57th & 9th
Feb
14
2017
Denver, USFillmore Auditorium
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Sting Plays Cupid for Baby Boomers...

Oh, love was sure in the air this Valentine’s Day in Denver, Colorado!  And who better to celebrate the holiday with than the one and only, Sting.  Every couple between the ages of 35-55 living in the Denver Metro area made their way to the Fillmore Tuesday night for an evening with the iconic singer.  He could have sold out the 1st Bank Center, so you can imagine how packed the Fillmore was with lovers.  Needless to say, there couldn’t have been a more perfect place to be on V-Day than at this concert.

Supported by opening acts Joe Sumner and The Last Bandoleros, Sting showed his gratitude for his fellow musicians by sitting in on a couple of their own songs, and inviting members onstage during his headlining set as well.  The collaborations fared well for all musicians involved, with one of the early highlights of the evening being Sting’s tambourine skills during a performance of what The Last Bandoleros introduced to the crowd as their first recorded single.

The first two songs of Sting’s set, which kicked off promptly at 9 p.m., were “Synchronicity II” and “Spirits in a Material World.” The hits were greeted by boisterous applause from a crowd not necessarily accustomed to partying past double digits on a work night.  Feeling the love, Sting took a brief moment to introduce his bandmates, which always speaks volumes about the character of whichever rock star is front and center.  Longtime guitarist Dominic Miller, guitarist Rufus Miller and drummer Josh Freese were brought into the spotlight before the foursome ripped into Sting’s extensive live catalogue for another hour and a half.

Though I’m lucky enough to frequent concerts of iconic musicians, I was surprised at how amusing the Fillmore’s crowd this night turned out to be.  Blonde cougars in tight black tops girlishly throwing their arms in the air with each drumbeat, men in suit jackets and glasses awkwardly swaying their women with one hand and balancing their cocktail-in-a-plastic-cup with the other – but the best was the plump 40-something behind me screeching the chorus of every song until, eventually, I was forced to relocate.

Throughout the evening, Sting and his band would cover the good stuff, the old stuff, the new stuff.  The name of his new album and also the tour’s namesake, 57th & 9th, was debuted in Denver with a couple tunes, two of which being “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You” and “One Fine Day.”  Old stuff was covered as well, with “Englishman in New York” and “She’s Too Good For Me.”

Like any experienced rock star, Sting knows relevance is key, and the best was prudently saved for last.  You’ve never heard the Fillmore so quiet than when Sting led his band through the lovelorn “Shape of My Heart,” or The Police’s sensual mega-hit “Roxanne.”  During the second half of his set, covers of Bowie’s “Ashes To Ashes” and Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” were played in-between Sting originals.

The end of the evening came with the most savory moments so far, including “Walking On The Moon,” “Message In A Bottle” and the tantalizing “Desert Rose.”  At just around 11 p.m., nostalgia was everywhere; and romance was in the air for what turned out to be one of the more interesting, amusing and overall epic Valentine’s Days I’ve experienced to date.

(c) 303Magazine by Emma Jerry

We saw Sting, who ruined love, on Valentine’s Day. It stung...

If you’re a child of the late ’70s and ’80s, you innately understand that Sting ruined love.

He didn’t just do it with his dreamy eyes, his oiled abs, and tantric sex moves; Sting’s songs blurred the reality of love, and worse, gave us hope that a Sting-type love is possible.

But we’re not in our twenties anymore, man. We’ve been out there. Our eyes are open.

Sting-type love is not possible.

But because we love nostalgia, we all showed up at the Fillmore Auditorium last night to be reminded all over again just how far behind the love curve we still are.

Sting is known for his astral lyrics, raspy wail, and perfectly toned body, so when the 65-year old crooner took the stage, the antsy crowd gasped that gasp that you have right before your first kiss, or the deep inhale you take before a big interview.

This breath is nothing new to Sting. It doesn’t faze him, but it slays us.

When he started belting out the lyrics to “She’s Too Good For Me” from his 1993 album “Summoner’s Tales,” it jolted the audience into that ethereal space, the romantic non-reality that only Sting can create. Of course, no man actually believes that whiny demands are a turn-on, or that hating everything he likes makes a partner endearing, as the song hints. But Sting says that’s all true, and so we believe.

One of the most significant things about Sting’s performance was his unwavering ability to still reach and maintain those incredibly high notes without falter. Case in point: last night’s “Englishman in New York.” His wailing struck a chord with the aging and increasingly drunk ladies in the crowd who were continually getting shushed by their spouses throughout the evening.

And because Sting, in his teeny-tiny t-shirt and skinny jeans, doesn’t care about his greatest hits, he dove into “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You,” “One Fine Day” and “Down Down Down” from his new album “57th and 9th.”

And then came “Shape of My Heart.”

Can we take a moment?

In 1993, Sting released this song and every person who listened to it fell in love with gamblers. And while that’s the worst idea ever, there’s something about how he sings so sincerely about luck and chance that creates this mystery that we all seek in our relationships - even if, in the real world, things are slightly less idealistic.

With no real storytelling, Sting moved through his set without thought or delay. He performed “Message in a Bottle,” “Walking on The Moon,” “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying,” and “Desert Rose.” The only break he took was to sip what I can only imagine was tea out of a stark white mug.

And then: “Roxanne.” If you were alive in the 20th century, you know Sting is the only man in the universe who can make a song about a hooker romantic. He performed the song under bright red lights and with gusto, but that’s not what killed us. In the middle of our favorite jam, he started wailing “Ain’t No Sunshine.” It wasn’t the way he sang this classic that was so offensive; it was the placement.

His acceptance of his lady, even if she’s a hooker, and then missing her when she’s turning tricks? Sting-type love, people.  

And because it was Valentine’s Day, and that people have zero sense of what the song really means, he sang “Every Breath You Take.” Yes, one of the top wedding songs in the ’80s and ’90s was about a stalker, kids. But, whatever: The couples coupled and forty-somethings swayed to the creepy “love” song, joyfully jetting back into time to a place where they were once happy with a stranger cuddled in their arms.

Sting-type love: It’s romance and heartache and the gratitude for having had both. Real life is less rosy. The age group at the show has now experienced all the things they’d once only heard about on the radio. There’s nothing ascendant about divorce and heartbreak (which is why fans piled into this sold-out show in the first place).

We want it to all mean something, and Sting gives us that. He’s a romantic. He’s a lover. And sure, he’s given us completely false hope that a handsome, ab-tastic Englishman will sing us a song, tell us we’re beautiful, and quote Proust.

And you know what? Who the hell are we to say it’s not possible? Right? Sting?

Notes:

Sting’s son slayed “Major Tom,” looks and sounds like his father and is certain to ruin love for a whole new generation. *swoon*

Best wishes at The Academy Awards, S-Money. Truly.

(c) The Denver Post  by Stephanie March

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