A scorching gala performance, an enthusiastic show of cheerful and meaningful musicianship - that's how Stings concert in Drammenshallen turned out last night.
Sting, his six men and two women, six thousand people and something which felt like an equal amount of degrees of heat grew together to a happy, singing, sweating mass when 'Message In A Bottle' closed a three hour long concert as the fourth encore. Prior to that most of the songs from '...Nothing Like The Sun' had hit peoples hearts and minds with it's unique blend of inspiring lyrics and moving rhythms, brilliantly served by possibly the best line-up of musicians rock'n'roll has ever seen.
Even though Sting is the natural focus on any stage, and his songs are richer then most pop songs, the genius of these concerts has been to bring in jazz-wonders like Branford Marsalis (saxophones), Kenny Kirkland (keyboards) and Minu Cinelu (percussion) for this special hybrid: music with the raw simplicity and emotional availability of rock, with room for the jazz-improvisers free runs through chords and keys. It becomes a different kind of rock; totally free from pretentiousness and musical preaching, but filled with a most challenging content. This way the music retains it good spirit and humour, and is rich instead of being full of itself.It went from one high to another.
From cheerful Sting - dancing and more jive, cakewalk and shimmy than Drammenshallen has ever seen, to dazzling Kirkland and Marsalis-solos, to a percussion firework from Cinelu and a guitar solo from hell on Jimi Hendrix 'Little Wing' delivered by Jeff Campbell, who freed himself completely from Hiram Bullocks mega-version on the album.
And so it goes: When great arrangements are delivered with the natural authority of proper musicians, the result is music that rings in your head long after the lights over the stage in Drammenshallen are turned of, taken down and brought to the next town on a Sting tour that began in November last year, and which closes the day before Christmas this year.
(c) Dagbladet (Norway) by Terje Mosnes/translated by Carl Gjerdrum
Rarely have we seen so many representatives of Norwegian record industry gathered in one place as in yesterdays Sting concert in Drammenshallen. And together with the rest of the 5,500 in the audience they received a lesson in pure musicality and quality.
Sting on stage is first of all about music, even though the lyrics carry messages of a better world. And it was primarily the music the Norwegian artists, record executives and Sting-enthusiasts had come to hear.
It is not often one gets to experience such a quality team as Stings eight-man-band, a quality artist like Sting, and such quality songs and lyrics as he writes. Quality is also the only label that can cover Stings many musical expressions. During the three - very hot - hours he served everything from rock to reggae, soul, pop, ballads and even jazz in a beautiful mix.
Sting has no inhibitions when it comes to crossing musical genres, something which both critics, other musicians and the audience have shown to appreciate. The concert hall was full to the rim, and when Sting shouted ''One world is enough'' the audience in unison answered ''For all of us''. And when the rhythms pounded from the stage everybody danced their asses off.
''I hope it's possible to make quality-music commercial,'' Sting said before the concert. He did it!
(c) VG (Norway) by Morten Stensland/translated by Carl Gjerdrum