07.29.11 Eye Witness - Roger Puplett reports from Lyons...

Sting at Les Nuits 2011 Festival, Lyon, France (King of Lyon)

July is the usual time most British folk escape the rain of our homeland for the more summery climates of our European neighbours.

Well, since I joined this leg of the tour in Mannheim the rain has been following me! Normally this isn't a problem; tonight I'm in a beautiful Roman Amphitheatre in Lyon, open to the elements.

Sting had a quizzical expression and meaning on his face singing out "it's a big enough umbrella..." lyric, on 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' tonight's opener (and not 'Faith' as earlier in the tour) that I wondered whether he had been caught in the torrential downpour we had experienced walking to the venue?

This was probably the latest start of any of the concerts on the Symphonicity tour, 9:30pm; we arrived at the venue and were surprised how many people were already there at 7:30pm.

So it was even more exceptional that we managed to find a spot right at the front barrier and in front of Jo Lawry :)

She noticed me straight away during the gig, my sister tapped me on the shoulder, and ''you've been spotted!'' My reputation precedes me, nah I was spotted in Mannheim and Munich as well, having the honour of front row thanks to the Fan Club allocation of tickets. Even if a Ticketmaster official tried to move me in Mannheim, stating a ticketing issue, thank goodness for PDFs. Once I mentioned to the official ''So you are going to supply me with a Press pass then?'', she soon disappeared.

This leg of the tour misses out on 'Mad About You', 'A Thousand Years' and 'My Ain’ True Love' but the rest of the set list remains the same with a few songs changing order.

At both German concerts the majority of fans didn't get a workout until 'King of Pain'. That's one of the reason I like festivals - I can stand all the time.

I really wanted to do a full dance routine during 'This Cowboy Song', but I found it's impossible to line dance when you're at the barrier! But I definitely had the impression I was leading the way in the singing, cheering and the "yee hahs!"

The more I was clapping the more Jo Lawry was smiling at me with approval, it happened several times throughout the concert. Whenever Sting wanted audience participation I got the feeling he knew the loudest cheers and singing were coming from my direction. Just hope my voice lasts out till Nimes, I might need some vocal rescue.

Most of the introductions between songs have disappeared, but Sting did introduce 'Why Should I Cry For You' in French "Pour mon papa", I could feel myself welling up before he had sung a note. This is my favourite song on this tour along with 'The End of the Game', a song about "renards" had Sting said the right words, the audience was silent, you could hear me say "foxes" both songs are stunning with the addition of the orchestral arrangements.

'Desert Rose' was so atmospheric, even I had to laugh with the irony of the lyric "I dream of rain..." I think it had started raining again by this time, not that I noticed as I was having so much fun and joy, the rain was a minor detail.

Sting was effortlessly whipping the crowd into a frenzy, and then Jo Lawry did this most amazing dance, Arabic style, looking straight at me, even my sister went "wow, she can dance!"

I probably had my mouth wide open in awe, then she had a dance with Dominic, and you could tell everybody was having such a fabulous time.

I think it was during 'She's Too Good For Me', my memory is a bit hazy, not through drink, but I'm not hundred percent sure whether it was this song? I was dancing around, and at the end of the song, almost out of nowhere Jo Lawry looks straight at me and does this huge leap in the air, the way I do at the peak of 'Next To You' (was it a homage to me, an older fan and a beautiful young singer... tragic?) what was more amazing she was wearing huge heels! At this point I'm wondering if there is a competition between Jo Lawry and Sarah Hicks on who can wear the highest heels.

Sting, ever the gentleman, likes to help Sarah Hicks down from her Conductor's platform. The crowd was in a frenzy, what happened next was almost akin to the Royal Albert Hall on Sting's birthday last year.

The audience in the seated section of the Amphitheatre were picking up the plastic seating mats and throwing them in the air (Frisbee style) in a manner of the ballon throwing at the RAH last year. Some managed to reach the stage, giving some of the technical crew palpitations, I don't think the mats took out any microphones, but some did hit members of the orchestra!

Any notion that I had been up since 4:30am was not showing in my body, by the time of the final song 'Message in a Bottle' I still had enough energy to sing with as much vigour as on the first song.

The crowd loved every moment, Sting was playing it slightly faster than in Munich the previous evening, maybe because it was pouring with rain again!

