Sting summons praise with mix of songs...
There's a special place reserved for people who review rock concerts. As Sting explains in a song from his latest album, 'Ten Summoner's Tales', Hell is 'full of high court judges, failed saints... cardinals, archbishops, barristers, certified accountants, music critics.'
But when Sting performed the song last night at ParkWest, the line about the music critics was missing. He must have known how well we would receive him in Utah.
It was, indeed, a heavenly show, with only a few minor, technical exceptions. It was a show full of good spirits and a fairly good mix of old and new songs, considering that he was here to plug his latest album, his fifth since breaking away from The Police.
There were several Police songs, too. These, in fact, were his most well-received and also his best. There is something about 'Roxanne' and 'King of Pain' - an energy, maybe - that he rarely matches in his solo work.
But this is starting to sound too critical (we might be relegated to Hell again). The non-Police songs have their own charm, which came through clearly in newer tunes like 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You' and 'Shape of My Heart', and in older favorites like 'An Englishman in New York'. Sting might be the only pop icon to feature jazz interludes in his songs and still have teenagers in his audiences doing the wave.
Sting is proud of the fact that he appeals to a broad demographic base, and Tuesday night's crowd at ParkWest surely pleased him. There were 40somethings and high school students, all on their feet dancing.
This was a cheerful concert, which may be why Sting included nothing from his more somber (and in many ways more forgettable) 'Soul Cages' album.
It was also a more stripped-down concert than some in the past. The group on tour with him now consists only of Sting, Vinnie Colaitua on drums, David Sancious on keyboards and Dominic Miller on guitar.
The saxophone from earlier albums and tours is missing, a lamentable loss that removes some of the nuance from the more jazz-like, elegant songs.
This is an early stop on his U.S. solo tour. He is also the opening act for The Grateful Dead, which began its tour last weekend. All this may explain the technical difficulties at ParkWest Tuesday night. Although the loud, hard-driving songs sounded fine, the softer ones like 'Fields of Gold' sounded like a warped LP, at least from row 12 seat 12. The problem probably stems from trying to crank out enough volume for the thousands of fans in the grass below the ski lifts.
But who's criticizing? At least from up close you could get a good look at Sting's cute denim overalls and his receding hairline, and could marvel at keyboardist Sancious' jazz flourishes on 'When the World is Running Down'.
It was a great concert, with something for everyone. Sting even did a cover of the Beatles' 'A Day in the Life'. And opening act dada, described by their publicist as 'anti-grunge,' provided high energy and pleasing harmonies on their own songs and on covers like 'I'm Going to Disneyland' and, surprisingly, 'California Dreamin'.
(c) The Deseret News by Elaine Jarvik