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The Police: Around the World (Restored & Expanded) (Blu-ray + CD Review)


The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements


A film documenting the first world tour of the band The Police in 1980.

In 1980, The Police, who had made their way out of the already collapsed British punk rock scene — the Sex Pistols having imploded, The Clash having already expanded their sound and post-punk acts like Joy Division and Echo & the Bunnymen already making noise – were on the verge of becoming the biggest rock band in the world. Truth be told, The Police were never really punks, they were just a collection of guys, slightly older, from the earlier prog-rock, jazz and classic rock scenes who happened to form as the punk scene was exploding and they knew a good thing when they heard it. Sting, real name Gordon Sumner, was playing a fretless bass, which was more skill than most of the people in the punk scene had. Andy Summers, having come out of the prog scene, could play chords most punk guitarists couldn’t dream of in the two or three chord genre of Ramones-esque pinhead music.

By 1980,  international success already in their grasp with hits like “Roxanne,” “Message in a Bottle,” and “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” the band would become one of the premiere new wave darlings and eventually the biggest act of the 1980s. The tour documented here in The Police: Around the World would help launch them into that stratosphere of supergroups. Their first world tour, this documentary follows the band across six continents and several countries including Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and the United States.

This, however, is not a concert film. Anyone hoping to sit down and enjoy a live concert of The Police in 1980 while watching this will be a bit disappointed. There are snippets of live performances that offer a glimpse of the band at the height of their skill level together, and lots of behind-the-scenes looks at them traveling, hitting restaurants and filming music videos.

But never fear, the good people at Universal Music Group have seen fit to include bonus full live performances on this release as well from their stops in Kyoto and Hong Kong, and they are riveting.  This release is not just a document of one of the finest eras in rock history, but of one the best rock bands in history during their prime. It’s a must for fans and for newcomers diving into the history of post-punk/new wave.

The Video

This fully restored documentary has arrived on Blu-ray in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio in an AVC 1080i/60 encodement from Universal Music Group. Like most concert film/documentaries, it doesn’t always have the greatest detail, especially given the mixed sources, some of them from Stewart Copeland’s own home camera footage. That said, it looks very natural, organic, with very little issues concerning DNR or motion artifacts. The concert footage looks good and there’s a lot of detail.

The Audio

The audio is just a little bit of a mixed bag. Two options are offered for the film, a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix and a LPCM 2.0 stereo mix. For the main documentary, the stereo mix is superior since the low-end seems to disappear and the middle drop out with the 5.1 mix and the surround channels are only mildly active. But, for the included full bonus performances, the 5.1 mix is the equal of if not better than the stereo mix, because suddenly the low-end returns and the middle reappears. It’s very strange.

Now, moving on to the CD, it sounds as good as a contemporary live CD mastering can sound. It’s not overly compressed or tweaked in the high frequencies and there is very decent stereo imaging.

The Supplements

The Police: Around the World comes with a booklet containing brand new liner notes on the tour from Andy Summers. Additionally, the Blu-ray contains as a bonus full live performance of the following:

  • Seibu Kodo, Kyoto (20 February 1980):
    • Walking on the Moon
    • Next to You
  • Today’s World Disco, Hong Kong (27 February 1980):
    • Message in a Bottle
    • Born in the 50’s

The Final Assessment

A fantastic restoration lovingly restored that brings this great band’s music and presence back to life in this era. Highly recommended.

The Police: Around the World (Restored & Expanded) is out now on Blu-ray + CD from Universal Music Group

  • Studios & Distributors: Mercury Records | Universal Music Group
  • Director: Derek Burbidge
  • Run Time: 78 Mins.
  • Street Date: 20 May 2022
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080i/60
  • Primary Audio: DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: LPCM 2.0 stereo
  • Subtitles: English | French | German | Spanish (Castilian) | Portuguese

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A film documenting the first world tour of the band The Police in 1980.The Police: Around the World (Restored & Expanded) (Blu-ray + CD Review)