03.30.05 Chelsea's review from the Roxy...


First things first - Dave, Wendy and Tina: if you can imagine a world where only love, joy, and peace abound, then you will have an idea of the kinds of energy being sent to you from me, and probably the rest of the Sting.com members you awarded tickets to. May our love and gratitude fill you up the way your dedication and graciousness fill us. Many thanks, and a thousand hugs to all of you at Sting.com.

OK, I think I can come down long enough to write about the show Monday night, but as I am still blissed out, can't promise any clarity or continuity, just stream of consciousness thoughts and memories. Here goes:

Can you say amazing, magic, awesome, over-the-top, experience of a lifetime? Then you have an idea of the rehearsal show at the Roxy!

Seriously, I have not had an intimate club experience equal to Monday's show since seeing Jim Morrison and the Doors (ok, I'm dating myself, but was still just a young teen who snuck in).

Where to begin? Won't post the set list 'cos it's already up, but will add that on Dominic's set list on the stage floor (yes, we were that close!!) it did have the song 'Love is Stronger Than Justice' in between 'She's so Good' & 'Faith', but they did not play it.

BEFORE THE SHOW

There is something magical about walking down Sunset Blvd past the infamous Whiskey-A-Go-Go nightclub/rock house and the original Comedy Club on your way to see Sting play the Roxy. Just sets the stage you know?

I took a friend of mine along (we flew in from Seattle) and as my friend and I came up to the club, there was a small line of happy, anxious fans waiting for the doors to open. Like most Sting fans waiting for a show, they (us too!) were imbued with a sense of anticipation of a spectacular evening.

And magic was in the air. After all, everyone in line had either won or were given tickets, so we were primed, to say the least, to expect magic that night. In fact, I am sure we contributed to it.

While in line, we enjoyed the incredible friendliness of so many Sting fans who came from all over, Boston, Ontario, the Midwest, etc.. We were all bracing against an outrageous, cold wind coming down the strip and blasting us, while being dressed for a warm LA evening.

Did we care that any semblance of a hairstyle we had was annihilated by the wind, or that the whites of our eyes were now the "reds of our eyes" from the blowing dust, or that the doors were not opening at 7 like promised? No. Stronger than the bite of the wind, the cold, the dust, and the wait, was the warmth of the "Only Good Things Will Happen Tonight" energy that emanated from, and wrapped around us. Man were we lucky.

My sincere thanks to all the Sting fans we met for making the wait enjoyable with your cheer and stories.

THE BOUNCERS

Well, had I known pics weren't allowed, and they were going to search my purse, I might have put my digital cam in my pocket instead. Told the bouncers it was not ok with me for them to take my camera, so one nice short bouncer (not having the same big-guy-in-charge attitude as the other huge guys) suggested just taking my batteries. Ah-ha! I thought wickedly! No problem, I have extra batteries in my pocket! Dump the batteries, go inside, and *#@* I left the batteries at the hotel! Oh well. Next time I'll switch out the wicked thoughts for better preparation.

INSIDE THE VENUE

The Roxy is very small and intimate. I heard there were going to be 300 people there but it looked like it was more around 150. Great old place, dark, with a bar in the back along the wall, and a small raised seating area up to the left when you face the stage. This was where the family, stars and other notables sat (more on that later). The rest was general admission and we all stood for the show on the flat, painted black concrete floor.

Picture a really small old stage full of equipment, raised only 2 feet from the floor. Picture being able to stand right up against the stage and being two feet away from, and eye level with Mr. Amazing and his band member's zippers.

Ok, ok, if your reaction to that is "Eeewww", just erase that picture from your mind. For those of you who have a different reaction, realize that if you are a real Sting fan, you aren't going to be looking there during the performance anyway, but you may never again have the option, so it is noteworthy! Just wanted to help you imagine the scene.

It is dimly lit, there is rock music playing in the background and lots of happy talking going on. Each time I looked over to the seats a mere few yards away, I see more notables arriving and chatting with each other - Courtney Cox, Leonardo DiCaprio with his girlfriend Giselle (with his baseball cap pulled way down low - c'mon Leo, we all know it's you), Robert Downey Jr., Rosanna Arquette, and more. Did I mention Chris Botti AND Stewart Copeland!!! If you didn't know you weren't in Kansas anymore by that time, seeing these guys sure did it.

