04.13.05 A second Salt Lake City review...


The years have been good to Sting - He still has that fire in his eyes, and his voice is in great shape...

The Beatles have been stung. It happened during the Sting concert Monday.

Sting, the former Police chief, paid tribute to the Fab Four, his favorite band, and played 'A Day In a Life' in its entirety.

The feat was done without keyboards and samplers. Instead, Sting, who was born Gordon Sumner, relied on his band - himself on the bass, drummer Josh Freese (of A Perfect Circle) and guitarists Dominic Miller and Shane Fontaine - to pull the progressive psychedelic stunts.

Ironically, Sting calls this round of concerts "The Broken Music Tour." Music is one thing that isn't broken.

Still, irony was one of the show's strong points.

First, there were no video screens. That's a big deal for the man whose former band the Police was a mainstay on MTV throughout the early 1980s.

Second, Sting, the solo artist, played more Police songs in this set than he has in the past - except, of course, when he was in the Police.

Monday's show kicked off with three Police tunes - 'Message in a Bottle', 'Spirits in the Material World' and 'Demolition Man'.

The third ironic thing was mentioned by Sting himself as he addressed the adoring audience: "The song 'Demolition Man' was my first attempt to write a heavy-metal song. It was filled with irony. But Sylvester Stallone took my song and made a movie that lacked any irony."

The fourth song of the set was, finally, a solo Sting hit, 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You'. He quickly followed that up with the lamenting 'Hung My Head'(a song the late Johnny Cash liked so much he made it one of his final recordings).

The years have been good to Sting. He's slim. He still has that fire in his eyes. And his voice can still effortlessly hit the high notes. And what's more, he can still sing in tune.

Another Police song, 'Synchronicity II', stood well with the solo 'End of the Game' and the ironic 'Heavy Cloud No Rain' refrain - to the delight of the audience.

Stage lights rotated and highlighted the songs, while the only visual backdrop was a wrinkled canvas that gave color to the stage, thanks to the many lights.

The surprising emergence of the new-wave favorite 'Invisible Sun' - yes, a Police song - and the solo work 'Why Should I Cry for You' set the tone for the hypnotic 'Fields of Gold' and the oppressive 'Soul Cages'.

"Getting back to my roots" was easy, he told the audience. And he gave them what they wanted with the Police's trademark new-wave reggae hit 'Roxanne', as the stage lights bathed the audience in, of course, red.

Sting and the band wasted no time getting down in the first encore. The Police's 'Next to You' and the humorous 'She's Too Good for Me' were wrapped up with the No. 1 Police hit about obsession, 'Every Breath You Take'.

The second encore was comprised of one song, 'Mercury Falls', but that didn't bother the audience, which gave the band and opening guest Phantom Planet a rousing welcome.

© Deseret Morning News by Scott Iwasaki