SHOW REVIEW

Sting put plenty of zing into concert of classics...

Don't bother with a complex analysis of his songwriting. Don't be distracted by the fact that adept nods at Rai music, Louie Armstrong and Bach are somehow spun together into one show.

Sting's allure comes down to one simple thing: He is completely dreamy.

That boyish tuft of blond hair. Those thoughtful lyrics relayed in a subtle English accent. Frayed pants and a beat-up bass guitar despite a net worth in the hundreds of millions.

Be still my heart.

The effect on women was made clear by the lusty screams and clouds of pheromones floating around the packed World Arena during Sting's two-hour concert Sunday night.

He may be 50 years old, but this guy still has it. And he knows it. The blonde bard wears his playful arrogance as gracefully as his open shirt and tight pants.

Luckily, that confidence is as pronounced in his music as his hip shaking. Sting walked on stage and tore into a rocking version of 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free'.

One of the best things about a Sting concert is the world-class band he brings along - this time an eight-piece group and two backup singers.

They play like a jazz ensemble, making supple adjustments while trading the spotlight from trumpet, to drums, to Jason Rebello's delicious keyboard. Sting is clearly the bandleader. His bass resides on the bottom of the mix and his voice is on top, giving him the power to control all the subtleties in between.

And that subtlety is what Sting got when he traded in the raw edge of his youth. The wild energy of his early Police days are gone, but Sting proved again Sunday that he is a musical seeker - completely refashioning classics like 'Roxanne' with extended jams that take the songs to new places. It worked when the jazz infusion didn't betray the pop catchiness that made Sting a star.

The unfortunate casualties were 'A Thousand Years' (with misty colorings that sounded like something off a ''Celtic Mystery'' disc) and a slowed-down 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' that sucked the life from a great song.

But these low spots faded into a long series of fine performances - the haunting harmonies of 'Hounds of Winter' and 'Desert Rose', the broken-down rhythm of 'Moon Over Bourbon Street', the lively jam-ending 'When the World is Running Down', the surprising Afro-Cuban groove of 'An Englishman in New York', and the delicate interplay of Dominic Miller's guitar work and Sting's vocals in 'Fields of Gold'.

Sting's distinctive voice is as fit as his body, nailing everything from the yells of 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' to the night's quiet finale, 'Fragile'.

That voice conveys lyrics that keep getting better, which struck me between the eyes as Sting described the priests administering last rites over his father on 'All This Time': ''Fussing and flapping in priestly black, like a murder of crows.''

Sting played most of the big hits, but the concert was anything but conventional. He is taking pop on intriguing journeys through world music, jazz and classical, and his fans seem happy to go wherever Sting wants to take them.

(c) The Colorado Springs Gazette by Bill Reed



Sting in Colorado Springs...

The 11th September was the craziest day of my life. The recording of 'All This Time' under the Tuscan sky should have been the ultimate end of my 'Brand New Day' Tour. It surely was the most intense and beautiful concert I've ever seen. However the tragedy in New York on that day left me with these mixed emotions. So when the fanclub made some tickets available for the Colorado Springs and Denver shows, it was Colorado I wanted to go to.

On December 7th a friend and I flew to Denver. That same night Chris Botti was playing at the Pikes Peak Center in Colorado Springs. Only 10 minutes before the show started we arrived at the venue. Just in time for the ''Songs of December'' performed by Chris and the Christmas Jazz Trax Band.

The Colorado Springs gig was held at the local ice hockey stadtium, the World Arena. The show started with 'If You Love Somebody'. The new arrangements of this song are really refreshing. For Dominic the rock version 'We'll Be Together' must have been a pleasure to play.

At the beginning of the tour I was happy to see, that Sting put 'All This Time' back to his set list. What they did to this song on the live album and during these concerts are really a masterpieces. In a way it's a completely new song and one of my favourites. 'Hounds of Winter' is another classic, which will never bore.

The night before we tried to convince Chris Botti to make it to one of the shows. Unfortunately he had other obligations. He was missed immensely during songs like 'Seven Days' and 'Moon over Bourbon Street'. His sound is irreplaceable.

