SHOW REVIEW

Sting show covers wide ground...

With his fusion of rock, blues, jazz and worldbeat grooves, Sting tackled the familiar topics of love, politics and religion Friday night at the Majestic Theater. He played most of his latest CD 'Sacred Love', but it was the ghosts from the Police that most electrified the fans.

Dressed in pinstripe pants and a double-breasted jacket, Sting was relaxed when he appeared just before 9 p.m. for a one-hour, 45-minute show that bounced easily from worldbeat and jazz workouts to techno and rock jams.

The roar was deafening when he opened with the old nugget 'Walking on the Moon', playing a standup bass. It was reworked as slow jazz, but the melody still burned with intensity.

With its aggressive techno dance beats and lyrics about transformation, 'Send Your Love' won the sold-out house.

Backed by a five-piece band and two singers, Sting was the master showman, introducing each musician and giving each space to show off their talents.

Another early highlight was 'Dead Man's Rope', a reflective tune with a pretty melody and lyrics about the road traveled.

Although the show had the crowd pumped up most of the evening, the pace was uneven. Upbeat rockers were followed by slow ballads, again and again. The only sustained tension came toward the end of the show.

Sting made an earnest attempt at a nice duet with backup singer Joy Rose on 'Whenever I Say Your Name'. Its lyrics examine love practiced as religion. On the CD, the tune was recorded with Mary J. Blige. But performed live, Sting seemed uncomfortable and out of place as Rose sang with gospel fervor.

The politics of conflict was studied in 'This War', a ragged blues/rock tune with anti-George W. Bush lyrics.

Sting seemed at his best rekindling the old Police fever with 'Hole in My Life', 'Synchronicity II', 'Roxanne', and 'Every Breath You Take'.

Trumpeter Chris Botti opened the show and amazed the crowd with his 30-minute performance.

Backed by a four-man group, Botti's show was all instrumental, but the heat from the stage was contagious.

He proved himself an impeccable horn player with flawless technique and beautiful tones. Botti also came back on during Sting's show to perform on 'Seven Days'.

(c) The San Antonio News-Express by Ramiro Burr

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