Oct
26
2011

Philadelphia, PA, US (Tower Theater)

  (3) Comments

SHOW REVIEW

Sting Shows Philly Why He's A Master of the Craft...

There is no better way to see a great solo artist like Sting celebrate his momentous musical journey through stellar songs right here in Philly with a grand performance at the great Tower Theater. As a solo artist, Sting has collectively sold millions of records, earned a tapestry wall of endless Grammy’s - all of which makes any solo artist a true classic without even touching the surface of his talent fronting that little known band The Police (humor intended).

It was a great pleasure to be front and center as Sting opened a two night sellout and performed some of his greatest collection of solo material, along with a hand picked variety of classic Police songs to round out his set.

The show began shortly after 8pm with no opening act and Sting certainly wasted no time generating that jazzy style vibe from many of his solo works within just a few songs under the first hour. The sound, as always at the Tower Theater, is nothing short of great as the acoustics bounce around the venue with the perfect combination of reverb and depth. The stage production was rather simple, with just a black backdrop along with white gelled lights gleaming over the stage - giving an intimate club atmosphere.

As expected, we heard the hits that put Sting's solo career on the map,  but we also settled for key songs from various catalogs that also included material from 'Soul Cages'. Like minded fans who packed the Tower hoping to hear a more like ‘greatest hits’ type of show, got a more grand solo show with key moments of Sting introducing songs that reflect his personal experiences through music.

I was slightly disappointed not hearing 'Roxanne' or 'Free' among the 18 song set during the first night in Philly, although we did get to hear 'Fortress', 'Fields of Gold',  and  'All This Time' rounding out the set list. It is great to hear all the popular songs, but sometimes you need to adapt yourself in hearing the lesser known songs a solo artist has to offer during a show. And this Sting show wouldn’t be complete without his old beat up paint worn classic Fender Bass guitar. It seems like he has played that guitar for decades with the sound generating right down to the bare wire.

We have to be lucky in some form or fashion here with many artists still acknowledging vintage places much like Grendel’s Lair (where The Police first performed in 1978) which Sting did mention during the course of the show. Even with only four Police songs in the show, Sting still manages to truly rock out with some great ones like 'Demolition Man', 'Driven To Tears', and 'Next to You'. But he will never leave out the rock anthems of  'Every Breath You Take' and his ultimate solo hit  'Desert Rose' (which was a standing ovation).

This was the best show I have seen in years from Sting - he doesn’t come around often and when he does you truly get your concert dollars worth.

(c) Rock Star Weekly by Steve Trager

Sting's eclectic songbook pleases Tower crowd...

Sting may have turned 60 earlier this month but he hasn't aged much. The same can be said for one of the fittest members of the sexagenarian club's (apt group for Sting, who reportedly loves all things tantric) sonic output.

The former Police frontman showcased tracks from nearly each of his albums over his incredibly consistent 33-year career as a recording artist Wednesday night at a soldout Tower Theater. Sting also performed to a SRO crowd Thursday night at the Upper Darby venue.

The recently launched jaunt is in support of his boxset, 'Sting: 25 Years'. The inventive pop star has never seemed so relaxed. The cerebral tunesmith, who has been tagged as pretentious, was anything but that during his fast-moving two-hour set.

Sting was warm, gracious and entertaining as he spun a number of yarns. He saluted his wife, waxed about life on the farm at his English castle and spoke of his songwriting process.

Surprisingly, the loquacious performer couldn't quite explain how he crafts songs but he didn't need to offer details. All he had to do was play an array of re-arranged songs, which benefitted from his energetic band, which includes sensational drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, who jazzed up a number of cuts.

Sting offered a couple of crowd-pleasers from his Police days, such as an energetic 'Next To You', the dark and perfectly constructed 'Every Breath You Take' and a solo show-closing version of the stirring 'Message in a Bottle'.

But the highlights of the concert were deeper cuts from his solo catalog that were dusted off. 'The Hounds of Winter', which was stolen by violinist / backing vocalist Jo Lawry's ethereal set of pipes, and the eccentric 'Stolen Car (Take Me Dancing)' were well worth re-visiting.

