An Ordinary Tuesday?

May 6th, 2008

Inside Thirteen blogger: Neal Shapiro, President

It looked like my usual Tuesday morning:

8:00 a.m.: Dropped my son off at school.

8:30 a.m.: Breakfast meeting with someone interested in our new international news program.

9:30 a.m.: Meeting about Great Performances.

10:30 a.m.: Senior managers’ meeting.

12:30 p.m.: Meeting with Mayor Bloomberg and Sting.

WHAT!? BLOOMBERG AND STING?

That’s right. At a press conference at 1 p.m. in Times Square, Mayor Bloomberg, Sting and the Police announced their very last concert ever in NYC. The proceeds from the concert will be donated to our public television stations, Thirteen and WLIW, and they will also fund planting 10,000 trees in NYC.

I was there to represent Thirteen and to thank Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers for their generosity. My colleague, Terrel Cass, president of WLIW, was also there.

We gathered just off Times Square while we waited for the mayor. Perhaps you were wondering if The Police were one of those bands who travel with a huge entourage and keep to themselves.

In fact, they were very approachable and friendly. They patiently posed for pictures, including a few with the real police as we chatted about life on the road.


Sting and Neal Shapiro

I asked if they had a chance to enjoy the different cities they visited. Stewart said that life on the road is a blur and even if you are in a great city, they are often too exhausted to enjoy it. “Better to go back when you have more time,” he said. “though I always love New York.”

I asked Andy if they always played the same set…if they ever decided to sing in a different order. He said the band might like to do that on occasion, but there are all kinds of lighting and stage cues involved in each song, so making a change on the fly is very difficult.

Finally, I told Sting that my wife and I had seen him on his recent tour and I was struck by how much he invited the audience to sing along with him, often times stopping a verse in the middle so the audience could complete the song. “Well, mate,” he said, “just means less singing for me!”

By now, you may be saying, “Enough with the backstage banter. Where is the concert? How do I get tickets?”

Well, we are still working all that out. So, as we say in tv, stay tuned.