SHOW REVIEW

Mr Swing Sting... Sting vendte tilbage til jazzen ved koncerten i Forum...

Hojttalerne i Forum lod The Beatles og Abbey Road fade ud midt i 'Here Comes The Sun King', og faa ojeblikke efter stod Sting paa scenen. Og Sting er vel om nogen popmusikkens solkonge. Musiker salvet af talentgudens naade og hojt haevet over tidens skiftende tilbojeligheder. I perioder har garantien for god smag og instrumental kvalivare resulteret i sovndyssende feinschmeckerei, men onsdag aften i Forum virkede Sting som en kunstner med genantaendt gnist.

Omgivet af sit hold af fastansatte sensitive supermaend - trommeslageren Manu Katche, guitaristen Dominic Miller og keyboardisten Jason Robello - aabenbarede bassisten og sangeren Sting fra start, hvor han har fundet sit nye gyldne snit. Med jazz-inspirationen som slojfen, der forbinder for og nu for popstjernen, hvis forste gruppe, Last Exit, var en jazz-gruppe. En selvsikker kunstner som Sting maa selvfolgelig fokusere paa sit nye album. Med Branford Marsalis om bord igen tager 'Brand New Day' den 15 aar gamle jazz-traad fra Stings solo-debut, 'Dream Of The Blue Turtles', op, men det er samtidig et album, der stilistisk flakker i udmattende mange retninger. Men paa scenen greb Sting med storre konsekvens tilbage til de blaa skildpadders stilige drommejazz. Med trompetisten Chris Botti i en rolle, der i perioder var lige saa afgorende som guitaristen Dominic Millers, skabte Sting et smidigt og sammenhaengende univers med en elegant jazz-infusion som det sammenbindende element. En sammenhaeng Sting straks markerede ved at lade det nye nummer 'A Thousand Years' folge af 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free' fra 'Blue Turtles'-albummet.

Den var et for laengst udsolgt Forum helt med paa. Allerede i andet nummer stod Forum op og sang med selv om musikken paa ingen maade var arrangeret efter nogen bastant syngmed-formel. Opfattelsen af Sting som en overlevering fra forne tider lignede en myte, naar man saa publikums aldersmaessige sammensaetning. Den var meget blandet, og de unge fyre i smarte, posede bukser, som stod og snoede sig til rytmerne, var ikke en dag over 18. Men er man 18 aar, er det selvfolgelig heller ikke saa maerkeligt, hvis man drommer om at blive Mr. Tantrisk Sex med titlen popstjerne og superbassist paa visitkortet! 'Perfect Love Gone Wrong' - en kaerlighedshistorie og et hundeliv - praesenterede Manu Katche i rollen som fransktalende rapper, men ellers var det smaat med spil for galleriet. Med Dominic Millers krystallinsk flydende guitarspil som instrumental bovspryd krydsede Sting og bandet i en paa en gang afslappet og intens stil frem og tilbage mellem numrene fra 'Brand New Day' og Sting-standards som 'Mad About You' og 'Fields Of Gold'. Aldrig overanstrengt, aldrig uambitiost fik Sting fyret stort set hele det nye album af, uden at det gjorde spor ondt, selv om nogle af de nye sange virker mere konstruerede, end godt er.

'An Englishman In New York' med opfordringen 'Be yourself / no matter what they say' lignede aftenens motto for en aften med noget, der bedst kan beskrives som trovaerdig stadion-jazz. Musikken fungerede som smidig enhed, men var aaben og uanmassende paa en maade, som gjorde det baade muligt og oplagt at nyde Stings afslappede fraseringer, musikernes diskrete charme og praecisionen i Stings bedste sange. 'Put away your make-up/ my mind is made up' , sang Sting saaledes, da den for forste gang fik hele armen med Police-hittet 'Roxanne'. Hun vaeltede helt efter planen Forum fra forste til bageste raekke. Ekstra-numrene formede sig til at begynde med som en mere forudsigelig og kontant hit-parade med bl.a. en afliret version af 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You', men saa lod Sting sig glide over i en fin akustisk solo-udgave af 'Message In A Bottle' inden en folsom og daempet 'Fragile' understregede, at Sting ikke var kommet for at bade sig i maengdens hyldest, men for at understrege, at han stadig er en ener med en vision. En englaender i New York, en jazzmand i Forum, en alien i popmusikkens genbrugsbutik.

(c) Politiken by Kim Skotte



There is something inhuman about Sting...

How does he get away with being so down to earth normal and at the same time a permanent resident in the Champions League of pop-stars? The concert this evening didn't give us an answer, but showed us that this is still the case. After two hours and 22 songs it would have been easier to find baby seals in the rainforest then discontent faces among the thousands of spectators at the show.

Even though he was relaxed and for years has had his stuff together, it was by no means a bored singer that played for a sold-out concert hall in Copenhagen's Forum. He very eloquently stopped at all the stations in his long career. Even the five albums he recorded with the Police were represented with a song each.

With no hurry Sting started of with 'A Thousand Years'. But the audience quickly got out of their seats when the first tones of 'If You Love Somebody' were struck. Then the tempo slowed down, and it was time to sit down again. This pattern repeated itself throughout the concert. Police songs like 'Roxanne' and 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' harvested some of the biggest applause and brought the audience to their feet. The drummer Manu Katche presented the only surprise, when during 'Perfect Love Gone Wrong' he suddenly came to the front of the stage and rapped in French.

The five man band were natural equilibrists to their fingertips. Naturally, for Sting has always set the highest standards for musicians in his attempt to fuse jazz and world music with a broad appeal. As a songwriter he has always been ambitious and sophisticated, but unfortunately his eagerness to be a man of the world is threatening to take over. At times we found ourselves in a world music fusion hell. But only a few moments later the band turned around, and for instance 'When The World Is Running Down' had a nasty swing to it.

And so everything was forgiven. Other highlights were a nightly stroll through the streets of New Orleans in 'Moon Over Bourbon Street', where Sting incorporated a successful imitation of Louis Armstrong. The trumpet player Chris Botti should be congratulated for his contributions to the especially quiet numbers.

With an acoustic guitar Sting single-handedly delivered 'Message In A Bottle' as the first encore. Here, the distinguished Englishman had to hide a smile as the audience couldn't sing the backup to his improvisations. The whole band ended the concert with a beautiful unplugged rendition of 'Fragile'. These two songs got me wondering about whether a complete acoustic solo concert or an unplugged performance wouldn't have been a more satisfying way to experience Sting.

During the concert Sting frequently put his hands behind his back and erected his spine in the way that shows you have performed a satisfying piece of work. And that was also the impression the concert gave. Well done, but without risking anything. It was distinctly not an evening of surprises, but if everyone could deliver their goods in the same fashion, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs would be out of business in the morning.

(c) BT Online by Lars Henrik Moller/translated by Carl Gjerdrum

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