By Drew Olson Special to Published Jun 25, 2007 at 5:10 AM

Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland -- collectively known to the rock world as The Police -- have generated mostly mixed reviews during their reunion tour.

But, that's no consolation to Bob Babisch, the vice president of entertainment at Summerfest, who worked diligently to secure a date for The Police, one of the hottest-selling shows of the summer, at the Marcus Amphitheater.

He came up empty.

"That was the one show that was working during our time that we couldn't get," Babisch said. "They just weren't going to do three days in a row. It was frustrating, definitely. But, there was nothing we could do to make it happen."

Summerfest CEO Don Smiley agreed. "It's not like we didn't try," Smiley said. "We offered a boatload of money."

When The Police announced their tour, which commemorates the 30th anniversary of the single "Roxanne," a July 4 date in Milwaukee seemed like a natural fit between stops at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and Chicago's Wrigley Field. When the band added a second show at the Friendly Confines, it became clear that the Milwaukee stop wasn't going to materialize.

"People don't realize this, but out of 11 shows in the Amp, we put about 50 offers out there," Babisch said. "Some of the shows come here. Then, they're gone. With some shows, they're gone three or four times and then they come back."

Babisch was holding a date open in hopes that Van Halen would bring its highly-anticipated concert series to the Big Gig, but the tour was delayed guitarist Eddie Van Halen went into rehab.

"We were in the routing," Babisch said. "That was going to be a big show for us."

As for The Police tour du jour, reviewers have described the concerts as powerful, but patchy.

"The chemistry is obviously still unstable," Joel Selvin wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle. "(Andy) Summers is a phlegmatic soul whose guitar style depends more on carefully processed sounds than fiery playing. He brought as much joy and charisma to the task as a cashier giving change. (Stewart) Copeland, as engaged as Summers was detached, wore golfing gloves and sweatband that matched the athleticism of his drumming.

"Sting looked great, all rippling muscles and chiseled features. Still his frustration came through in his joyless exuberance, his phony bonhomie as he coasted through vocal parts he used to burn through."

Ben Wener of the Orange County Register described himself as "underwhelmed.

"I somewhat set myself up: I conveniently overlooked the fact, based on available live materials, that though their five albums evolved into studio marvels, The Police were never the sharpest live band," Wener wrote.

"When they caught fire, they could be unstoppable, ragged friction triggering explosiveness most peers couldn't match. But that apparently wasn't The Police on most nights.

"Nor is it this older, smoother Police now."

Craig Rosen, writing in the Hollywood Reporter, said that The Police show, "certainly is not an embarrassment, but it's not enriching the band's legacy. It's just fattening up their collective bank accounts."

Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.