Sting Concert at Ravinia 'Worth Braving the Elements'...
A full crowd gathered to see Sting perform at Ravinia Festival Saturday night as part of his Back To Bass tour.
Sting played a healthy mix of his original songs as well as pieces from his days as frontman of The Police. At the ripe age of 62, he still looks like the rockstar that he was, playing bass sporting a short blonde crew cut, clad in punk boots, black skinny jeans, and a skin tight t-shirt.
He's so hot,'' said concertgoer Mary Antoni, ''that was a fabulous performance; remarkable.''
But Sting wasn't all looks, having no difficulty hitting the high notes of his more mellow solo material, or powering through his post-punk Police classics.
He opened the show with an original song, 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You', playing straight into The Police's hit, 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic'. From the beginning of the show on, the predominantly middle-aged crowd knew the words to all his songs, with The Police songs in particular.
After his openers, true to his English roots, Sting performed his vaguely autobiographical tune, 'Englishman In New York'. He sang, ''Be yourself no matter what they say. I'm an alien. I'm a legal alien. I'm an Englishman in New York.''
Adding to his tenacity within live performances, Sting played with an impeccable backing band comprised of Vinnie Coliuta on drums, guitarist Dominic Miller, Violinist and Mandolin player Peter Tickell, backup vocalist Jo Lawry, and keyboardist David Sancious.
Miller had a chance to show off his blues guitar prowess in 'Demolition Man' and 'Next To You'. Tickell also had a chance to flaunt, hammering away at his violin in an extended shredding solo during 'Driven To Tears' where he broke strings off his bow and continued playing making for a highlight of the night and incurring a standing ovation.
''That was the same old Sting,'' says crowd member Neil Holdway, ''He hasn't lost a step, and still has that voice.''
The loyal concertgoers stayed packed in at the outdoor venue despite the unexpected 56F chill. Even the band was feeling the weather, having had space heaters placed at the back corners of the stage. Despite this, some unwavering fans were seen waiting outside festival gates as early as 3:00pm for an 8:00pm show to get a good seat.
As the set wore towards the end, Sting even had the seated pavilion section on their feet singing along with his classics, 'Message In A Bottle', 'Shape Of My Heart', 'De Do Do Do De Da Da Da', and closing with his legendary falsetto singalong, 'Roxanne'.
Staying true to his punk roots, Sting was not eager to leave the stage, coming back on for encore after encore, playing his own 'Desert Rose', The Police's 'Next To You', an upbeat rendition of 'Every Breath You Take', and finally closing with his own hit song 'Fragile'. Sting barely even needed to sing as the crowd stole their favorite lyrics, ''What can I do when all I want is to be next to you?''
Most fans seemed to leave the festival in awe of the performance. Avid Sting enthusiast John Siracuse said, ''That was a great concert; Sting was fantastic. That was absolutely worth coming out and braving the elements.''
(c) Highland Park Patch by Jacob Zuckerman