SHOW REVIEW

Back To Bland: Sting failed to impress on his Back To Bass tour...

It was shame that a gig billed as Back to Bass required Sting to go back to basics to lift a limp performance. An energetic encore of Next To You saw the 60-year-old finally start to rock out and engage the Apollo’s sell-out crowd.

He followed this with an acoustic rendition of 'Message In A Bottle' with the eager crowd as his backing singers. Up until this point the gig, a celebration of his 25 years as a solo artist, had failed to take off.

Gordon Sumner was back on his bass, having ditched the lute and winter folk songs and returned to his Police roots. Looking toned and healthy it is clear his macrobiotic diet is paying dividends.

But there is something rather cringe-worthy about watching a man of 60 gyrating to the crowd. A storming version of 'Seven Days' aside, this was a muddled self-indulgent performance, only rescued by the finale.

The audience were thankfully spared Sting’s views on world peace and Tantric sex. But some of the secrets of his 30-year marriage to Trudie Styler and, err, the life cycle of foxes ,were part of his between song banter. Versions of 'Every Breath You Take' and 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic' felt rushed and put in the set list to appease the fans.

And one man’s desperate pleas for 'Roxanne' fell on deaf ears. Sting was indebted to his accomplished band including the excellent Vinnie Colaiuta on drums and Dominic Miller on lead guitar and Peter Tickell on fiddle.

A three part encore did just enough to rescue the show and remind everyone of Sting’s pedigree, and why he has remained so popular over the last three decades.

(c) Manchester Evening News by Matthew Davis

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