Sting rings true in Cincy...
The purpose of touring is to promote a recording artist's latest album - an idea not at all lost on Sting.
The former Police front man played all but one song from his current release, 'Ten Summoner's Tales', before 11,862 fans at Riverfront Music Center on Wednesday night. Fortunately for the show's sake, the album is decidedly more upbeat than Sting's previous effort, 1991's dour 'The Soul Cages', which he presented in a similar fashion on his last tour.
Those in attendance who had yet to purchase 'Ten Summoner's Tales' were at a distinct disadvantage during the 105-minute performance, since large portions of the set were entirely devoted to the new material. But then again, the album is No. 12 this week in Billboard, and Sting's engaging renditions of the songs should prompt some surge in local sales.
Wearing black slacks and a loose white shirt with the long sleeves left unbuttoned, the lean British singer opened the show with 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You', the album's first single, standing poised on edge and bobbing tightly to the beat as he plucked his electric bass. Three additional new songs followed, but all were upstaged by a daring cover of the Beatles' 'A Day in the Life', faithfully recreated by Sting's four-piece band, right down to David Sancious' dramatic final piano chord.
Sounding noticeably hoarse, Sting continued with his latest single, 'Fields of Gold', but with the audience beginning to stir uneasily as a result of his return to unfamiliar and somewhat subdued material, he then cranked up the tempo with a string of Police songs, including 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic' and 'Roxanne'. The latter taxed Sting's already strained vocal cords, but produced the strongest crowd response of the evening.
Despite his emphasis on the new album, Sting and his band never relied on recorded arrangements, often interrupting songs such as 'Englishman in New York' and 'King of Pain' with jazz- or rock-influenced instrumental breaks. Sancious was featured in an awe-inspiring keyboard solo on the set closer, 'When the World is Running Down (You Make the Best of What's Still Around)', which Sting watched from off to the side with obvious admiration.
A three-song encore offered the two liveliest songs off the new album, 'She's Too Good For Me' and 'Epilogue (Nothing 'Bout Me)', as well as the Police classic, 'Every Breath You Take'.
Dada, a grunge-garbed trio from Los Angeles, opened the show with 40 minutes of catchy alternative pop, highlighted by strong renditions of the modern rock hits 'Here Today, Gone Tomorrow', 'Dorina' and 'Dizz Knee Land', as well as a deconstructed cover of Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline'.
(c) The Dayton Daily News by Dave Larsen