Great spring afternoon...
I don't need to remind anyone who Sting is, even our mothers have sometime sung 'De Do Do Do'...
Some information for a historic afternoon: audience average age close to 30, giant stage, litres of beer at 100 bucks, 25 degrees of temperature. As usual, I don't get in time to see the supporting act, and just make it in time to grab a beer and to find some space near the right wing of the stage.
Magda, my girlfriend, comes with me (if not, who am I going to listen to 'Every Breath You Take' with?) and two young colleagues who were not born when 'Outlandos d'Amour' smashed the charts, but they are people willing to learn what good music is.
The concert is announced for half past ten and Mr Sumner is an English gentleman, in matters of punctuality, of course. And in class too, because he has so much. When he goes out to stage I have the first surprise of the night: are we in the famous Y2K or have we returned to 1979?
I don't believe what I see, and what I see is a punk gentleman, of average age, but with style I wish I had. Lots of class, blonde chopped hair, fit, old dark clothes, not even a wave - it's not necessary. He just lacks the Ramonian ''One, Two, Three, Four...!''. Nice stage set, with the back of the stage mounted with simple but effective fans that during the show would combine with some precious visual effects. Man, this may not be the Pink Floyd's 'Animals Tour', but it's OK. The most important thing is the music though, and Sting fills the two hours with songs from all periods. He starts with the pretty 'A Thousand Years', the one which is followed by the almost police-like 'All This Time'.
The band that supports him is a luxury, especially the precise drummer. To be truthful, I have to say that Sting's career has not interested me for a long time. The last record which I really liked was 'Nothing like the Sun'; come on, I was one of the people that went to the concert to hear something from The Police, and I'm not ashamed in recognising it. But I recognize that hearing those songs from the last records ('If I Ever Lose My Faith In You', 'Fields of Gold', etc.) played with such skill has amazed me. And his voice, what can you say about it? Well, it's the one and only inimitable voice of Sting. It hasn't been the best throat in Rock (like Paul Rodgers or Robert Plant), but like theirs, is unmistakeable. He knows how to break it if he sees that he's not reaching a higher note. Sometimes I think that a note out of tune sang by Sting sounds like an Aria compared to other vocalists I prefer not to name.
The first high moment arrives with 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free', from that moment on I shout with the poor voice Pearl Jam left me with in Barcelona. Imagine: 'We'll Be Together', 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', for a moment I close my eyes and I see myself in a remote Police concert but no, the arrangements are different, it sounds more overwhelming. Of course, they are three times more musicians than The Police were.
Sting moves calmly across the stage, and he waves to us. He is not an especially nice guy, but you can see he transmits something. The most expected thing arrives: ''Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light, those days are over, you don't have to sell your body to the night''. Pffff, one of the most perfect songs in history. It starts slowly, just the guitar and Sting's voice (Granadian choir, of course). He skips the first chorus, which kept everyone's tension. The second part of the song: ''I love you since I knew you'' and now yes... the drums enter like a beast and that blows in the air, 9,000 fists in the heights singing the famous ''put on the red light'', amazing. Half way, instrumental stuff: reggae, jazz, audience backing vocals (''Roxanne oooh'', one and a thousand times). It's curious because The Police played 20 years ago for the TVE a mini-concert that thank God I kept, and in that one the version is similar to this one.
Well, a paragraph for that song was the least I could write. The gig continues more slowly I go for a DYC and I return. In the final part the inevitable 'Every Breath You Take' expects us. As usual I claim for my favourite song, 'Message in a Bottle'. It's a ritual for me to ask in every concert for a specific song, and this one is one of the best of The Police. He doesn't play it, but it doesn't matter, just other time.
'Englishman in New York' sounds very jazzy (as it is), I catch my girlfriend in Fred Astaire mode, and we have a dance. 'Bring on the Night' sounds as well. I'm surprised he doesn't play 'They Dance Alone', considering the Pinochetian year we live. He does play 'Moon Over Bourbon Street' and it reminds me of Tom Waits. The end of the show arrives, he says goodbye as if nothing had happened and comes back with his acoustic guitar, so he plays 'Fragile', leaving everyone amazed, especially in the solo, with classical blink included. He throws some kisses, he says good bye and leaves. I wait a little bit to see if he returns with a 'Message in a Bottl'e but he doesn't. The lights turn on and that's everything, not bad.
We saw a legend, yes, but we also saw a revitalized artist. Half of us thought he was dead in the Rock world, the humanitarian causes are good but... we wanted the punk Sting, and although that's not possible anymore, at least he made it clear that he's not quitting his past. May God (or whoever) save his health for many years.
(c) Ideal de Granada by Jesus S/kindly translated by Matias Pirolo