04.08.05 Missoula Gig Review...

No epinephrine kit needed to handle this Sting: Music legend makes first trip to Missoula...

Music legend Sting was halfway through his first set before he launched into his song, 'Fields of Gold'.

The old-school generation held up their lighters in traditional fashion. The younger fans held their picture phones for light and as a sign of appreciation. But the mixing bowl of long-time and new to the scene music fans paid homage to the pop icon as he performed on campus at the University of Montana Thursday night.

"You'll remember me when the west wind moves / Upon the fields of barley / You can tell the sun in his jealous sky / When we walked in fields of gold."

With the closing words of the song, the crowd roared loud with applause and screams more so than at any other point in the night. About 5,500 people attended the concert at the Adams Center, leaving fewer than 100 unsold.

To kick off the night, opening act Phantom Planet, loosened the crowd with their new-age California sounds. Although lead singer Alexander Greenwald said there might be only five people in the crowd who are fans of the band, they hoped to leave an impression on everyone. They did. But when over 5,000 people are crammed into one building, waiting to see one man, it's tough to be remembered for long when that man takes the stage.

The instant Sting entered the stage, a current of middle-aged womanly love swept through the Adams Center. Married women, single, actually every female in the house seemed to all make a gasping sound upon his arrival.

This was Sting's first trip to Missoula, he said during the show. In fact, it was his cherry poppin' trip to the state of Montana. After just a few songs, Sting gave his approval of this newfound location. "Hey," he said through the screaming cheers. "I like this place."

With a pleasant mix of hard-hitting rock and the soothing melodies Sting is famous for, the audience was mellow yet active. It was kind of like listening to your parents' records, but not leaving you feeling like out-of-date.

Guitarists Shane Fontayne and Dominic Miller can play with anybody in the world. The two men, standing parallel to Sting's shoulders, seemed to energize the man singing the tunes. Drummer Josh Freese, too, was consistent with the rest of the band.

Sting told the Montana crowd that his latest expedition around the country, called The Broken Music Tour, was all about going back to his roots. And, he said, it would be impossible to return to his roots without playing a song in dedication to his favorite band, The Beatles. So, Sting played a song called 'A Day In the Life', out of respect for his fellow Englishmen.

Sting's set lasted just shy of an hour and a half. He cranked out most of the well-known classics, including 'Every Breath You Take', 'Message in a Bottle', 'Roxanne' and 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You'.

The lighting for the show was pinpoint and added to the talent Sting obviously possesses.

The audience was hip, even if the some of them were twice the age of Sting.

The cost of admission was $34.25 to $50.25, and even though the set was not exceedingly overdone, it was worth the price to a see a music legend.

© The Montana Kaimin by Joseph Friedrichs