Rocker's intensity losing its sting...
It is time for rock icon Sting to realize that his own career has reached the point of ''diminishing returns.''
Sting's performance on Wednesday night at the Meadows Music Theater reeked of complacency, a feeling that seemed to seep into the relatively large crowd, estimated at under 10,000.
Sting was recently quoted as saying his seminal band The Police broke up because they had reached the pinnacle of stardom and would suffer ''diminishing returns'' from that point forward. Um...Sting...hello...
There was a soothing sterility to Sting's sound on this night. It numbed the impact of the songs he played from 1987's 'Dream of the Blue Turtles', and the seven songs he played from his latest release 'Brand New Day'.
Sting opened with 'A Thousand Years', and the crowd stood to greet him. They returned to the seated position while the six-piece band meandered through the song at an amazingly relaxed pace. The intensity level kicked up with 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free'.
A synthetic, soullessness pervaded 'After the Rain Has Fallen', which segued immediately into 'We'll Be Together'. Sting failed to personalize any of the songs as he said little more than ''thank you'' during the performance.
Sting's music has always had world beat influences and 'Perfect Love Gone Wrong', reflected those influences as it wavered between reggae and jazz while his drummer rapped in French. 'All This Time', threatened edginess, but fell victim to clean guitar sounds and dual keyboard backdrop.
The set nearly fell apart with the pseudo-country number 'Fill Her Up', which was too musically intricate to be fun, yet too lyrically contrived to be taken seriously. Thankfully, Sting's serene version of 'Fields of Gold', reversed the downward spiral.
He seemed to hit his stride as he delved into The Police catalogue (is that the last rock reunion worth waiting for?) with 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', and the crowd was up and dancing again. 'Roxanne', continued the momentum.
'Desert Rose', was one of the few successful forays into new music, coming at the end of the 17-song set. Sting offered two encores, delivering 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You', and 'Every Breath You Take', the first time out and returning again with 'Fragile'.
Shawn Colvin's acoustic set opened the show and the singer-songwriter was quick to point out her preference of Hartford over the New Jersey audience from the previous night. Her solid set included a Steve Earle cover, the somber 'Shotgun Down the Avalanche', and her hit 'Sunny Came Home'.
(c) The Union-News by Donnie Moorhouse