Midwest rock fans were treated to a memorable and grandiose performance on Thursday when legendary drummer Stewart Copeland appeared at The Palladium in Carmel, IN.
Stewart Copeland – Police Deranged For Orchestra
The Palladium in Carmel, IN – 19 October 2023
Words and Photography: Ben Tschetter
Stewart Copeland is best known for his work in the classic and influential new-wave rock trio, The Police. This group incorporated a variety of different genres of music into their work to create a signature and unmistakable sound.
However, the drummer has a massive resume which spans nearly 50 years and ranges from albums to soundtracks to video game scores and much more. In more recent years, Copeland has explored genres of music and projects far different from those which began his storied career. Carmel, Indiana, got to experience his latest project, Police Deranged For Orchestra.
Backed by a 24-piece orchestra, as well as a backing band and three dynamic vocalists, Copeland’s latest passion project brought the anthemic music of The Police to a new light and in a new setting than it has ever been before.
The Police Deranged For Orchestra tour featured Copeland and a vibrant orchestra performing a 15-song set which comprised of Police tracks that ranged from a majority of their greatest hits to a number of deeper cuts which excited the lifelong fans.
Copeland brought his talents as a composer to the stage by transforming and reworking a number of Police songs in different styles.
“What’s next?” Stewart asked twice during the show. “Ah. I think you’re going to like this one!” This phrase was often before a reworked song, which would typically start with a long build-up and would culminate minutes later at the vocals revealing the song. Different styles that could be heard were jazz, African, and, of course, orchestral takes on the hits of Copeland’s former band.
His takes on certain songs, such as Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, King Of Pain, and Message In A Bottle, stayed fairly consistent with the original compositions but with an orchestral layer added.
Other songs, such as Roxanne, Don’t Stand So Close To Me, and Every Breath You Take, were shown in a new light but received much applause and appreciation from the room.
Even songs such as Murder By Numbers and Demolition Man – and other lesser-known Police songs – were included and seemed like perfect pieces to be worked into the new arrangements.
Drummers and Police fans alike appreciated Copeland’s spectacular drumming abilities, even at 71 years old, as he performed at what could easily be his prime.
As if the drummer was not already one of the greatest at the peak of his stardom, he gracefully and explosively executed a masterful display behind the kit, powering through classic drum parts that remained true to how he had written them years ago, jam sessions placed between familiar songs, and brand new renditions of old tunes with an orchestra he had only met that day.
He never missed a beat, even while losing drumsticks to the sweat of his palms. After five decades of playing, it is clear that Copeland’s drumming abilities have aged like fine wine.
If drumming wasn’t enough, the Copeland left his throne many times throughout his show, full of charming energy and charisma, to share stories of his time in The Police, conduct the orchestra, and even pick up guitar for a rendition of The Bed’s Too Big Without You.
Stewart could hardly stop smiling throughout the evening, and it’s clear that his youthful energy was overflowing with his love and passion for music and this orchestral project, which he fine-tuned to perfection.
As the closing notes of the evening played and the band proceeded to take a bow, Carmel Indiana gave this large and imaginative group of musicians a standing ovation. Each note throughout the night was carefully placed to create a large and spectacular sound on top of existing classics that anyone in the room knew by heart.
If The Police, Copeland, Summers, and Sting (sadly) never reunite or perform together again, this is the next best thing. It’s not often that an orchestra has you singing and dancing.
Witnessing such an accomplished and proficient group of musicians, fronted by one of the greatest drummers of all time, is something not to be missed. This incredible night of music will certainly not be forgotten by anyone lucky enough to witness it.
Make sure to check out Stewart Copeland’s Police Deranged For Orchestra tour while you can, as well as the new album available everywhere now.