Sting at Rosemont Theatre, IL...
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of his solo career, Sting hit the road performing and selling out dates throughout North America. With him on stage was, Dominic Miller (www.dominicmiller.com), Dominic's son Rufus (www.rufusmiller.com), Vinnie Colaiuta on drums (www.vinniecolaiuta.com), Peter Tickell on electric fiddle (www.petertickell.com) and Jo Lawry on backing vocals and fiddle (www.jolawry.com).
Seated in the front row of section 110, I had a great view and upon arriving, the stage was illuminated by a lone spotlight on the main mic while attendees availed themselves to drinks at the bar and/or the merch table.
I've been to many, many concerts, but I still get very excited before shows and I sincerely hope I never lose that feeling either. I love the whole anticipation of the gig, feeling the energy that comes from the concert experience; it is a powerful feeling. Last night was certainly no exception as I arrived quite early and had some time to take in the fact that I was going to see the Rock icon, Sting for the first time. To see Sting at the Rosemont Theatre was an added bonus as it is a beautiful venue, intimate and the staff have always been helpful, and courteous. One bit that had me curious about last night's show was there is some construction going on in the immediate area, but the Rosemont police had that all under control and I did not observe any significant traffic problems before or after the show.
Suffice it to say and I never did find out why, the show did not start at 8pm as I was expecting, but started at 8:20 and was kicked off with the hit "All This Time," which is, in essence the theme of the evening and a most appropriate opener.
After introducing the very talented band members, Sting kicked in with the first of 6 Police tunes, this one being "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic." The audience, on their feet, swaying, dancing and clapping away, sharing in the moment while reliving memories of their own lives when they first fell in love with these great songs all immersed themselves in this moment.
Many, in fact most, of the songs were performed as they were originally recorded, with only slight variances, as was the case with "Seven Days" where they broke the song up with hesitations and added some great percussive accents from Vinnie Colaiuta.
It is always great to see an artist who breaks out of their main genre(s) to express themselves more effectively and while he loves Country music, he admits that he feels he cannot be completely authentic with it, with him being from England of course and the North of England to boot. Needless to say, he performed the songs "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying," "Hung my Head," and the Magnificent Seven inspired "Love is Stronger than Justice."
By the time he performed "Stolen Car (take me dancing)," the audience had finally taken their seats, only to get back up again for the Police's "Driven to Tears," riling everyone up again.
Sting discussed the backgrounds of many of the songs, adding how his first time here in Chicago was in 1978 and every time he returns, he feels at home with a sense of continuity. He described the area around his own home and how the seasons turning and family all play into this same sense of continuity that is sung about in the song "Fields of Gold." The crowd erupted at the announcement of the song and it was played wonderfully and with an added bonus, Dominic had turned over the solo in the song to his son Rufus. The crowd really loved it and I cannot think of a more appropriate song to have passed the proverbial torch on to than this one.
One thing I observed about Sting throughout the evening is his love for the music, after all the years of playing, you can still see the enjoyment he gets out of playing and being on stage, it is truly remarkable to see. There are some musicians that can get jaded with their music and/or the industry fairly early on in their careers and just go through the motions, but that is definitely not the case here with him.
One of the main highlights of the evening was 25 year young, Peter Tickell who sizzled and seared through some sharp fiddle playing during "Love is Stronger than Justice." The audience and I were all amazed as it sent electric charges through the air, bringing everyone back to their feet once again. It is magical moments like that the people come to concerts for, the experiences of a lifetime where music moves you to a place words cannot describe.
We also were treated to some sweet vocal candy by Jo Lawry, taking a bit of the forefront in part of "Hounds of Winter" and delivering some Pink Floyd "Great Gig in the Sky" type vocals in another song. As I write the review, I am sampling more of her music on her site at: www.jolawry.com and she is definitely an artist you want to get to know more of too. Indeed, the entire band are talented musicians in their own rights and I recommend you learn more about each of them at their addresses listed above.
