Now, had I put a bit of brain cells into it, I'd have gone (please don't smite me, Stewart) straight to the top and asked to be put into contact with Melisa (whom I owe greatly) from Stewart's office. I met her only briefly the other day, but I'm pretty sure that she and I together could have banged this out a month ago and had time and sarcasm left over to establish a small sovereign nation.
But instead (please don't smite me, Stewart) I sent a message out asking Stewart to please consider how he might want the Green Glory delivered. While I had no preference, I simply needed to know what might be required of me schedule-wise, particularly since the last week of the tour would be nothing short of a logistical nightmare. I knew that whatever -- if anything -- might transpire, it would take some time to think about and arrange, so when I came home from the UK at the end of June/early July, I bugged a couple of fine gentlemen (whom I owe greatly) and waited. I figured that, at bare minimum, Giovanni or Pecos (whom I had not yet met but had kindly offered her assistance) could find a way to get the Flag to Stewart or I could mail it to his manager's office.
What I hadn't quite bet on is that Team Copeland is about as insane as the rest of you nutters. As it is, it was pretty weird to think that such folks had *any* opinion on the Flag or its end; but for those opinions to also involve some sort of public display just totally threw me. One idea was to hang the Flag from the MSG marquee or from the rafters in the arena with the retired jerseys. (To which I believe I responded, "Now you're just fucking with me.") By mid-Julyish, Stewart hadn't made any decisions but had thrown the phrases "MSG" and "official photo-op" together in close proximity. (Killing me.) Over drinks with the gang in Denver later in the month, Jeff Seitz (whom I owe greatly) was publicly, enthusiastically supportive of the flag-on-gong approach -- an idea which closely resembled the varying thoughts of many of the forum-folks who hoped to see the Flag pop up on stage somewhere.
But I gotta admit -- as fun as it seemed, I was not totally feeling this idea. While I completely understand why folks would feel some kind of pride and validation from the Flag popping up on the stage, I just couldn't help but feel like maybe it wasn't appropriate. Like we've said many times, it's not The Police's flag; it's Stewart's. Were the Aug. 7 performance an actual Stewart Copeland Show, then I would not have hesitated -- but because it was a *Police* performance, I just couldn't quite feel comfortable. And even though it may be *our* flag, it would be *my* ass on the line if we were to do anything to piss off any band members on stage or fans in the audience during this hugely important performance.
So once August rolled around and nothing had been established, I decided to stop worrying about it. Nothing was going to happen, and that was understandable: the drummer had a few billion other things to do and think about, all of which take priority over a flag. Honestly, not having to deal with it on top of all the rest of the end-of-tour insanity would be a blessing; waiting until after the tour seemed like a nice and relaxed way to deal with things.
But three days (killing me) before MSG, I was informed that Jeff wasn't the only flag-on-gong supporter.
Stewart was "keen" to hoist the Flag on the gong during "Next To You."
Flag on Gong during the last song of the last gig of the last tour of The Police.
Looking back now, I cannot believe I was ever in doubt and that I did not see it coming. But at that particular moment -- reading my email in a hotel room on Long Island -- I was choked up, tickled, surprised, a bit nervous/nauseated, and overwhelmed.
And now there was work to do. . . .
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