We met more fans that were around us and had a blast talking and waiting. To give you even more of an idea of how incredibly happy all the fans were, before the show started, the waitress tripped and dumped a full glass of beer on this guy, completely drenching his back, & the floor, with a significant amount of beer getting on a few others of us. And he never lost his smile. Way to go Jim! We all just cleaned up and went on, smelling of a brewery.

All was forgotten when the roadies came out to set up. When they set a cup of steaming tea on Stings little mosaic tiled stand, breaths were held, conversations were stopped, and all eyes & hearts looked to the left of the stage. And, the band walked on. Breathing resumed, hands came together, smiles stretched further than the faces that carried them, and screams rang out. Lights come up on four absolutely amazing musicians.

Sting looked great. Vibrant and great. Not being fond of "soul patches" (little under the lip goatees) on men, I quickly amend my thinking when I see his. Sting can have just about anything growing on his face, and when he opens his mouth to smile, say "hello", and then starts to sing, you see only with your heart at that point anyway. Unfathomable love, deep appreciation, and gratitude for music that is so intelligent and far reaching that it can literally change your life, is the only sane response you can give.

I have seen Sting up close before, was lucky enough to meet and talk to him, and have had front row center seats numerous times, but the rawness of this, the hard energy, the newness of the band and the working out of the kinks, made this night feel sooooo intimate, that it is hard to describe.

THE BAND

Sting was, well, Sting was Sting. What else can you say? He wore his striped pants that he must love because he wears them a lot, sometimes with a matching tunic. Had on a black T/muscle shirt, and a jacket that he took off after a few songs.

He really seemed to be having a great time, and laughed at himself the few times he forgot the lyrics and had to go off the prompter. What a trip it is to watch and hear Sting kind of fudge words until he finds his place on the screen! Just made it feel like you were at a Sting rehearsal. Oh, that's right.

Thought it was cute that when he played the Beatles song, he felt he had to introduce it 'Now here's a Beatles' tune. Everyone in the audience knew all the words and sang along. I read the news today, oh boy.

Generally he just rocked. His voice was clear and good, but not as powerful on some of the songs as it usually is, and he sprayed his mouth quite a few times. I wondered if during rehearsals he was saving his voice a little for the tour, but I remembered that at the rehearsal show in Miami for the start of the 'Sacred Love' tour, his voice was unbelievably strong and powerful.

Then I realized that at that show, he was just beginning a tour. This time, he is coming off of the end of the entire Sacred Love tour. It is kind of amazing he can sing at all let alone as incredibly as he did. His voice is always beautiful whether soft or loud.

Sting worked up a tremendous sweat. At one point, I felt my face get a splash of water, and thought "Oh no, not another drink spilled" but realized it was sweat from stings head!! And of course there are just no words to describe being so close that you can see a trickle of sweat pour down Sting's face to his neck, then change it's path because the muscles in his neck would pop out when he sang and divert the flow.

Look, I promise I wasn't on drugs or drinking, or trying to study him on that miniscule a level, it was just all so loud, and intense, and surreal, and beautiful, and perfect, and we were so close, that my mind would seem to take a break from trying to absorb it all and I would find myself just noticing some tiny detail and marveling on it. Like the large size of his right hand. I wonder if anyone else had that experience from being up close?

Dominic's guitar work was fabulous as usual. He's a genius, period. Didn't seem like he made any mistakes or like he got lost at all on any of the songs. Just a wee bit less sexy teasing of the front row folks than normal, but he did play to two gals in particular a lot. And here's a vicarious thrill for all you Dom fans, he first took his hand off his guitar to touch one girl's hand a few people to my left, and then later, bent down and kissed her on the lips! And no matter how happy you are for the girl, you just can't help but think "Damn. Why wasn't I standing there?" Of course, he picks who he picks.

Dominic's playing seemed flawless to me, and he was deep into himself, with almost a look of pain (you know the one) for several songs especially Soul Cages, eliciting in me what I can only call excruciating joy. Yea, painful joy. You understand, yes?

To behold and hear one so phenomenally talented, creates in me a longing to somehow communicate how much it means to me to be the recipient of such exquisite mastery. Exact same feelings for Sting too. I think this is in part, why I go to as many of the shows as possible, hoping for expression of that longing and the need to reciprocate what are often the best gifts I ever receive. (I bet I am not alone in this!)

