Muscular comeback from one of music’s heavy hitters - Sting thrilled this partisan crowd with a set brimming with styles.
It's worth arriving early tonight for Sting’s second Hammersmith show. At the opening night, fans including Sadiq Khan got to see the former Gordon Sumner singing with both support acts. Admittedly, Joe Sumner is Sting’s son but their duet before the main event suggested the 65-year-old still relishes being a touring musician. He’s rediscovered his mojo on his first rock record in 13 years.
Dressed in tight jeans and an even tighter T-shirt, he thrilled this partisan crowd with punchy Police tunes Synchronicity II and Spirits in the Material World. Like his physique, Sting’s voice was a muscular focal point alongside the abrasive guitars and clattering drums.
The jaunty jazz of Englishman in New York was transformed into a robust anthem. Sting’s concern for the planet came to the fore on One Fine Day, which he dedicated to Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency: “One day he might wake up and realise what those words mean.”
It was a satisfyingly melodic tune in a set brimming with styles, from the retro folk of Pretty Young Soldier to the acoustic warmth of Fields of Gold.
But it was the driving rock songs, old and new, on which Sting — hitting the high notes and slapping his bass guitar — performed like a man half his age.
“That means something to me – I don’t take that for granted,” he said in response to the singalong for The Police’s reggae-tinged Message in a Bottle. The crowd reaction grew even more euphoric as the hits kept coming — Roxanne, Walking on the Moon, Every Breath You Take.
For those who missed The Police’s reunion a decade ago, Sting’s generous comeback surely made up for it.
(c) Evening Standard by Andre Paine
Sting at Hammersmith Apollo...
In top form, Sting was phenomenal last night at the Hammersmith Apollo, the 38th performance on his 57th and 9th world tour, highlighting his first true rock album in 13 years. Accompanied by a three-piece band, included were guitarists Dominic Miller and son Rufus, drummer Josh Freese, and Sting’s son, Joe Summer. Theatrically inspired lighting and clear, impeccable sound accented a vibrant, vivacious, top-notch show.
Sting launched the concert with a preview on acoustic guitar of the soulful spiritual folk ballad Heading South on the Great North Road. Synchronicity, by his original band The Police, opened the main gig with a massively energetic bang, followed by another great famous oldie, Spirits in the Material World. A reggae-inspired Englishman in New York delighted the crowd, as did the romantic I Can’t Stop Thinking About You.
The affable star introduced One Fine Day – in dedication to Donald Trump regarding the EPA, “because one day he will wake up and realise what these words mean”. Hung My Head, with its beautiful, melodious guitar licks, had a Springsteen/Stones style, the well known, stirring Fields of Gold delighted, and the innovative rock blues track Petrol Head was driving and vibrant.
Sting’s rendition of another classic, Message in a Bottle, revealed a voice as stunning as ever. A tribute to David Bowie, a brief version of Ashes to Ashes was performed as a cameo by his son, Joe Summer – sounding like his dad but holding his own. A slightly jazzed-up oldie, Walking on the Moon was followed by So Lonely – “How can I be alone with all this attention, the spotlight?” Sting mused.
The haunting composition Desert Rose, with its lovely middle eastern melody, preceded all time favourite Roxanne in a jazzier version that included a few lines from Ain’t No Sunshine(Bill Withers) and which reanimated an ecstatic audience.
The generous selection of tracks included three encore numbers: two classics, the rollicking rock and roll Next to You and Sting’s most famous song of all, the passionate Every Breath You Take. Finally – dedicated to the Syrian people “who have suffered too much” – the moving acoustic ballad Fragile showcased the singer’s more spiritual musical style, his beautiful voice, exceptional skill on guitar and awe-inspiring creative talent.
A remarkable, legendary artist who has become better with time, yet with ageless vigour, has immense charisma and incredible musical genius, Sting in concert is perfection. Wow!
(c) The Upcoming by Catherine Sedgwick