The range of songs performed that span Sting's career were well balanced, but unfortunately with an artist that has the amount of hits that he does, there will always be songs that couldn't be played in the time allowed. Some songs (and I can sympathize) he has probably played too many times and might want to get away from, from time to time and we can respect that too. All this time that Sting has rocked our worlds over our life time it was great to have Sting come back to Chicago to rock it one more time! You're welcome to come back any time, Sting!
(c) Chicago Music Guide by Dennis M. Kelly
Sting, pure and simple, at Rosemont Theatre...
There were no former bandmates from back in the day. No symphony orchestras. No theatrics. No distractions. It was Sting distilled.
Playing a one-night show at the Rosemont Theatre Saturday, this was the Sting, pure and simple. Dressed in a plain gray T-shirt and jeans with a single spotlight on him, Sting was back to basics, or rather "Back to Bass" in a tour designed to celebrate his 25 years as a solo artist.
He started the night with 'All This Time', accompanied by a five-piece band, including father and son guitarists Dominic and Rufus Miller and fiddler extraordinaire Peter Tickell, as well as drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and vocalist Jo Lawry.
The intimate setting of the theater added to the stripped-down atmosphere of the concert. All night long, Sting served up straightforward versions of his hits, including songs from his stint with The Police.
From the country tune 'I Hung My Head' to the bluesy 'Sacred Love', Sting paced the audience, bringing them to their feet then settling them back down again with more somber songs like 'Ghost Story', a song he wrote about his relationship with his late father.
At this point in his career (he first played Chicago in 1978), Sting is not afraid to be upstaged by a member of his band. In fact, he seems to delight in it. When 25-year-old Tickell tore into 'End of the Game', he brought the somewhat staid audience to their feet, stomping and cheering. The young virtuoso gave a performance that could very well be remembered 25 years from now.
With a house full of die-hard fans, it should be no surprise that Sting delivered three encores. Police classics like 'Every Breath You Take' and 'Next to You' were obvious show-ending crowdpleasers, but he delivered them with the raw energy he has been dishing out for more than 25 years.
(c) Chicago Daily Herald by M. Eileen Brown
Sting showcases variety, ambition at Rosemont Theatre...
Fitting for a guy prone to stuffing his songs with pretentious allusions, for much of the past decade Sting's spent more time lost in his own reflection than Narcissus. There have been Police reunions and flirtations with opera, stage productions with his wife and orchestral renditions of his hits. There was a de rigueur Christmas album and then, of course, that infamous album of lute. Is it any wonder that, just a few weeks past his 60th birthday and reportedly still in the throws of writer's block, Sting would want to hit the road with a stripped down band meant to showcase his undiminished ability to rock?
Admittedly, Sting didn't always rock at the Rosemont Theatre Saturday night, but with the help of a versatile five-piece band composed of faces old (guitarist Dominic Miller and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta) and new (including dual violin players Jo Lawrie and Peter Tickell, plus Miller's son Rufus on second guitar), he did make a convincing case for the surprising cohesion of his multifarious musical career. From Caribbean music and jazz to, increasingly, North African influences and even country, Sting's set showcased the ambition and variety of his songwriting. If the performance too often erred on the side of soft-focus restraint, both he and the band nonetheless found subtly compelling ways to engage with his back catalog.
The odd-metered 'Seven Days' swung joyfully, while 'I Hung My Head' struck a good balance between emotional power and genre-exercise formality. 'Driven to Tears' and 'Demolition Man' were each delivered as frantic grooves with plenty of room for instrumental flourishes and ad libs, the violins serving almost as an ersatz horn section, while 'Heavy Cloud No Rain' and 'Love is Stronger Than Justice' showcased the slightly lighter side of a singer whose seriousness can be stifling.
If the practiced stage patter and rote renditions of well-trod songs (including, inevitably but still effectively, 'Every Breath You Take' and a sloppy solo rendition of 'Message in a Bottle') betrayed a comfort-zone mindset, Sting's surging confidence in his own abilities allowed him to orchestrate and pace the various peaks and valleys of the night as much like a conductor as like the slick, consummate slick bandleader he remains.
(c) The Chicago Tribune by Joshua Klein