Arcachon, FR
Stade Velodrome d'Arcachon
Sting rajeunit la foule - Près de 10,000 personnes ont applaudi Sting, hier, au Vélodrome...

Il est 21 h 41 ce dimanche soir à Arcachon. Le soleil vient de se planquer plus à l'ouest, laissant dans l'ombre l'immeuble des chanceux qui surplombe le Vélodrome. Une clameur sourde et de plus en plus aiguë monte de l'énorme foule qui a envahi la pelouse et les gradins.

Ils sont presque 10,000 ce soir et ils attendent tous Sting. Et si, ici et là, un couple ou deux se sont perdus, comme ces deux jeunes en tee-shirt Iron Maïden et Motorhëad, ce soir, la nuit est aux quinquas qui n'ont pas abdiqué face à l'âge…

Auparavant, le bluesman californien TD Lind, plutôt doué, plutôt drôle (''C'est difficile le français, écoutez, con je jouis le piano !'') a tenté de faire patienter le public mais rien à faire, c'est Sting qu'il veut et donc, à 21 h 41 précises, sa voix si particulière entame 'If I Ever Lose My Faith'. Et pas la peine de questionner la foule, elle répond en criant sans qu'on le lui demande ! ''Tu crois qu'il chantera 'Roxanne''', espère une fille qui a atteint les quarante ans sans perdre de vue ses vingt ans. ''Mais ouais, bien sûr'', la rassure son mec.

''Merci beaucoup tout le monde! Bonsoir mesdames et messieurs! Je suis très heureux d'être ici ce soir, Arcachon, ma première fois, génial!'', déclare Sting. Et s'il est heureux, il l'est sûrement moins que le public. Tee-shirt bleu, pantalon noir, ventre super-plat et tempes (un peu) désertées, Sting aligne les tubes comme le surfer Kelly Slater les enfile à Hawaï. Sur 'Englishman in New York', il n'a plus besoin de chanter puisque la foule connaît le répertoire par cœur.

Pendant que la nuit tombe doucement sur le Bassin, au Vélodrome d'Arcachon, chacun retourne lentement vers sa jeunesse en croyant dur comme fer, que cette nuit, non, elle n'est pas définitivement passée. Que demander de plus?

(c) Sud Ouest by David Patsouris
posted by stingcom
Arcachon Review
I wearily shuffle towards the door to my office, its 8am, not a soul about, it's a ten minute walk to the nearest coffee outlet, not sure I've even got the energy right now for my customary caffeine fix? Did I have a dream last night; did I really wake up in Arcachon yesterday? Normally this time on a Monday morning I'm usually in some team policy meeting (not discussing new ways of cheating?), rather than sipping cafe au lait and munching on croissants with my friends (Sarah and Helen) by the beach reminiscing about last night's Sting concert.

In the grand scheme of things my summer Sting related adventures were meant to peak and finish by the river Thames in Henley. I use the word summer loosely, from a meteorological standpoint heavy cloud and rain have been a permanent fixture. Which one of us came up with the plan we could realistically do the Arcachon gig with all our work commitments and for Helen her daughter getting married. Not every day Sting gets a mention in the wedding speeches or me for that matter, I'm sure there is a film script in there somewhere. If there was a film I know who would play Sting, who would play me? (Answers on a postcard J?)

Arcachon was where our summer (proper) started, we had forgotten what sun felt like, or was it a case of take me to "where the red wine flows?"

The support act for the concert was actually an Englishman called TD Lind who spends most of his time between California and France. Maybe his song "Goodnight from Hollywood" (was a clue, it got us all thinking?) His blues style of jazz received a warm welcome, we joked he could have tuned his guitar before coming on stage. Before the start of several songs he was tuning his guitar, joking with the crowd in French and English (He obviously didn't have access to Danny's technical genius to help him out) I couldn't help but think, if he had done this during a show in London he would have been crucified. I'm sure he didn't do this when he supported James Blunt in 2007. During the third song in which he was tuning up, I'm sure I heard someone say "get the **** on with it!" The Arcachon crowd warmed, and accommodated to this approach, part of the charm, at the time I was convinced he was a famous French artist, that somehow had slipped through my musical radar in-between Sting tours. It was his take on "Hoochie Coochie" that tickled my fancy. His own interpretation of this Muddy Waters track, (he played two different arrangements of this track) was the highlight of his set for me. You could see he was getting caught up in the moment, and had to be reminded when to stop by one of the technical crew, because he was in danger of seriously overrunning. Unlike Suggs in Henley he didn't have to be ushered off.

There was an extremely tight turnaround from his set finishing and Sting's starting. Sting's technical crew worked at lightning pace to set everything up, from the meticulous set-up procedure, it looked like this was the first opportunity they had to set the equipment. I'm only speculating, but there might not have been an opportunity to have a full sound check earlier in the day? I have no concrete facts on this, but concert curfew times were also on the agenda. Things are much more laid back here, it was probably a midnight curfew, (even though the Velodrome was in a residential area, the block of flats to the rear of the venue had a great view of the stage. During the concert almost every balcony had people sitting out, enjoying the festivities. ), unlike Hyde Park with Bruce Springsteen, where Sarah and I saw his set come to an unorthodox end.