And Dominic is so good to his fans. A fellow in the front row asked him for his pick (before he had a chance to throw it) and he gave it to him. Yessssss, we likes Dominics we do.

Shayne Fontayne is fantastic. I mean fantastic. A perfect addition who seemed, for all intents and purposes, as if he had played with Sting and Dominic all along. He is a superb guitar player. He played harmonica as well, but it didn't come across loud enough to hear well. The sound will be better on the tour I am sure. Looking forward to it. He is quite the rocker and had a blast onstage. Was also good about playing to the crowd, like Dominic. His backup vocals were fine too.

Josh Freese is one rockin drummer. I was delighted at his powerful drumming. So powerful in fact, that at one point in, I think, the second song, Message in a Bottle, Sting backed away from the mic back to the drums, and halfway turned around to Josh and motioned with his body, and mouthed something, and immediately, the drumming slowed and dropped a notch and wasn't so overpowering. Don't know what he communicated, but after that, it all coalesced perfectly. For those of you going to a concert, wait until you hear Josh during 'I Hung My Head'. Too cool. He has a lot of energy and is very talented. Wonder what Stewart thought up in the audience? Had to be pleased.

Save the best for last? What better time to bring out a surprise guest than at the "almost end" when you are certain it can't get any better? Enter Coco, looking like the absolutely beautiful young woman she is, then with no introduction, straps on her dad's bass and just rocks out on 'Next To You'. I couldn't be more thrilled.

I remember seeing her sitting on the floor in the wings during the 'Sacred Love' rehearsal in Miami and thinking "My gosh, she is so gorgeous, I would love to see her up close". Well, voila! How's that for manifesting!

She is good!! No, she was great. Unbelievable. She reminded me somewhat of Avril Lavigne in her movement and facial expressions and jumping. It was thrilling to see her jump way high in the air, bass and all, like her daddy used to. All that youthful spring and vitality and fitness. Awesome. When the song was over, she just walked off, but not before Sting gently took her arm and pulled her back to introduce her. Can't describe the look on his face. Well maybe I can - respect, appreciation, and love. What a thrill for Trudie too I bet.

THE MUSIC

See the set list. Enough said. Actually, there could never be enough said about this set list and getting to hear these songs at this point in time. If you can go, go. If you can sell lemonade on the corner and buy an ebay ticket, buy one. I put aside my distaste for scalpers and bought two front row center seats to the Spokane show April 4 on ebay. Can't wait.

OTHER PERSONAL HIGHS

Talking to Sting's manager Kathy Schenker again, and having her recognize me (without prompting), from the Miami rehearsal show. She is so incredibly gracious and kind even though she is manager to some of the top names in the music industry. Even with all she had to do at the end of the concert, and all the celebs she had to get up to see Sting, she recognized me and took the time to talk. A first class person.

I met her in the ladies room before the Miami show but did not know who I was talking to. We chatted about hot flashes, divorce and stuff. When she heard that I had gotten up to catch a 4 am ferry from the island I live on to go to Seattle, to fly to Miami, she decided I should meet him and told me she was his manager. So she took me in to meet him before the show and get my picture taken. And, I had a front row center seat! What a show THAT was.

The night before I flew out to Miami for the show, I dreamt I was going to meet Sting, and I did. I dreamt I was going to win tickets to the Roxy show, and (thank you again D, W, & T) I did. I dreamt I was going to meet Trudie and I did at the Roxy. On the way home in the plane, I dreamt I was having a meal with Sting and some of his family. Wooohoo!! I am on a roll! Let's see, I think I prefer Tuscany.

Got to meet/say hello/or talk to Leo DiCaprio and Giselle, Rosanna Arquette, Stewart Copeland, Dominic (again), and many others after the show that were celebs, some of which I recognized their faces but didn't remember who they were until I got home. Then I was like "Wow, I got to talk to him/her?? Cool."

It was just a dreamlike relaxed scene after the show and I will never forget it. I was pleasantly surprised there wasn't more "look at me I'm beautiful" kind of attitudes there.

Didn't find the guy with my camera batteries until I was leaving - sorry guys, no pictures. Anyone who has mastered the Vulcan mind-meld is welcome to come to the island to see the pics in my head though.

So, off to bed now to dream some more dream... any requests?

Feed your dreams. Peace,
Chelsea