SHOW REVIEW

Sting & Annie in Toronto...

Well, I'm finally back up and running, and thought I'd post a few thoughts about the show last night. First of all, met up with Jock and his lovely wife Anne at our pre-designated meeting area, and had a fabulous time with you guys, as always. I'm so glad that this fan club brought us together, you're such lovely people, and I always enjoy time spent with you. Sorry others didn't have a chance to make it out, but on a weeknight when people have to rush around after work, it's quite understandable - but was still happy to bump into Kirk and Annette at the ACC, and as luck would have it, their seats were directly beside good friends of mine (non FC members)! Synchronicity at work. Also very nice to run into Aaron (hope I spelled that right!) during the Annie/Sting intermission - great to have met you!

Anyway - took the 16th row centre seats - which were fabulous, btw - just back far enough to get a great view, and to fully appreciate the sound, which was crystal clear from that vantage point. Dominic's set was just lovely - really enjoyed it - and although it came as no surprise, it was still great to have Sting come out and sing a very heartfelt rendition of 'Shape Of My Heart' with him...he was in very good voice for that one. A funny aside... during Dom's set, a young woman who came prepared to the concert to do business (literally) - she had her portfolio out, was on her cell phone, and was talking biz with her S.O. all night turns to me and says:

''Excuse me, could you tell me the name of that gentleman up there on the stage right now?''

Me: ''Dominic Miller''.

Her (turning to her s.o.): ''Oh, right, that's Dominic Miller - he's always played keyboards for Sting on all the past tours''.

Me (tapping her on the shoulder): ''Actually, no, Dominic's been Sting's lead guitarist for years''.

Her (with conviction): ''No, I'm sorry, I don't think so - I'm positive he played keyboards for Sting's last tour''.

Me: ''Well, you'll just have to trust me, I AM positive etc...''

And with that, I gave up....after the concert, we went out with our friends for a re-hash, and they decided that I should be a permanent fixture at ALL Sting concerts as the official ''Sting Police'', with the job of spotting impostor Sting fans and handing them a ''yellow card'' for a ''Sting knowledge infraction''... LOL... silly stuff, but fun...

Okay, back to the show. Annie. One word: Amazing. She just looked and sounded awesome. I was completely captivated by her performance - everything about it from her sensual movement to the impeccable quality of her voice was perfect. Almost empowering that a woman of my generation can be so alluring, in every way. As my husband turned to me and said... ''Okay, you've got Sting... I've got Annie now!!'' I especially loved her beautiful version of 'Here Comes The Rain Again', which was essentially just her at a piano. Just magic. Not ONE bad song in the set - I'd have to say she performed every song I wanted to hear.

Then... Sting's turn. I'll have to agree with AnnaBlume... actually at one point Kipper asked the audience if we were going to be better than the Montreal audience the previous night...(to which we responded heartily in the affirmative - it's a hockey thing) anyway, I'll have to agree that the opening numbers of the set fell sort of flat for me... starting with 'Send Your Love'... although it was the ''remix'' version, it just sort of popped out of nowhere, and the crowd really didn't respond at all...then 'Synchronicity II', which had had Massey Hall on it's toes in March, surprisingly didn't generate much excitement from the crowd. Another random thought... 'Sacred Love', which was probably my favourite from the Massey Hall show in terms of energy, seemed to have been re-worked with less energy, and when accompanied by the strippers on the screens behind, just didn't work for me this time... NOT in a prudish way... I just found these gigantic images of women doing their thang while Sting crooned 'Sacred Love' to be quite distracting from the song itself... perhaps that WAS the intent, to be provocative, to juxtapose the thought of ''sacred love'' with ''sacred lust''... who knows? Either way, it didn't work for me. However, Now for the good parts...

'Englishman in New York'... although I've heard this song more times than I care to mention, it never fails to reach me... I always love it, especially the end where he sings ''yeah, yeah'' - (well, you know what I mean ) and I found the lighting on this particular piece (sort of a B&W effect reminiscent of Woody Allen's ''Manhattan'') to be particularly effective.

