SHOW REVIEW

Sting is solid, but it's Lennox's show...

Not every rock god is as involved with the concert he headlines as Sting is on his 'Sacred Love' tour. Although he and his band didn't start playing until 9pm, he made several prior appearances onstage.

First, it was in casual jeans and T-shirt to sing the final song, Sting's 'Shape of My Heart', of opening act Dominic Miller's set. Miller, a guitarist in Sting's band for years, appeared later in the Police man's set.

Then, Sting introduced Annie Lennox,''the one and only,'' whose name on this bill is more as a co-headliner than opening act. She would return the favor by joining Sting in his set for a rousing duet on 'We'll Be Together'.

But despite his involvement with the entertainment that preceded him, Sting didn't seem too caught up in his own material.

He is normally a very charismatic band leader, known for rivaling Jim Morrison in the ''sexiest frontman ever'' contest. Sting's trademark raspy-yet-soothing voice was in top form on such tunes as 'Fragile', 'Dead Man's Rope' and 'Send Your Love' (not to mention such crowd-pleasing Police songs as 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' and 'Roxanne'.)

And the music, invoking a melange of styles, from Spanish guitar to blues to reggae, was nicely arranged in a jam kind of way.

But at the same time it was also all very, well, bland.

Good, but not the spectacular show you might expect from such an icon. As much of a presence as Sting is, he seemed removed from it all, not completely invested in his set. Tour fatigue, perhaps?

Maybe he should've taken a lesson from Lennox, whose 11-song set was the evening's highlight. Now here's a singer who throws her every emotion - and surprising physicality - into her performance. And that wonderfully husky, soulful voice never sounded better. Yes, she pulled out a few Eurythmics gems ('I Need a Man', 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)' and a piano version of 'Here Comes the Rain Again') as well as satisfying her solo fans with 'Little Bird', 'Pavement Cracks' and a gorgeous 'Cold'.

Maybe she should've had top billing.

(c) Fort Worth Star Telegram by Mark Lowry



Sting and Lennox mix it up...

You don't often see a headlining act come out and introduce the openers, but that's exactly what Sting did Sunday at Smirnoff Music Centre.

Opening acts Annie Lennox and Dominic Miller were given VIP treatment from Sting, who came out to sing along with Mr. Miller, his longtime guitarist who is launching a solo career, and to introduce Ms. Lennox. It felt like Sting was throwing a party for friends.

He and Ms. Lennox make apt touring partners. Both emerged from basically the same early '80s time period, and both were early icons of MTV. Both have weathered the years remarkably, and both put on extremely polished shows.

It was hard to think of a better, less taxing way to spend a night in September than to become submerged in their slick music, bask in their sophisticated light shows, revel in their crisp sound (especially Ms. Lennox's, whose voice was pure and clear) and enjoy the light breeze tickling the back of the neck. The night was a magnet for couples, and all seemed to be of a certain age (over 35 and under 45).

Ms. Lennox ran through tracks old ('Here Comes the Rain Again', 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)') and new ('Pavement Cracks', from her recent album 'Bare'). Her performance was lively and funky but cool, with her platinum and pastel blue stage making things seem cooler still.

Sting is basically still supporting his latest CD, 'Sacred Love', on which he toured earlier this year, with a stop at Nokia Theatre. He buried the title track in amongst classics including 'We'll Be Together' and 'Fields of Gold'. Both performers kept the old stuff fresh with lively rearrangements, making familiar songs sound almost new.

Ms. Lennox joined Sting onstage during 'We'll Be Together', sending back the same informal, we're-all-friends vibe he'd established up front.

(c) The Dallas Morning News by Teresa Gubbins

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