words by Nick Masi

photo from the Jones Beach show (more by Eric Townsend)
The Police

The Police played what was being billed as their final concert ever last night at Madison Square Garden (August 7, 2008). The 150th show of their reunion tour, which started in 2007, wrapped up at New York City's famed arena.

They opened with a cover of Cream's "Sunshine Of Your Love," and then went into their own catalog...with a bang! The group brought out the NYPD marching band and had them line the front of the stage. Banging their drums in unison with Stewart Copeland, they all went into a raucous version of "Message In A Bottle." From that point on the show never slowed down. All the hits were played, except for "Spirits In The Material World"(my favorite Police song) and "Man In A Suitcase." They also covered Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" and Manfred Mann's "Do Wah Diddy," which led into their own, "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da." Sting took time out to thank his band mates for their companionship and support, even added some comic relief by saying, "The real triumph of this tour is that we haven't strangled each other."

During the encore, the video screens showed Sting backstage, shirtless, getting his full beard shaved by two women while crew members shined his shoes and Stewart kissed him! The crowd ate it up, laughing and screaming until they came back onstage. After playing "So Lonely" and a few others, The Police let the crowd know that they were officially done. They brought out a "Fat Lady" (actually not a lady) to sing (lip sync) opera on stage, which then turned into the Looney Toons theme and Porky Pig saying, "That's All Folks!" If the "Fat Lady" did indeed sing and this really was the final performance by The Police, they did it not only with energy, class and flair, but with humor.

Lots of videos and the setlist below...

The Police - MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE with NYC Marching Band

The Police "Message in a bottle" (another view)

Sting's Backstage Pre-Encore Shave..!

The Police - WALKING ON THE MOON - New York City - 8/7/0

The Police-Sting "Thanks" MSG "Voices In my Head" MSG, 8/7/08

openers B-52's playing LOVE SHACK

The Police @ MSG Setlist of final show ever

Sunshine of your Love
Message in a Bottle (w/ NYPD Marching Band)
Walking on the Moon
Demolition Man
Voices Inside My Head
Don't Stand So Close to Me
Driven to Tears
Hole in my Life
Every Little Thing She Does is Magic
Wrapped Around My Finger
Doo Wah Diddy >
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
Invisible Sun
Can't Stand Losing You

(Sting gets a shave from two women during encore break)

Encore 1:
Purple Haze
Roxanne
King of Pain
So Lonely >
Down So Long (tease)
Every Breath you Take

Encore 2:
Next to You

(Costumed "Fat Lady" sings..."That's all folks")