The Police, much like the Bee Gees, are a photogenic trio who have taken a kind of cult music and bleached it and fluffed it for staggering international popularity. What the Bee Gees did for disco, the Police have done for (and to) reggae-based, synthesizer-washed British New Wave.
Just as Barry Gibb leads the Bee Gees, bassist Sting leads the Police with a gorgeous singing voice that showcases the band's catchy pop melodies. Guitarist Stewart Copeland fleshes out the melodies with tastefully understated guitar arpeggios, while drummer Andy Summers leans heavily on the high hat.
Saturday night at the Capital Centre this trio was supplemented by a three-man horn section and an occasional bassist when Sting turned to the synthesizer. When the band played melodic, up-tempo songs like "De Do Do Do De Da Da Da," they were as refreshing as the Bee Gees, the Jacksons or Elton John. When they played slower, artsier material, they were as pompously dreary as Yes or the Moody Blues.
By contrast, the Go Go's were not only catchy but strikingly original. This all-female L.A. quintet brought a fresh urgency and irresistible dance beat to the timeless complaints of girlfriends everywhere. In the two months since their last visit to Washington their playing has tightened noticeably; Charlotte Caffey played chunky guitar to rival Keith Richard.