06.13.12 ''Sting, backup band nearly flawless in Artpark gig'' reports The Buffalo News...
Sting, backup band nearly flawless in Artpark gig...
Sting might be the best looking male in his age group, according to much of the female portion of his loyal audience Tuesday night. Happily, judging from a beautifully paced and immaculately performed show kicking off the Artpark summer concert season, he doesn't need to rely on that fact. His occasional shimmies might draw screams from some of his fans, but it is clearly the prowess of his songwriting and the high level of musicianship evidenced by his band that speaks the loudest.
Fronting a smaller ensemble than he has often since the breakup of the Police - longtime guitarist Dominic Miller, drummer extraordinaire Vinnie Colaiuta, former E Street keyboardist David Sancious, violinist David Tickell, and backing vocalist Jo Lawry - Sting took us on a tour through his impressive catalog of songs.
He did indeed play a handful of Police songs - an early-in-the-set 'Everything She Does Is Magic' was one of the night's highlights, as was a burning rendition of 'Demolition Man' - but much of the set drew from the albums 'Ten Summoner's Tales' and 'Mercury Falling'. It was a hits-centered set, but one that offered consistent surprises in terms of both set list choices and musical arrangements.
After opening with a bright, confident 'All This Time', Sting, whose rock-solid bass playing was the conductor's baton that directed the band throughout, began to allow each of the incredible musicians he'd assembled stretch out a bit. Drummer Colaiuta melded a jazz approach to the frantic high-hat style made famous by Sting's former partner in the Police, drummer Stewart Copeland, and his playing during a torrid take on 'Driven To Tears' was simply stunning. He's one of the finest drummers extant, and he proved it throughout Tuesday's show, without ever distracting from the momentum and pacing of the songs themselves.
Violinist Tickell took over the saxophone parts initially made famous by Branford Marsalis during 'Englishman In New York', and 'Demolition Man' afforded guitarist Miller and keyboardist Sancious an opportunity for some call and response at the tune's coda.
Miller and Sting displayed a long-held musical telepathy during gorgeous takes on 'Fields Of Gold' and 'Shape of My Heart', with Miller playing masterful classical guitar during both. Singer Lawry shadowed Sting in perfect harmony throughout, sounding particularly powerful during a beautiful new arrangement of the prog-folk tune 'The End of the Game'.
Sting told the crowd of his ongoing love for country music a number of times during the evening, taking time to note his gratitude upon first hearing Johnny Cash's version of Sting's haunting 'I Hung My Head'. He then led the band through a brilliantly rearranged version of that song, with the surprising addition of a 5/4 time signature that suggested reinvention of a much-loved song.
The show, clocking in at two hours, was close to flawless. Minor quibbles? Really, just one. It would've been nice to hear these fantastic musicians stretch out even more than they did. All are musicians of the highest caliber - Sting included. His bass playing is often overlooked, probably due to the strength of his singing and songwriting. But it shouldn't be. He, like every musician on Artpark's stage on Tuesday, is simply a beast of a musician. Beautiful renditions of encores 'Desert Rose' - even if Sting was a touch hoarse by song's end - and 'King Of Pain' drove this point home.
(c) The Buffalo News by Jeff Miers
Sting's Summer 2012 Tour made a stop in Atlantic City, NJ this past weekend. Metro New York wrote, ''Just one song into the set and it was more than clear why Sting is a music legend who is still selling out shows across the world.''
A younger generation might know Sting as the British rocker behind Police hits like 'Roxanne' and the man behind vaguely-remembered '90s singles like 'Desert Rose'. And indeed, it was an older crowd that packed the house at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey Saturday night as part of his summer-long tour. But just one song into his set, and it was more than clear why Sting is a music legend who is still selling out shows across the world and remains worthy of respect and awe by fans of all ages. At age 60, he's still got it. Rumored by his die-hard fans to be his best band yet, Sting was backed by a multi-talented group of musicians, including insanely gifted violinist Peter Tickell who, dare we say, stole the show at times. There was no opening act, just a two-hour set played entirely by Sting and his band, and it didn't take long to see that it wouldn't have been easy, if not impossible, to properly set the stage for the music icon anyway...
In the past decade or so, Sting has turned his songs inside out. We've heard the symphonic versions. The lute versions. The electro-enhanced 'Don't Stand So Close to Me' version. So what, at halfway to 61 years of age and nearly 35 years into a career, is left to do? Why, play the songs in their basic, original forms, of course. That's exactly what the still-muscular, still intelligently sexy Sting is doing on his ''Back to Bass'' tour, a two-hour historical romp through his career that will have many grousing about the lack of huge hits (thankfully, even he has realized that the formless 'Roxanne' is overplayed and overrated and axed it from the show) and longtime fans perking up at the appearance of 'Sacred Love' and 'The Hounds of Winter'...
Concert in Tenerife Cancelled: The concert previously scheduled for June 30 in Santa Cruz De Tenerife, Spain at the Estadio Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopez has been cancelled. Refunds are available at point of purchase.
New Performance in Marbella Confirmed: On Saturday, June 30, Sting will perform at the Hotel Puente Romano Tennis Club in Marbella, Spain. Fan Club pre-sale begin at Monday, June 11 10AM to Tuesday, June 12 3PM . Tickets will go on sale to the public Tuesday, June 12 10AM. All times local time.
It's rare that a drummer becomes so renowned that referring to them by their christian name garners immediate respect. There's Nicko, Chad, perhaps Jojo? But say Vinnie to any drummer with a working knowledge of the greats, and it can only relate to one man: Vinnie Colaiuta. With Vinnie rejoining the ranks of Sting's world-class band for an extensive tour that returns to the Henley Festival on 4 July (bad luck if you don't have tickets already). He's also made some significant changes to his drum set up. Vinnie told Rhythm all about his new rig, getting back out with Sting, as well as recounting some of his early experiences in the music world over 11 pages of their July issue...