In Munich during one part of the audience refrain, I sang back a loud 'Message in a Bottle' line, the strange funny look on Sting's face was a picture, and he wasn't quite expecting it, like that? It's been another tremendous set of concerts so far and I have meet up with new fans as well as the long serving faithful.

It always amuses me the stories from other fans, about friends/partners etc who don't share our passion for Sting concerts. They get left at home (in Angela's case) or in the hotel (in my brother in law's case) why some people don't get it is an enigma to me or perhaps I am getting more eccentric. My usual question after the concert is saying to someone "are you going to the concert tomorrow?" I always hope for an answer of "yes". Next stop Nimes.

(c) Roger Puplett for Sting.com
(8) Reviews and Comments
sooz - 08.04.11
karenmoore - 08.01.11
You Make a Lovely Couple!
Oooo, always great to hear of your travels, Rog. Look forward to hearing all about Nimes. Hope to see you in the not too distant future. K&J xx
peanuts - 07.31.11
Way to go Rodge.....
Well Rodge,as the song goes "Some guys have all the luck".. some pic.... and what can l say... Jo finally gets to have her pic taken with the legendary "Rocking Rodge"....and as per norm Rodge,a review/report thats just top class..time to start the book Rodge my friend.....
anncaulfield - 07.31.11
Jo is beautiful inside and out. Great picture! Having shared many shows with you, your reviews always make me feel like I was with you. Thanks Roger!!
marc - 07.31.11
Next stop Nimes
Thank you Roger for this review.
belle441 - 07.29.11
Great Review as usual Roger..xx
surpata - 07.29.11
Awesome Rodge!!
A pic is worth 1000 words! Looks like you and Jo could have left the place and gone for a glass of vino! You lucky dog, you! : ) ~s2
t_treetops - 07.29.11
Eye Witness
That was great thanks.
The fans had been expecting him since 2006, when he last performed in the antic theatre. For his big return to Fourvière (Lyon, France) last Thursday for his big 'Symphonicity' concert, the English singer performed during over 2 hours a wonderfully reorchestrated show of his hits from his solo career as well as from the Police era in front of won over crowd of 4,500 people. All kept their fingers crossed. On the Facebook page of the Nuits de Fourvière(2), messages poured in all day: would the concert take place despite the forecasted rain? It had already played a bad joke on the singer in 2006, pouring continuously during the whole show...
The wild years are over, and passion too comes across a little more composed. Here is Sting in the "Olympiahalle" in front of 9,500 fans, singing "Roxanne", and what sounded boldly snotty in the Seventies, sharpened by pithy reggae riffs, is now a soft tango – the adoration of a prostitute as a ballad. Sting's voice caresses, the strings exude warmth, and you imagine "Roxanne" as a harlot with soft round shapes, the red light a romantic promise...
Mannheim. In the end, you can't help being absolutely fascinated. moreover time, you fall deeper and deeper into a state of enchantment - even if it had been a bit of a dogged beginning two hours earlier and the high spirits took their time to arrive. However, it appears that Sting had planned his concert with band and orchestra deliberately so. Finally, with the first beats of 'Every Breath You Take', there is no more holding back: It seems as if nearly all 7,000 visitors jump up as one man and rush towards the stage. With the charismatic 'Desert Rose' as the first encore, the entire SAP Arena becomes one rocking dance floor - and the audience shows that it can get excited after all...
El cantante británico hizo un extenso repaso de su trayectoria musical, solo o con The Police. Deslumbró en Cap Roig. El músico británico Sting conquistó anoche a sus incondicionales con la revisión sinfónica de los temas más conocidos de su carrera musical. Embarcado en la gira mundial 'Symphonicity', el cantante - principal cabeza de cartel de este emblemático festival de la Costa Brava-,desplegó sobre el escenario, junto con la Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès, todo su carisma y personalidad frente a un público que inmediatamente le acompañó. No era para menos. Las entradas para ver al fundador y líder de The Police estaban agotadas desde hacía días y la expectación era máxima minutos antes del concierto...
Last night Sting captivated an audience of 7000 unconditional fans at the Plaza de Toros of Granada (Bullring), accompanied by the brilliant Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, by a marvellous voice and an appeal that does not wear out over the years. The English musician did an unforgettable symphonic review of his most famous songs of the last thirty years. And the experiment of orchestrating rock, jazz and pop, with which it has already toured around the world, was a total success...