07.20.09 Sting spins magic at MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods...



Seeing he had played the night before to approximately 100,000 fans at the Quebec City Summer Festival, Sting probably felt like the 4,000-seat MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods was a positively intimate place to be Sunday night.

And so it was, packed to the max for the former frontman of the Police, who at 57 is still singing superbly, still lean, muscular and still drawing shrieks from the crowd.

Backed by an exceptional three-piece band featuring the great keyboardist David Sancious, along with guitarist Dominic Miller and drummer Josh Freese, bassist Sting and company mixed his solo material with a heavy dose of Police songs during the 19-song, double encore, hour and 50 minute performance.

The frontman was dressed all in white, complete with painter's pants and a white t-shirt and he jokingly noted that he'd been wearing the outfit all week because he'd been having his apartment painted.

The night started strong with a wide-open, steady building arrangement of 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You', which was followed by a ferocious run through the Police classic 'Message in a Bottle', and the reggae-tinged 'Englishman in New York'.

After the Freese and Miller showcase on 'Synchronicity II', Sting sang "Happy Birthday" to an 87-year-old fan in the front section, before reaching back again to one of his biggest hits with the Police, 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic'.

His 2007-2008 massive reunion tour with his old mates in the Police obviously softened his attitude as far as playing vintage material. Though many of those songs were always part of even his solo repertoire, he readily plays even more Police songs on stage these days, a move which Sunday's crowd appeared to love. His solo selections were very well received. But each time he did a song by the Police, the place exploded.

As noted, vocally, he's hitting the high notes with power and passion, though he did seem a bit weary in a couple of unexpected spots at the MGM, notably during one of his most unforgettable compositions, 'Fields of Gold'. The song was given expert treatment by the band, but Sting sang it too quietly and appeared to be struggling a bit with the more subtle aspects of the melody. He also seemed to be wavering ever-so-slightly on the follow-up 'Driven to Tears'.

But he soon regained the power with 'Walking on the Moon', appropriately played on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the first man walking on the moon.

The latter half of the night was sparked by 'Wrapped Around Finger', which found Sting shrugging his shoulders and laughing after the line "You consider me the young apprentice," and a killer take of 'When the World is Running Down You Make the Best of What's Still Around', the latter which featured a funky solo courtesy of Sancious.

No Sting concert would ever be complete without his infamous ode to a woman of the night, 'Roxanne', which closed the main portion of the performance.

The band returned to encore with the Mid-Eastern flavors of Sting's 'Desert Rose', prior to a lengthy rendition of one of his signature songs 'King of Pain', and the pulsating mega-hit 'Every Breath You Take'.

Sting shifted to acoustic guitar for one last encore, a hushed and moving version of 'Fragile'.

© The Republican by Kevin O'Hare
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