Nothing was going to get in the way of Sting's show tonight, in what turned out to be a truly stunning concert. It wasn't till I landed back in the UK that the lyrics to "Hoochie Coochie" (from TD Lind's set) became significant, as my brain began unravelling the import sequence series of event s of this night. I'll try and paraphrase for you, "gonna make these pretty women, jump and shout ..." and "the world will only know, a-what it's all about". OK, so it wasn't just all the pretty women I was surrounded by jumping and shouting, everybody was having a goodtime from the opening bars of 'Faith'. The audience was composed of all age groups, and one young local girl, couldn't contain her amazement and excitement when we got recognised by the band as they strolled on stage.

Dominic was first to stride proudly on stage, almost as if there was a sense of urgency and energy to get this party started. It took him no time to notice us. Throwing his hands aloft, mimicking me with a huge grin. (Knowing where the section of the crowd was going to spring into life first. and appreciate his killer guitar riffs, we were like "moths to the flame" in our intensity and jubilation throughout the concert. 'Faith' is the perfect way to start proceeding; it also kicked off a frenzy of action in the press photography pit for the first four songs.

The press photographers would have been spoilt for choice of band action shots, or ecstatic crowd pictures. We were all in our element; I was a bit slow in noticing the Camera operator setting the camera lens firmly on a close-up of me! She was smiling like she had just got that perfectly framed, synchronised shot for the video archive. (Not sure where the footage would end up, on the video screens, (I forgot to ask Joelle whether I made an appearance on the video screens?) or will the footage end up in a TV report on French TV? Even if I had ended up on the video screens, the audience didn't need any help from us Brits, they were going to be lively without us "havin' it large!" (A term normally associated with young clubbers in Ibiza, we were doing the same here, trust me)

Sting knew exactly where the fan club contingent was located. During 'Every little thing' I'm singing my heart out, "it's a big enough umbrella" I look up to the sky, not a cloud in the sky, marvellous. Sting has even improved my French skills as I now know the French for "If I was to say Heavy Cloud what would you say?" Sting looks directly at me. He knows what is going to happen next, hands aloft, I shout "No Rain!" Sarah and Helen beat my response, is my voice fading so early into the set? The "No Rain!" response from the Arcachon crowd was the loudest from all the concerts I'd been to, Superb.

At the start of MIAB Sting wandered over in my direction grinning away, very much in playful mode, or was he checking I haven't moved? What followed was the most amazing rocking version of MIAB. I struggle to name another location where there has been a better rendition of the song on this tour. It really doesn't get any better than this, I was really quite emotional, the whole audience were singing their hearts out, this was up there with the lively Montreal crowd on the reunion tour.

During the whole concert, we were getting a lot of attention from Dominic almost every guitar solo was in our direction. He was on top form; I'm in total awe of his guitar playing that night. Sarah and Helen are going to help me out here, which song was it, where Dom slips in the guitar riff from 'Jeremiah Blues' into the mix, sheer genius.

I forget which song he finishes his solo and looks straight at me and throws his guitar pick in my direction. Unfortunately, the breeze sends it the opposite direction landing somewhere in the photographers pit. You could easily tell the band was having an amazing gig, and also a lot of fun. Sting mentioned Dominic's name more times than I can remember in any other concert on the tour. This was quite comical every time Sting said this; Dominic was going off stage to swap guitars over, so most of the audience would not have got a good view, as the lights were dimming. It tickled my sense of humour, the most hysterical comedy moment for me came during 'Love is Stronger Than Justice' which has morphed during the course of the tour into an instrumental jamming session, gives David Sancious an excellent keyboard jamming session, he also excels during 'Seven Days'.(Who is shortly going to be touring with Peter Gabriel, after this tour ends) At the point at which Peter, Dom and Sting reach the crescendo of the song, Sting turns to me and sticks his tongue out at me! Priceless, Sting is in such a playful mood, he had so much fun with 'Roxanne' this was the most free flowing I have heard it in a long time. He was changing the tempo, the musical signatures with ease. Even during the audience sing back parts, he was singing the high notes, to see if the audience could follow his vocal range. I think on the most part, the audience kept up, my voice was struggling to keep up at this point.

The "Wow moments" just kept on coming, 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' was perfect, managed to do my turn around hands aloft to the audience behind me, Sarah and Helen are grinning away at me, during the line "Devil and the deep blue sea behind me" I actually think for the first time, Sting actually saw me do this, and seemed amused by my eccentricity. (Wish Jock was there to see that moment)

How I found the energy for the finale, I don't know, 'Desert Rose' was epic, the audience were at their peak dancing and rocking out, I would even use the word wild in some cases? 'King of Pain' rocked big time I'm in full swing, I look around and the block of flats at the back of the venue were all lit up in the evening sky. (What a backdrop for sitting out on a balcony eating your evening meal). This was a historic day, not only had Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France (the first Brit to do so), but to celebrate this special day, a special guest and friend to join Sting on Stage for 'Next to You', Henri Padovani. The place erupted with loud cheers; I was taken back to that moment during the reunion tour at the Stade de France, not only that, all the magic happened right in front of us, at us. I can't fully describe how good this was, incredible. Sting gave the thumbs up to me as he was walking off stage. In the words of Carter "Nice one, my son!"

We absolutely loved Arcachon and unwound and bonded with the locals singing along to a covers band (not to mention the sound effects!) into the early hours. We even met a local who looked like Slash's (from Guns n Roses) dad, did we laugh, thank you Helen and Sarah again, we had such an awesome time.

(c) Roger Puplett for
posted by LiSting
Feat. henry padovani
Sting was joined on stage by henry padovani to perform "Next to you".
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