My absolute favourite?? Had to be 'Never Coming Home', hands down. O-M-G!!! What an absolutely incredible tour de force by Jason on keyboards... the song just started strong and only got better and better, and better.... much to my chagrin, however, the ever staid Toronto crowd for the most part was sitting with their arms crossed, with nary a motion in sight, as the band on stage was engrossed in what has to be probably the most exciting jam I've seen live ever... I tried Shawn, but could not contain myself any longer, and just said ''the hell with it'', and jumped up to be probably the only one on my section of the floor dancing... I suppose the good thing is, the people behind me were so apathetic about the whole thing, they weren't bothered by my sudden display of energy... anyway, it was very cool, as, given the fact that I was the only one standing, I almost felt at one with those on stage, as Joy, Donna and Sting danced in unison together, I danced right along with them... well, it was one of the those ''really'' moments for me... What a song, what a jam, what a performance. Thanks for that, guys. And I do apologize if anyone behind me was ticked off.

One last thought... Joy. Last night, I think even Sting was humbled by this woman's performance on 'Whenever I Say Your Name'. What a brilliant vocalist she is... the goose bumps generated during her solo on this song! As it ended, Sting just sank to his knees almost as if he was worshipping her... and so he should... she is such a talent. Why Mary J. Blige was chosen for the recorded version I'll never know - Joy owns this song.

All in all, I really enjoyed the show - yes, it had it's down moments, but I'm not jumping the ''Sacred Love Boat'' yet!! Sometimes it can just depend on the mood you're in, the way something strikes you at any given moment... but overall, a completely enjoyable evening!

(c) Noelle for Sting.com



Sting & Annie a handsome singing duo...

It was the moment they had been anticipating.

So, when Annie Lennox reappeared onstage to join Sting in a duet at the Air Canada Centre last night, 14,000 fans shrieked their approval.

And a handsome pairing it was.

They're a perfect complement, you know, this former Police frontman and erstwhile Eurythmics siren, who will bring their show back to the Air Canada Centre on Oct. 17.

It's their maturity and longevity and lithe good looks.

It's their vast repertoires of popular songs.

It's the shared ability to both soothe and incite.

It's a perception of sincerity and graciousness.

It's the relief that somebody is still making music for grown folks.

It was during the fifth song of his 100-minute set, as Sting launched into 'We'll Be Together' from his 1987 album 'Nothing Like the Sun' that Lennox emerged from backstage to sing with him.

They started off back-to-back - him strumming bass - and together they swayed and skanked across the stage, she wailing and frenetic, his tenor restrained.

We can't show you what this scene looked like, because Lennox's undue restrictions on media photography caused the Star to opt out of shooting her.

Despite her self-portrayal as a reluctant celebrity, the native Scot retains tight control over her image.

You can't really knock her though, if that's what has helped the classically trained musician (as a flautist) navigate her way through two successful bands, the Tourists and Eurythmics, survive two divorces and raise two daughters.

She has sold more records since stepping out solo in the '90s than she did with either group and earlier this year won an Oscar and Golden Globe for the song 'Into the West' from 'Lord of the Rings: Return Of The King'.

And based on last night, the short-cropped blonde, who turns 50 this year, is at the top of her game.

She opened the show clad in jeans and a sequined top and strutted across the stage like a diva, swung the microphone and kicked up her heels like a rock 'n' roller in an hour-long set that included Eurythmics hits as well as songs from her three solo albums.

Even when she slowed it down, tinkling the ivories on 'Here Comes The Rain Again' and caressing each note, a growl lingered nearby.

Sting's portion was a retooled version of his March show at Massey Hall - buffed just enough to make you wonder how that smaller venue ever accommodated him.

He coasted through much of his set, technically sound, but uninspired on tracks like 'Send Your Love' and 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free'.

But the 52-year-old Brit came alive on the crowd-pleasing 'Englishman In New York' and an extended, overwrought version of 'Roxanne'.

(c) The Toronto Star by Ashante Infantry

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