Sweet dreams indeed!
Step forward, Gordon Sumner - Lord of Light Rock, Earl of Easy Listening, Third Essex of World Music Cork: for your chivalrous deed of allowing Dame Annie Lennox to blowest thou off thy stage during last night's performance at the Rexall Place sporting arena, we dub thee Sir Sting!
I'm sure the Queen will get around to the official Sting knighting sooner or later. Until then, this class act of British pop royalty deserves a kudo or two, bravely enduring the critic's slings and arrows of being repeatedly told - written about, anyway - that he's getting upstaged on his own 'Sacred Love' tour. The headlines scream: Vegas Rules Broken in Adult Contemporary Nirvana! In a nutshell: Annie rocks, Sting does not.
The former Policeman even appeared to be opening for Annie Lennox last night. The 13,500 fans whose presence caused a one-night boom in the babysitter market got a nice treat during Dominic Miller's warmup set. Sting's guitarist played a lovely 15 minutes of classical guitar that included what he said was Bach's Air on a G-String; this composer was way ahead of his time - and then surprise! Sting himself came out to sing on 'Shape of My Heart'. The crowd went mild.
Bonus points and a gold-plated codpiece for coming out to personally introduce Annie Lennox as ''an extraordinary talent, an extraordinary human being.''
How was her set? Extraordinary.
She was a slinky soul sister, an ice queen, a rock 'n' roll femme fatale, a torch song temptress, that alien opera singer in the Bruce Willis movie The Fifth Element. Sometimes all in the same song. Lennox displayed an absolute mastery of her voice in music that seamlessly bridges the electronic and organic worlds, soul and techno - the term ''techno'' of course meaning something different today than when the Eurythmics were big during the '80s. The name of her band still fits.
Lennox, who will turn 50 on Christmas Day, moved like a performer half her age, executing kicks, knee drops and interpretive dancing. Her voice conveys powerful emotion; her body follows suit, so to speak. Chills were induced from the first notes that came out of her mouth. Have mercy indeed.
A slow and sultry start that included a captivating version of 'No More I Love Yous' gave way to even more powerful material. At the end of 'Cold' - a heartbreak song of stark and amazing beauty - the entire crowd leapt to its feet for a deafening standing ovation. Lennox seemed taken aback by such spontaneous adulation.
''It's the first time I've been here!'' she exclaimed.
Just getting warmed up, of course. With a dedication to Scottish people, Edmontonians and Sting, Lennox sat behind a piano and deconstructed 'Here Comes the Rain Again'. Just getting warmed up. 'Walking on Broken Glass', 'Waiting In Vain', 'Missionary Man', 'I Need a Man' and the encore, 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)', were still to come.
Can I swear in a family newspaper? OK, she's frickin' brilliant! As one fan put it, ''You know how your memory of something is never as good as the reality? This was better!''
And whither Sir Sting? Aside from being a wee bit anticlimatic after Annie, he was just great - in good voice, good humour, with a pouchful of perfectly nice music professionally performed; he even brought Annie back to wail on 'We'll Be Together'. The show didn't suck. It grooved. There were some wonderful jazzy touches, quirky music hall moments, exotic Latin tastes, mellow magic, finesse, musicianship. There was an abundance of glitz and pizzazz and moving TV screens. The crowd loved it. The worst that could be said is that Sting's heart doesn't seem like it's in rock 'n' roll anymore. And he's no soul singer. And so what?
After opening with the electrofunk of 'Send Your Love Into the Future', the old Police material he did sounded a bit forced and cluttered. It sounded better when the band was here in 1980 with three guys instead of the bombast of two drummers, two keyboardists and Elvis knows what sort of electronic enhancements.
Then again, maybe it's that pesky unreliable memory again.
(c) The Edmonton Sun by Mike Ross