Irresistible Sting - a triumph of charisma at the PalaMalaguti...
The musicians introduced cordially as 'Signor', the greeting 'Ciao Bologna', the gracious bows at the finish when the public is in rapture from a piece honouring the good times of the Police: Sting has close ties to Italy, as is made plain by his sojourns in Chianti country and by his courtesy the other night at the PalaMalaguti on the occasion of the Bolognese stop of this 'Brand New Day' tour, flying the flag for the new - seven of the ten numbers from the latest album which gives its title to the Italian concert tour - and for the old.
In an atmosphere of decorous exuberance, only a few draperies which fall from above and the play of thin beams of light augment the impressive effect on stage when the star, Sting, in a low-key outfit comprising a black singlet and wide-legged military-style pants, takes up the guitar for the first number, 'A Thousand Years', in front of about 10,000 spectators (among them Lagabue) who while waiting had not disdained the musical taste of Niccolo Fabi.
The young exponent of the new 'Roman School', not to mention an avowed fan of the former Police, performed, together with the songs that made him famous like 'Hair' and 'Summer Wind', a few pieces from his latest work 'Clear Sky in the West', among which 'If I Were Marco' is already known. The memory game for Sting starts straight away with the second offering on the set list, 'If You Love Somebody', one of the highlights from his first solo album, 'Dream of the Blue Turtles'; continues with 'All This Time', 'Mad About You' (already very well known through Zucchero's Italian adaptation) and with 'Seven Days', 'I'm So Happy', 'Fill Her Up', in a meeting of roars and hymns. The acclamation is total with 'Englishman in New York' offered immediately after the new song 'Tomorrow We'll See', while 'Roxanne' takes us back to that album 'Outlandos d'Amour' with which the Police began their rise to fame.
The power of the concert is very much in Sting's charisma, in his captivating voice and in the arrangements of the solid band (Dominic Miller guitar, Chris Botti winds, Jason Rebello keyboards, Mark Eldridge synth, Manu Katche drums) which drive towards jazz, while the stage set slowly admits a touch of the fantastical with luminous fans against the black backdrop lit by small lights in the style of a starry sky. The culmination is reached with 'Desert Rose', when flames flare to the side of the musicians.
The stage effects and the vocals of Russ Irwin make up for the absence of Cheb Mami, and some allowance for sentimentalism is advertised by the flicker of fireworks going off in the parterre. But it's a brief let-up. The finale is at full throttle, kicking off with 'Bring on the Night', again Police. Sting gives full rein to his sensuality, leaps, dances, and is virtually in symbiosis with the public.
(c) Il Resto del Carlino by Paola Gabrielli/translated by Diane Villani