5,000 at Villa Manin for the English musicians concert.
The ex-Policeman covered his old repertoire mixing it with tracks from his new CD. Perhaps Sting has found the best and most balanced of his travel companions since his Police times. With the excellent rhythmical machine Vinnie Colaiuta, with the trusty comrades Dominic Miller on the guitar and Kenny Kirkland on the keyboard and especially with the presence of two inspired and talented winds such as Conrad Thomas and Clark Gayton, maybe for the first time the musician from Newcastle could find the right synthesis of essentiality and rich sound.
The resulting show was pleasant, amusing, lively and charming not only in the re-presented tracks from the Police's repertoire, that have always been more lively and brilliant, or in the most well-known from the previous solo album, but also in those yet to be absorbed, from his latest 'Mercury Falling'.
With the clothes, black-leather outfit trousers and frock coat made by Versace; and the scenery basic with a few well-arranged downwards spotlights and with coloured projections on the backdrop, Sting, as usual dispensed with all stage frills to concentrate on just the music.
From 'The Hounds of Winter' to 'I Hung My Head', 'I Was Brought to My Senses' and 'Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot', the tracks from the new album with which he opened the show, the music soon found its right way, with the fascination of 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free' and the echoes of the Police of 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic'.
He is perfectly on the same wavelength as his musicians, the communication is on the same level and everybody has his own part or enters jazz-scraps solos, and even some gags together. The music does not forget the fusion with reggae of his early career, with shifts to jazz, to boogie and the wind instruments produce an R&B atmosphere in the style of Stax alternating more meditative almost astra, moments.
'Mad About You', 'Touch', and '25 to Midnight' follow before the crowd sprang to their feet for 'Synchronicity' and a 'Roxanne' complete with Claytons's unusual hard rap.
The end, with an excellent version of 'Englishman in New York' and encores of 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You' linked up with 'Every Breath You Take' and 'Lithium Sunset' before the traditionally final, and very delicate, 'Fragile' added to the general widespread fervour.
In the charm of Villa Manin Antonella Ruggiero was appreciated, too. The ex-singer of the Matia Bazar, today back on stage as a soloist after her maternity leave, has set up an excellent band that steers towards an experimental pop rock with ethnical flavours, seasoned with tabla and percussion instruments, that let her wonderful voice range. It was a pleasure to listen to a great interpreter who has not fallen by the wayside.
(c) Il Gazzettino by Gio' Alajmo/translated by Annamaria Dall'Anese