(c) Bucks County Courier Times/Philly Burbs Online by Ed Condran

Sting paints the Tower Theater with passion...


Time stood still in the present last Wednesday evening when Sting returned to Philadelphia for the first of two shows Oct. 26 at the Tower Theater. It was Sting's presence that was instantly felt as he began the latest leg of his tour, "Sting - Back to the Bass," with 'All This Time'. He just walked out with the rest of his band and simply started playing. Instantly the Tower was alive, the audience electrified.

Before moving any further, Sting, at center stage in a purplish blue T-shirt and jeans, introduced his band members. Dominic Miller, his guitarist for the last 25 years, backed Sting alongside his son Rufus who supported on acoustic guitar. Peter Tickell accompanied with his electric fiddle, a dueling style like Charlie Daniels in 'The Devil Went Down To Georgia'. The talented Jo Lawry, led background vocals along with premier drummer, Vinnie Colaiuta rounded out the group of musicians. This intimate setup was quite the contrary from when Sting played in the area last summer, supported by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on his Synchronicity tour.

With every song, Sting connected with his audience, which instantly became engulfed in a sea of emotion. Songs like 'I'm So Happy, That I Can't Stop Crying', depicted divorce and likening it and leaving it to just a season in one's life, while 'Stolen Car' presented the excitement of thieving a car and dancing with one's mistress.

The audience heard from Sting on more of a personal level. He talked about his passion for music, his uncertainties, at times, and about composition. To Sting, the music comes easily, the lyrics on the other hand need to be born into the music. It is in the woods and surrounding countryside of his home where his music comes to life.

Truly a songwriter, and a poet for the ages, Sting turning 60 a few weeks ago is not about physical age, but rather, maybe the beginning of his and his music's immortalization. He spoke of his father's influence in 'Ghost Story'.

He attributed his vulnerability in his marriage of 32 years to his wife's talent to heal. He made reference to an emotional prenuptial that has only "this much love, but not enough to destroy me," to eventually become the hit 'Inside', as he sings "for love is an open wound still raw: love is the fire of the world."

Sting talked of his home in England. The surrounding 'Fields of Gold' where he enjoys nature, life and love. He moved all of us, and perhaps one in particular, who has walked in the "fields of barley," who knows well what the "west wind" is and what the "jealous sky" becomes.

It is love and heart break emotion, the paintbrushes he uses to complete his masterpieces, found in songs like 'Fortress Around Your Heart' and 'Driven to Tears' to 'Sacred Love', "of a secret love in a long black dress."

For an encore, Sting on four separate occasions presented the audience with 'Desert Rose', 'Every Breath You Take', 'Next to You' and finally by himself 'Message in a Bottle'. In this and the final moment of this present time, the audience emotionally exhausted yet still electrified, applauded. Yes, it is love once again along with the colors of passion that are on exhibition with every note he plays.

Surrounded by three couples, I could sense with each and every passing song their individual connections to the pure emotions displayed by this artist on this special evening. To sum up the evening, a nice lady answered a question I asked with one word, "awesome."

(c) Delaware County News Network by Ed Gunther

(3) Reviews and Comments
f12mfc3 - 10.29.11
Excellent Show
Best show ever, Sting was awesome and his band was great. I loved how he spoke to the audience so openly and gave us backround info on the songs he sang. Sting looked amazing, and his voice was great. Love you sting, thanks for the show and I hope you come back to Philly real soon !!!
patriciaj_thomas - 10.27.11
Great Music + Great Vibe = Great Night!
Wonderful show! Sting delivers and does not disappoint, a class act as are all the musicians in his band. I enjoyed the symphonicity tour last summer and especially liked Sting's stories behind the music. This was even better! Loved the intimate setting of the Tower Theater - what a great show. Thank you Sting and Happy Birthday - you look better than ever!
- 10.27.11
Great night
Awesome show! Band was fantastic and Sting looks and sounds better than ever. Saw him with the symphony so it was a blast to see him in a much different setting and looking like he was having the time of his life.