Is it too late for a Police reunion?

Genesis is one of the most revered bands of all time.  The PETER GABRIEL-led Genesis.  Fans wax rhapsodic about "Selling England By The Pound" and "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" in a way you can’t get ANYBODY to testify about the band’s hit-laden eighties records.  It took Peter Gabriel a while to eclipse the work he did with his former mates, commercially anyway, but with his 1986 album "So", which included the iconic hit and breakthrough video "Sledgehammer", Peter became a household word.  Not that Genesis slacked, the Phil Collins-led outfit immediately released the surprisingly good "Trick Of The Tail" and then went on to have the aforementioned hits.  It’s time for a REUNION, wouldn’t you think?  There’s been a constant buzz online.  Genesis has laid fallow, Gabriel’s last album was substandard.  It’s time to get the old boys together and rape and pillage!  But that’s not what’s happening.  Genesis is going out alone.

Rumor has it that Gabriel just won’t commit.  He’s not ready yet.  And that might be true, but the real story is Michael Cohl ran the numbers and he found out NOBODY WANTED TO SEE THE OLD GENESIS!

You know Cohl.  He’s the guy who guarantees a zillion dollars to the biggest acts in the world.  They then go on to play arenas, with Cohl skimming a profit on top of his almost guaranteed sell-out numbers.  This is how he does it with the Rolling Stones.  U2.  Even Barbra Streisand.  Peter Gabriel-led Genesis is in that league, RIGHT?


Cohl isn’t stupid.  Before he lays out tens of millions of dollars in guarantees, he does research.  And his research told him that although there IS demand for the old band, it’s relatively low, they can’t play arenas at a high ticket price, whereas the PHIL COLLINS GENESIS CAN!

Credit MTV.  Although the Phil Collins Genesis had its first hit with "Follow You, Follow Me" from 1978’s "And Then There Were Three", they became UBIQUITOUS when MTV banged one video after another.  You remember the one with the puppets…  The SONG you can’t remember, but you do recall Ronnie Reagan in bed and the water.

Funny, the acts BROKEN by MTV, they can barely tour.  But those with cred BEFORE video play, they’re now icons.  It seems that MTV latched on to them, boosted them, as opposed to ANOINTING THEM!  The old bands already existed, they brought their cred with them.  Whereas the new bands…  What did they have anyway?

Of course there are exceptions.  Especially amongst the earliest crop of MTV acts.  But really, the big sellers on the road are those that had traction before MTV infiltrated so many homes.

So are we ever going to get to see the original Genesis, the REAL Genesis?

I’m starting to doubt it.  For the same reason we may never see the real Pink Floyd go on the road.  You see, David Gilmour just doesn’t need the money.  Yes, HIS outfit, sans Roger Waters, played STADIUMS!  He doesn’t need the MONEY!  And Phil Collins and Michael Rutherford and Tony Banks have enough money, certainly after this year’s tour, to decide it’s just not worth it to play by the mercurial Gabriel’s rules.  Why be beholden to someone who left you in the lurch, albeit three decades ago, to make LESS MONEY!

Yes, it comes down to the money.  And in order to make the big bucks, you’ve got to ensnare not only the hard core fan, but the CASUAL ONE!  You’ve got to get ALL these people to come to the gig.

Check the numbers.  Sting has sold more albums WITHOUT the Police.  Yes, I know the Police was iconic in your life.  They preceded U2.  Back when you came of age, when you were in high school.  Hell, you might have even seen them in a STADIUM!

But almost nobody plays stadiums anymore.  Fans don’t want to be treated that poorly.  And you want to be close!  You’ll pay EXTRA to be close!

But you won’t pay to be close every week.  Maybe a couple of times a year.  The Stones are not going to live forever, you want to see them before they die.  But who else?  Do you want to pay to see Yes in an arena?  How about Boston?  How about REO Speedwagon?  You remember "Hi Infidelity", with its iconic "Keep On Loving You". That album sold more than any CD THIS year!  Do you want to see THEM?  They broke big the same year the Police became ubiquitous, with "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic".  Or maybe we should go to ’83, when "Every Breath You Take" dominated.  Quiet Riot was number one just after "Synchronicity", do you want to pay $250 to see them?  How about Lionel Richie, whose album followed theirs?  Shit, almost no one cares about his new record…  And then there’s Huey Lewis, his album "Sports" dominated  in the middle of ’84.  Right before "Born In The U.S.A." had a seven week run.  People still want to see Springsteen, don’t they?  Well, certainly not in stadiums.  As for arenas at Stones prices??  I don’t think so.  And Bruce’s reign was followed by Prince’s "Purple Rain" soundtrack.  Prince did come back.  But now he’s playing a club.  He had to give away his record.  And prices were not exorbitant.  He got one go-round, hell, he played some cities twice.  But the Police PRE-DATE Prince.  And I don’t think a ton of African-Americans want to see the Police.  And they never had a reputation as a KILLER live act.  Good, but not SPECTACULAR!

Sting does pretty fine on his own.  He’s far from desperate.  And he’s proven that just when you count him out, he writes a catchy hit.  He seems to have the ability in his DNA.  And he seems to play by his own rules, take his own counsel.  Don’t expect STING to sign with Clive Davis and cut standards, just to be viable.

So, Sting doesn’t need to do it.  He’s far from desperate.  How badly do you need to see the POLICE?

Does your wife want to see the Police?  Sure, she loved "Every Breath You Take", but the earlier records, the ones YOU loved, appeal more to guys.  Are you gonna be able to get a group of your fortysomething, your FIFTYSOMETHING buds together on one night to go?  Are their spouses going to LET THEM?

And the longer a band waits, the less viable touring becomes.  Suddenly, the seventies are A LONG TIME AGO!  Hell, the Police BROKE in 1978.

I think a Police tour would do well.  They were established before MTV rocketed them into the stratosphere.   And "Synchronicity" was the number one album for 17 weeks!  But this was before the SoundScan era.  And there are no Police albums on the catalog chart, not even a compilation.  And no Sting records either.  And no Peter Gabriel or Genesis discs either.  But there IS a Stones album.  Yes, people still care about the Stones.  But you’d be surprised how few care about so many of the other "superstar" bands.  At least enough to pay a fortune to go see them.

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