Soul Cages

Norman, OK, US
Lloyd Noble Centerwith Concrete Blonde, Vinx
Sting leaves audience breathless...

Rock star Sting may be the most original, most innovative, most exciting concert performer in the world today.

He knows how and when to present the perfect mix of old and new - and he's not afraid to borrow a song or two here and there.

Sting put on a dynamite show Wednesday night at the Lloyd Noble Center, leaving a crowd of more than 10,000 breathless - and screaming for more.

It may have been the best rock concert of the year. Heck, it may have been the best rock concert of the past several years.

In his two-hour, 17-song set, Sting performed six of the eight songs on his latest album, 'The Soul Cages', two songs from his other two (official) solo albums, seven tunes from various Police albums and even threw in a couple of surprises.

And everybody in the audience seemed to be pleased.

Sting, the former singer and leader of the legendary rock band the Police, appeared to respond to the crowd, as well.

He opened the concert with four songs from the new album - 'All This Time', 'Mad About You', 'Jeremiah Blues (Part 1)' and 'Why Should I Cry for You?' - and then sang a rousing version of the old Bill Withers tune, 'Ain't No Sunshine'.

''I know you come to a concert wanting to hear the old songs,'' Sting then said. ''Any requests?''

Predictably, the audience asked for some Police protection, and, predictably, Sting broke into a version of 'Roxanne' that would have made Eddie Murphy proud.

He also sang 'When the World Is Running Down You Make the Best of What's Still Around', 'King of Pain' and 'Fortress Around Your Heart' (from his first solo album, 'The Dream of the Blue Turtles') before returning to 'The Soul Cages' for two more numbers.

He then brought everyone to their feet with a rollicking version of Jimi Hendrix' 'Purple Haze', following that with 'Tea in the Sahara', 'Walking on the Moon', 'Every Breath You Take' and a wild and woolly rendition of 'Message in a Bottle'.

For an encore, Sting played a little Spanish guitar on the beautiful 'Fragile', from his second solo album, '...Nothing Like the Sun'.

Surprisingly, he refused to come back for a second encore, even though the crowd was clapping and yelling for more as the house lights came on.

Opening act Concrete Blonde was impressive, warming the crowd up in appropriate fashion.

African drummer Vinx then came on to play a couple of songs before Sting took over. (Vinx joined Sting and his band toward the end of the show.)

''It's great to be back in Oklahoma,'' said Sting.

It was great to have him back!

(c) The Daily Oklahoman by Chuck Davis