Sacred Love
Nov
23
2004
Birmingham, GBNational Exhibition Centre
With Chris Botti
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Sting's return to the National Exhibition Centre was a bit stilted - a bit hit and miss.

It was like watching something slowly burn throughout the night before the flames finally ignited at the end.

Forced to cancel the gig earlier this year due to a bad case of laryngitis, this was Sting's last date in the UK before he embarks on the European leg of his 120-date tour, which started back in January in Miami.

An upbeat and pulsating 'Synchronicity II' proved a good start to the one hour and 45-minute gig for the former Police frontman but then it all got a little disappointing.

Every time the singer played one of his show-stopping tracks like 'Brand New Day' or the energetic an 'Englishman In New York', the crowd got excited, up on their feet dancing.

But all too quickly the legend slowed down the tempo again with one of his more sedate melodic tunes.

His throaty vocals were as crisp as ever - almost faultless - although his five-piece band, who were excellent throughout, did somewhat drown out his voice on occasions.

Backing singer Joy Rose, who we were told hailed from Birmingham, had a voice which gave Sting a run for his money.

With a bulging back catalogue Sting took the audience through some of hits including 'All This Time' and 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You'.

'Fields Of Gold' was complemented by a stunning backdrop and atmospheric lighting.

But it was down to the classic Police hit 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' to up the tempo again before a jazzier version of 'Roxanne' had the 12,000 fans on their feet.

Two encores including 'Every Breath You Take' brought the show to a timely end.

(c) The Sunday Mercury by Michelle Lobhan



Slow build up but worth the wait...

Seven months after he was due to perform at the National Exhibition Centre Sting finally got on stage in Birmingham last night and treated his packed audience to a melodic, mood-filled show.

Forced to cancel the gig earlier this year due to a bad case of laryngitis this was Sting's last date in the UK before he embarks on the European leg of his 120 date tour, which started back in January in Miami.

It was a slow start to the one hour and 45 minute gig. An upbeat and pulsating 'Synchronicity II' left the fans thinking there was a night to remember ahead. But it was a full 40 minutes into the show before the crowd were given what they had paid their cash for - a song to get them dancing in the aisles.

'Brand New Day' sounded as crisp and uplifting as ever with the ageing rocker's throaty vocals spot on. His five piece band were faultless with some excellent solo performances, although at times Sting's voice didn't seem strong enough and was drowned out by them.

The former Police front-man was complemented perfectly by backing singer Joy Rose - one of Birmingham's own gems. Her voice was strong and sassy earning her a well deserved standing ovation.

With a bulging back catalogue Sting took the audience through some of his repertoire of hits including 'All This Time' and 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You'.

But it was down to the old favourites that really got the fans going.

'Englishman In New York' could probably have been heard all the way to the Big Apple, such was the noise generated by the audience as they sang along with the legend.

Two encores including 'Every Breath You Take' brought the show to a timely end. It might have been a slow build up to the finale but it was worth the wait.

Hundreds of fans queued for hours in Birmingham bookshops to catch a glimpse of Sting, hours before his show. He delighted them by popping into Waterstones to promote his book 'Broken Music'. At the same time Borders in the Bullring played host to Paula Radcliffe who was signing copies of 'My Story So Far', in which she tries to come to terms with her failure in the marathon at this year's Athens Olympics. Paula praised her fans for their support and was all smiles after her recent New York marathon win.

(c) The Birmingham Evening Mail by Lisa McCarthy

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