“Police Deranged” at the Palais Montcalm: successful disturbance for Stewart Copeland and the OSQ

“Police Deranged» at the Palais Montcalm: successful disturbance for Stewart Copeland and l’OSQ


On stage, surrounded by the Orchester symphonique de Québec, Stewart Copeland looked like he was having a blast. We saw him deliver his signature rhythms on drums, play guitar and even lead, stick in the air and hopping, the ensemble of 48 musicians. 

The 70-year-old drummer was on Wednesday at the Palais Montcalm, with his Police Deranged tour, where he presented deconstructed versions of the songs of the British trio, during a sold-out concert.

In an interview, a few hours before going on stage, Stewart Copeland, joker, admitted to having a lot of fun during his concerts. 

“The sound, with the orchestra coming up with all kinds of textures, is fantastic. I make jokes with Andy Summer, who is currently doing the Police songs with a Brazilian band, telling him that it's fun to play these songs without the presence of the other two motherfuckers and he agrees. I like them, these motherfuckers, when we don't make music together. They are my brothers and we are linked for life”, launched the drummer, smiling.

Stewart Copeland said that the Police never really mentioned, at the time, the possibility of perform a concert with a symphony orchestra.

“We discussed for five minutes the idea of ​​doing an 'unplugged' concert with an ensemble, but it never materialized,” he said. 

Sting, he clarified, has already made one.

“He didn't have the right business model. He hired 30 people to get them on the road. My plan was better. They are the ones who hire me and I cost a lot less than them,” he laughed.

He specifies that he can, with this formula, play less loudly and that sounds better.

“I can bring elements of finesse that would be impossible to hear in a rock concert. The best thing about playing less hard is that no one leaves with a headache,” he noted.

An unrecognizable Roxanne

To appreciate the Police Deranged adventure, you had to accept being destabilized. Orchestrator and composer of several film scores, Stewart Copeland takes over the titles of the Police by modifying the arrangements, the structure of the verses and choruses and by inserting new musical segments.

It's a bit of a mess sound during Demolition Man, from the album Ghost in the Machine, which opened this concert-event. A title a little less known to the Police. It was difficult to distinguish the sounds deployed by the OSQ and it was with King of Pain, which followed, that things began to settle.

We recognize the songs, but some, like the huge classic Roxanne, were very disturbed. The lyrics, the music, everything was different and impossible to sing.

“That one, I bothered her a lot”, launched Stewart Copeland, before his interpretation, laughing, in the company of the 'OSQ, under guest conductor Edwin Outwater, guitarist Carl Verheyen, bassist Armand Sabal-Lecco and singers Amy Keys, Carmel Helen and Ashley Tamar.

Before Message in a Bottle , Stewart Copeland called the OSQ, the coolest band in North America, inviting people to attend their next program. 

“It will change your life”, he he launched, with a smile on his face that remained throughout the performance. 


The drummer specified, in an interview that he notices, over the performances, differences in the interpretation with the symphonic ensembles.

“The musicians all play the same notes with precision. I feel something different with the OSQ. He has his own signature. It is, even if there are 50 musicians, an organization with its own identity. It brings their personality. I love them,” he remarked, before heading off to go back to rehearsal.

King of Pain, Murder by Numbers, Spirits in the Material Worldand a great all-music segment, conducted by Stewart Copeland, for his piece The Equalizer Busy Equalizing, were the good times of the first segment of the show. However, it was in the second half that the concert took off. We could hear the sonorities of the strings and the brass better. The sound was also better balanced and of higher quality.

We felt that the OSQ was highlighted during The Bed's Too Big Without You, Don' t Stand So Close to Me, Message in a Bottle and the sound was better. Stewart Copeland was wild on drums on those last two songs. Conductor Edwin Outwater even allowed himself a few jumps while conducting the symphony orchestra.

As an encore, we were treated to a not too disturbed version of Every Little Thing She Does is Magi< /em>c. People got up. It was dancing in some places.

At the end of the concert, we could see that the songs of the Police, disturbed or not, are still strong and firmly imprinted in our memory. A unique and different performance, but a superb evening of music off the often visited paths.