It came to pass one fateful brand new day...
Martin Nickel and I never intended to go and see Sting in Mexico City. But, when we got the confirmation that Soraya would be supporting Sting at the Auditorio Nacional our decision was rapidly made. With only 10 days to go flight and concert tickets had to be arranged. Some of you may still remember Soraya supporting Sting during the 'Mercury Falling' Tour in 1996/1997 in the Benelux and Germany. Ever since Martin has been a huge fan of hers and runs the excellent Soraya website ''Wall Of Smiles'' which can be visited at http://welcome.to/soraya - Since the two artists were joined together again in Mexico City we couldn't resist making the journey. So we left from Amsterdam Airport on 27th January...
As soon as we arrived on Mexican soil the craziness started. Every taxi driver, shoe polisher, pub owner or other strange person wanted to be of service. They stuck to us like glue. At the tourist office we found a nice hotel near the ''metro Insurgentes''. The metro is the safest, cheapest and quickest way of traveling in Mexico City.
The Auditorio Nacional was only a 10 minutes drive away. The venue is a huge building with a capacity of 10,000 people. All three nights were sold out, so we were lucky to have purchased tickets in advance. Our seats were on the 1st floor and luckily the hall had two big video screens.
After 16 concerts on 4 continents I'm lacking the inspiration to write something new about this tour. I'm sure Sting must be very tired after touring all over the world for 16 months. His show is suffering from the same lack of inspiration. The first evening Sting was really agitating the audience, which was also rewarded by the audience. The other two nights Sting wasn't bad - don't get me wrong - but he was on autopilot and not as lively as the day(s) before.
Why doesn't he change the set list more frequently?! Why not take a bit more risk by replacing some hits by more challenging songs like 'Jeremiah Blues' or 'St. Augustine In Hell'?! With such a huge repertoire of brilliant songs, why leave around half of the set unchanged for 8 years?! Maybe the public at large wants to hear it, but many fans are yearning for some changes.
The audience nevertheless enjoyed it, so it's probably me being spoiled by too many shows and the more intimate gigs in Europe?! It was mainly the Police songs which had the Mexican crowd in ecstasy and made the hall shake, but also 'All This Time' was well received. It was still in the memories of the people who had seen Sting play in their city during the 'Soul Cages' Tour in 1991. The second night in Mexico City was recorded by Mexican TV for a future broadcast, so keep your eyes open for that. Except that he once or twice used 'Fragilidad' and 'Si Estamos Juntos' there is nothing I can recall which differed from the previous shows... not even his clothes.
Our main aim for this trip was to support Soraya. She and her band put on a fabulous performance. Her latest album 'Cuerpo Y Alma' has been released in the Americas, and is still waiting for it's European release. Last year Soraya was diagnosed with breast cancer, and although she is still undergoing treatment her energy and the shows were as exhilarating as before. One can only have a deep respect for her optimism and perseverance. It is a a pity Sting didn't sing a duet with her like he sometimes does with other musicians on his bill.
On the last evening Martin and I received an exclusive photo pass and dinner from Soraya's manager in the backstage canteen. It was an awesome experience. Unfortunately, a request to also take some photos during Sting's set was denied, but since he doesn't change clothes they look all the same anyway.
At the stage door at the Auditorio Nacional we met two other gringos; Koko and Tony the body piercers from Denver. Another highlight of our holiday was the trip the four of us took to the pyramids of Teotihuacan. Our ''private'' taxi driver had taken us there. From the local people we heard Sting had been there just a few days before us. What Sting probably didn't do, we did... We sang and played his tunes on top of the pyramids. On our way back we had to sing the greatest hits for our taxi driver Miguel. The people on the street must have thought we were ''loco'', but it was a great end to a wonderful Mexican experience.
(c) Luuk Schroijen for Sting.com