Certainly one of the most collectable and interesting Sting releases is this beauty. Sting's third concert at Los Angeles' Universal Amphitheater in October 1999 was both filmed and recorded. Each member of the lucky audience was handed a flyer that basically said, that by way of apologising for the inconvenience of the show being filmed, if they sent in their ticket stub for the show they would receive a CD recording of the show. Great marketing!
Obviously, only a few thousand of these highly collectable CD's exist - and all are strictly promotional only. They will not be officially released.
Although the CD does not include a full show, the twelve tracks feature some real highlights from the evening. 'A Thousand Years' is a near note perfect rendition of the album version, but when a song is so perfect why play around with it 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free' has a new light arrangement (and also appears on the 'Desert Rose' single) and 'Perfect Love...Gone Wrong' features a nice rap by Manu Katche. 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' gets the crowd going, and the tempo is then slowed down with a beautiful rendition of 'Ghost Story'. This is a particularly nice inclusion because shortly afterwards Sting sadly dropped the song from the set which is an awful shame.
On the next track, you can almost hear the roof lift off as Stevie Wonder joins the group and plays some awesome harmonica on 'Brand New Day'. Sting thanks Stevie with the words "Stevie Wonder - a higher being!" A throbbing version of 'Tomorrow We'll See' follows and then a storming, excellent performance of 'Desert Rose' with Cheb Mami guesting on vocal duties making this a real highlight of the CD. 'Every Breath You Take' is also superbly done with Chris Botti's trumpet playing adding extra colour to the track - beautiful stuff. Sting then performs a solo version of 'Message In A Bottle' with the audience taking over various parts of the song at Sting's prompting, and then the traditional closer 'Fragile' (also available on the 'Desert Rose' single). A bonus track by Cheb Mami, 'Baida' wraps up the release.