Sting at the Wiltern Theatre...
After arresting fans across the world with a stellar reunion of The Police and a symphonic summer tour in 2010, Sting has returned for a "Back To The Bass" tour for a more stripped down affair selling out three nights at the Wiltern Theatre.
A barren stage and lone white spotlight amplified the stripped down feel of the evening and gave the show a sense of intimacy along with placing a greater emphasis on the individual songs. Emerging from the shadows clad in a white t-shirt and jeans, Sting looked and sounded better than ever opening with 'All This Time'.
Sting assembled an outstanding band to back him up. Longtime collaborator and guitarist Dominic Miller was phenomenal, utilizing an assortment of Fender guitars to accurately recreate the various tones of the songs throughout the evening. 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' sent a jolt of energy through the crowd as drummer Vinne Colaiuta was snapping his snare drum, emulating Stewart Copeland's complex drumming with ease while putting his on unique spin on the song.
'Seven Days' was massaged into a unique odd time signature rhythm highlighted by a trumpet and a wah-wah pedal drenched splash of guitar. Sting throughout the evening discussed his love of country music and exhibited this affection by putting a country spin on 'I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying' with violins and smooth guitar finger picking by Dominic Miller.
Sting expressed how he felt vindicated when Johnny Cash covered 'Hung My Head' as Sting rolled out his own countrified rendition of the song. Adding a VH1 storytellers vibe to the evening, Sting explained how 'Stolen Car (Take Me Dancing)' was about a psychic car thief.
The set list was strategically assembled giving the evening a nice flowing rhythm. Hearing 'Fortress Around Your Heart' and 'Fields of Gold' back to back melted your heart as you could see couples embracing and slow dancing during both songs. "Sacred Love" was spiced up with a dancer in a red dress provocatively keeping the audience entertained.
Crowd participation occurred during 'Heavy Cloud No Rain' with Sting guiding the audience to chant the "No Rain" parts of the song. Elaborating more on his songwriting process, Sting explained that 'Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)' was a mash up of his love for the movie The Magnificent Seven and the play Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
'Never Coming Home' had Sting momentarily step out of the spotlight to highlight his hard working band as the violin solo would have made the Charlie Daniels Band proud. Finishing out the evening on a high note, 'Desert Rose' packed a punch with its tinge of Middle Eastern influence embedded into the song enhanced by the shuffle of bongos.
The crowd stayed on their feet after giving a standing ovation to all sing along en masse to a triple shot of the Police songs including 'Every Breath You Take', 'Next To You' and a stunning acoustic version of 'Message In A Bottle'. Sting continues to entertain his fervent fanbase all the while artistically stretching out with his unique vision.
(c) OC Weekly by Andrew Youssef