lot of other bands, I do believe this is the end of the Police — I think there's some brotherly love there, but it's way deep down and on the surface I think they're well rid of each other — and so that made it a big important evening, at least for me and 18,999 other fans, including my friend Kelly (hook 'em horns in that there photo).

I'd never seen the Police (unless you want to count the taping for a new TV show called "Spectacle" that'll be on the Sundance Channel in December, with Elvis Costello hosting, interviewing and playing with select musicians — the Police started things off; I went there on the 6th) and while it was a good show it wasn't quite the barn-burner I'd seen in video form from the "Synchronicity" tour back in the 1980s.

Still, they kept things lively: The NYPD drum corps filed on stage to play along with "Message in a Bottle" while Sting donned a policeman's cap); there were two covers ("Sunshine of Your Love" and "Purple Haze") and the lute stayed well tucked away, though there was a gigantic gong for Stewart Copleland (so precious in his gloves) to use. I tried taking photos, but the best I could manage was of the gigantic screen suspended above the stage; loads of people brought digital cameras, which officially aren't allowed but nobody seems to stop them coming in any more, and I know there are loads of better shots out there.

I made a video of it myself, but it's already up all over YouTube, so there's no point in contributing to the bandwidth, but the thing almost everyone seems to remember from the show was how between the end of the main set and the start of the Obligatory Encore Set, the band left the stage and Sting, who had been bearded and looking pretty grizzled all through the show, sat down and got shaved by two blondes, while someone else buffed at his fingers and a third person shone his shoes. On the one hand, tres amusing. On the other hand, how bloody typical of Sting, who while still dead sexy in his late 50s still has the ego of a redwood forest. There was something deeply attractive and yet off-putting about the whole display, but in the end, I guess it is all about Sting after all.

Anyway, the concert rocked appropriately, did not go over or under time, and when the whole thing was finally over, the riser that had lifted Copeland's gong all night rose once more from the back of the stage, carrying what must have been a few roadies, dressed as if they were going to Mardi Gras. One had on a Viking helmet and makeup, and two enormous faux naked boobs dangling down. Suddenly, an aria arose from the sound system as the fat lady roadie sang. And if that wasn't clear enough, it was followed with the Looney Tunes "Th-th-th-ats all folks!" music, the band hugged each other, thanked New York, and left the stage.

The end.