SHOW REVIEW

Sting celebrates his birthday on the Today Show...

Having waited for about seven hours for the first Today show, I was thrilled to have a VIP ticket to this show from a friend of mine. After arriving at 5:15, I was quickly escorted to a small pen right by Dom's section of the stage. I saw some familiar faces in the audience and also met lots of new people from the fan club and mailing lists. The band started to assemble at 6:00 or so.

Unlike other shows or checks where bits and pieces of songs are played, there were very few clips played. Instead, the band played 'Send Your Love' five times in entirety, 'Desert Rose' once, and 'Whenever I Say Your Name' twice in a row. Joy Rose, the newest gem to join the ''family'', was exquisite.

The eight rehearsal songs were over a period of two hours. Overall, it was really nice. Between sound check songs, Sting was inside. The pen I was in was where Sting and the band walked by, so I was frequently saying hello to the whole bunch. Dominic and Kipper recognized some of the people that I shared my area with (not sure who they were though ;-) ) so they came to say hello a few times during breaks. Was really a very nice experience.

As for the show, the highlights for me were Vinnie and Joy Rose. After hearing 'Send Your Love' a total of 6 times in three hours, it became clear to me that the song is very well rehearsed and will most likely remain stagnant for a little while. Nice song, nothing too special in my opinion. The actual concert part itself was all televised, so I will let all form their own opinions.

Just a few observations I picked up on:

1. He was only scheduled to play three songs. The production team had no idea what to do after the second song as a break should have been there. That's why 'Whenever I Say Your Name' was clipped at first.

2. When 'Englishman' was being played, Kipper and Jason had nothing to do. Kipper looked across at Jason and played one note of the ''bubble chord'' Jason responded by a single keyboard chord in the middle of the song and smiled.

3. Al Roker is such a phoney. He tried singing during 'Desert Rose' and knew none of the words and kept moving his mouth anyway trying to fill in the ends of line. Actually made it on the air like this. Quite funny

To close, this was an amazing warm-up to Hammerstein. I don't see any weak link in the band at all right now. They are tight, fresh, and energized. The newness of the material, small venue, and first live listen should be a stand out show whether it's your first or you have been attending for ''a thousand years''.

(c) Josh Corwin for Sting.com

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