SHOW REVIEW

Sting, backup band nearly flawless in Artpark gig...

Sting might be the best looking male in his age group, according to much of the female portion of his loyal audience Tuesday night. Happily, judging from a beautifully paced and immaculately performed show kicking off the Artpark summer concert season, he doesn't need to rely on that fact. His occasional shimmies might draw screams from some of his fans, but it is clearly the prowess of his songwriting and the high level of musicianship evidenced by his band that speaks the loudest.

Fronting a smaller ensemble than he has often since the breakup of the Police - longtime guitarist Dominic Miller, drummer extraordinaire Vinnie Colaiuta, former E Street keyboardist David Sancious, violinist David Tickell, and backing vocalist Jo Lawry - Sting took us on a tour through his impressive catalog of songs.

He did indeed play a handful of Police songs - an early-in-the-set 'Everything She Does Is Magic' was one of the night's highlights, as was a burning rendition of 'Demolition Man' - but much of the set drew from the albums 'Ten Summoner's Tales' and 'Mercury Falling'. It was a hits-centered set, but one that offered consistent surprises in terms of both set list choices and musical arrangements.

After opening with a bright, confident 'All This Time', Sting, whose rock-solid bass playing was the conductor's baton that directed the band throughout, began to allow each of the incredible musicians he'd assembled stretch out a bit. Drummer Colaiuta melded a jazz approach to the frantic high-hat style made famous by Sting's former partner in the Police, drummer Stewart Copeland, and his playing during a torrid take on 'Driven To Tears' was simply stunning. He's one of the finest drummers extant, and he proved it throughout Tuesday's show, without ever distracting from the momentum and pacing of the songs themselves.

Violinist Tickell took over the saxophone parts initially made famous by Branford Marsalis during 'Englishman In New York', and 'Demolition Man' afforded guitarist Miller and keyboardist Sancious an opportunity for some call and response at the tune's coda.

Miller and Sting displayed a long-held musical telepathy during gorgeous takes on 'Fields Of Gold' and 'Shape of My Heart', with Miller playing masterful classical guitar during both. Singer Lawry shadowed Sting in perfect harmony throughout, sounding particularly powerful during a beautiful new arrangement of the prog-folk tune 'The End of the Game'.

Sting told the crowd of his ongoing love for country music a number of times during the evening, taking time to note his gratitude upon first hearing Johnny Cash's version of Sting's haunting 'I Hung My Head'. He then led the band through a brilliantly rearranged version of that song, with the surprising addition of a 5/4 time signature that suggested reinvention of a much-loved song.

The show, clocking in at two hours, was close to flawless. Minor quibbles? Really, just one. It would've been nice to hear these fantastic musicians stretch out even more than they did. All are musicians of the highest caliber - Sting included. His bass playing is often overlooked, probably due to the strength of his singing and songwriting. But it shouldn't be. He, like every musician on Artpark's stage on Tuesday, is simply a beast of a musician. Beautiful renditions of encores 'Desert Rose' - even if Sting was a touch hoarse by song's end - and 'King Of Pain' drove this point home.

(c) The Buffalo News by Jeff Miers

(13) Reviews and Comments
jock - 06.17.12
Full On Message In A Bottle
It was great to hear the full arrangement of this incredible song. It was also a complete buzz to spend the whole show leaning against the stage a couple of feet from Sting!
orange03 - 06.14.12
Artpark Lewiston, NY
A great show in a beautiful venue. What a welcome surprise to hear a full band Message in a Bottle in the middle of the show (even if Sacred Love and Heavy Cloud No Rain were not played.
orange03 - 06.14.12
Artpark
A great show in a beautiful venue. What a welcome surprise to hear a full band Message in a Bottle in the middle of the show (even if Sacred Love and Heavy Cloud No Rain were not played).
stingcom - 03.13.12
rlattea
See our comment below. Login to the website and go to the tour page and read the text at the top where the link and password are.
rlattea - 03.13.12
help
Where is the link and password for pre-sale?
stingcom - 03.13.12
THE PRESALE
Our presale is on now. Login to the website and go to the tour page and read the text at the top where the link and password are.
Sandi2239 - 03.13.12
Now site says 3/14 10 am
When is presale?
CarolynMarkowski - 03.13.12
someone is buying tix but not us
I calld artpark directly and was told they can see that the tix are being sold online, they cant access them but can see them selling out. WHERE IS THE INFO???? Who is buyng the tix???? Is this site a scam??????? I paid $45!!!!
stingcom - 03.13.12
Presale Update
Slight delay in getting the presale started. Live Nation are working on it. Keep checking the tour page for the link and password which will go live as soon as Live Nation fix the glitch.
kepop8 - 03.13.12
same problem
help
CarolynMarkowski - 03.13.12
where are the tickets
site says presale at 10am march 13 for he june 12 show, its 10:30 no presale info. the live nation site says presale march 14 for the june 12 show. when are he tickets going on sale for the fans presale and what is the password?? thanks
barfmoo - 03.13.12
link? password?
where is the link and password?
barfmoo - 03.13.12
where is the link and password for the p
where is the link and password for the presale?