The two women next to me where holding up a sign saying ''Sting, please let us sing 'Brand New Day' with you'''. Sting read the sign in the beginning of the concert. When Sting came to the song, he called them to the stage. It took some time to get there, but after four repeated intros they were settled next to Sting. In the meantime one lost her voice due to the excitement. Despite this misfortune and the fact they hardly knew the words, it was fun to watch how Sting abused the occasion. He turned his back to one of the woman. Put his buttocks to hers and started shaking and rubbing her for the rest of the song. I'm sure she had the time of her life.

It was an electrical night. Another woman threw a red bra on stage. Sting was disappointed though to find the price tag still on it. From red bra's to 'Roxanne'. Sting added a new improvisations to this song; a wonderful piece of 'Bed's Too Big Without You'.

The Denver show was held at the Magness Arena. A very beautiful venue within a bigger church like complex. The seats this night were perfect. Second row nearly in front of Sting. A splendid view over the entire stage. Where the Springs concert had some weak moments, the Denver show was near to perfection.

At the beginning of 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' Sting tried to explain that was not autobiographical. Someone in the audience (I'll not reveal the identity) shouted: ''We don't believe you, anyway!'' For a moment Sting was baffled. By denying it a second time he didn't make his defence more credible.

'Desert Rose' was the hottest moment of the Denver evening. I just heard the music play. My eyes were fixed on a sexy ''belly dancer''. Eden was never closer to me. Or was it just a ''Fata Morgana''?! The musicians were enjoying themselves by making this extraordinary music. When the first notes of 'Fragile' started I saw some reflection in some eyes. A flashback to that day in September was going through our minds. The only difference was there was joy and determination in the eyes instead of fear and doubt. It was a beautiful experience. A happy New Year to everyone!

(c) Luuk Schroijen for Outlandos/Sting.com



Sting rocks World Arena with world-class performance...

Don't bother with a complex analysis of his songwriting. Don't be distracted by the fact that adept nods at Rai music, Louie Armstrong and Bach are somehow spun together into one show. Sting's allure comes down to one simple thing: He is completely dreamy.

That boyish tuft of blonde hair. Those thoughtful lyrics relayed in a subtle English accent. Frayed pants and a beat-up bass guitar despite a net worth in the hundreds of millions. Be still my heart.

The effect on women was made clear by the lusty screams and clouds of pheromones floating around the packed World Arena during Sting's two-hour concert on Sunday night.

He may be 50 years old, but this guy still has it. And he knows it. The blonde bard wears his playful arrogance as gracefully as his open shirt and tight pants.

Luckily, that confidence is as pronounced in his music as his hip shaking. Sting walked on stage and tore into a rocking version of 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free'.

One of the best things about a Sting concert is the world-class band he brings along - this time an eight-piece group and two backup singers.

They play like a jazz ensemble, making supple adjustments while trading the spotlight from trumpet, to drums, to Jason Rebello's delicious keyboard. Sting is clearly the bandleader. His bass resides on the bottom of the mix and his voice is on top, giving him the power to control all the subtleties in between.

And that subtlety is what Sting got when he traded in the raw edge of his youth. The wild energy of his early Police days are gone, but Sting proved again Sunday that he is a musical seeker - completely refashioning classics like 'Roxanne' with extended jams that take the songs to new places. It worked when the jazz infusion didn't betray the pop catchiness that made Sting a star.

The unfortunate casualties were 'A Thousand Years' (with misty colorings that sounded like something off a ''Celtic Mystery'' disc) and a slowed-down 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' that sucked the life from a great song.

But these low spots faded into a long series of fine performances - the haunting harmonies of 'Hounds of Winter' and 'Desert Rose', the broken-down rhythm of 'Moon Over Bourbon Street', the lively jam ending 'When the World is Running Down', the surprising Afro-Cuban groove of 'An Englishman in New York', and the delicate interplay of Dominic Miller's guitar work and Sting's vocals in 'Fields of Gold'.

Sting's distinctive voice is as fit as his body, nailing everything from the yells of 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' to the night's quiet finale, 'Fragile'.

That voice conveys lyrics that keep getting better, which struck me between the eyes as Sting described the priests administering last rites over his father on 'All This Time': ''Fussing and flapping in priestly black, like a murder of crows.''

Sting played most of the big hits, but the concert was anything but conventional. He is taking pop on intriguing journeys through world music, jazz and classical, and his fans seem happy to go wherever Sting wants to take them.

(c) The Gazette by Bill Reed

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