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The legendary punk-inspired reggae-rock band The Police has kicked off is reunion tour to a rocking crowd that took to its feet and sang the lyrics of Message in a Bottle, the iconic group's 1979 smash hit.

The trio of singer-bassist Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland followed that up with a six-minute rendition of 1982's Synchronicity.

From megahit to megahit, the sold-out crowd of 20,000 fans at General Motors Place swayed to the music, offering up thunderous applause to the group that hasn't played a stadium since 1984.

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Some fans were in for a nostalgic night of worshipping a band that has made several trips to Vancouver while others, who weren't even born when the group split up in 1984, were out for a memorable night with a group whose music has never gone out of style.

The band, which hasn't toured in 23 years, was tight led by a buff-looking 55-year-old Sting strutting his stuff - for brief stints anyway on some numbers.

The simplicity of the stage sets, featuring two ovals ringed with lights, complemented the complexity of the songs by the trio of musicians who have had solo careers since they last stoked a stadium full of fans.

Many in the crowd were undoubtedly in diapers when they first sang "De do do do, de da da da" from the band's 1980 album Zenyatta Mondatta.

A melodic, sensual version of Wrapped Around Your Finger featured 54-year-old Summers's strengths with the guitar riffs, 64-year-old Copeland's drumming expertise and Sting's magic on the base, eliciting some of the biggest crowd reaction.

Several generations of Police fans packed Vancouver's GM Place to catch the kickoff of the mega-band's world tour.

Alanna Beason, 18, of Whidbey Island, Wash., was introduced to the band when she was a child by her father, Mark, who was attending the show with her.

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"I think it's good that all these bands are getting back together so that our kids can see them," said Mark Beason.

"When you look at all the people around here - all the folks my age - and when we were young and rowdy these were all the bands that were hot.

"And now we share our music with our kids."

Nicole Durocher, 18, of Vancouver, came with several of her girlfriends but was introduced to the Police by her parents.

She said she didn't feel out of place attending a concert with people who were old enough to be her grandparents.

"I wasn't around when [the Police]were famous so I feel like they have more right to be here than I do," she said.

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Dietmar Cloes flew from Germany to catch all three of the Police's Vancouver shows, fulfilling a lifetime dream.

"I had to see them once in my life," he said.

"I'm such a big fan, I collect every bit. But one thing was missing and that was a live concert."

The band's exclusive fan-only Sunday show was a bit of a disappointment but Cloes had higher hopes for the other performances.

The Police split up in 1984 at the height of its success.

Dave Olson, 39, of North Vancouver said he didn't sense this tour was a cash-grab.

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"A lot of times when bands get back together I say it's because someone's got alimony payments," he said. "But it doesn't seem like it so much this time."

The long-awaited reunion tour kicked off Wednesday in Vancouver with the son of Sting fronting the opening act.

Fiction Plane's lead vocalist and bassist Joe Sumner flew on to the stage Monday night sounding hauntingly similar to his father, also known as Gordon Sumner.

The younger Sumner joined band mates guitarist Seton Daunt and drummer Pete Wilhoit with hits from their second CD Left Side of the Brain.

From Vancouver, the trio will head to Edmonton and later hit Montreal and Toronto.

Media from across Europe are covering this first stop on a tour that will cover cities in North and South America, Europe and Australia by the time it wraps in early 2008.

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