Sting & Lennox show their versatility...
Sting and Annie Lennox proved they can still rock with passion and melodic fire Friday night at the packed Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.
Even more impressive, each showcased their appreciation for and superb talents in blues, jazz, soul and more.
Official attendance figures were not available, but the amphitheater seemed filled to its 20,000 capacity.
Other than an expanded stage, more video screens and an arena sound, Sting's performance was little changed from his January show at the Majestic Theater. Again he fused rock with jazz, techno, soul and worldbeat rhythms.
At 8:59 p.m. he blasted out of the starting blocks with an invigorating rendition of 'Send Your Love', which sent a warm vibe through the crowd. He immediately cranked up the heat and '80s nostalgia with the Police tunes 'Synchronicity II', and 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic'.
Sting's 7-piece band, including two singers, was in top shape, playing tight and seamlessly even as he led them on several long improvisational workouts. The man himself was looking sharp.
After introducing his band, Sting focused on material from his recent albums such as the catchy 'Dead Man's Rope', a intriguing song about walking away from temptation and conflict. Other highlights included a gorgeous rendition of 'Fragile', which featured videos of war.
Earlier, Lennox had the fans in her hands as she demonstrated she has the vocal skills to go beyond her rock music and deliver blues, jazz and soul.
Dressed in blue jeans and gray, sleeveless T-shirt, the lanky Lennox, like Sting, also seemed at ease. It was as if Sting, 52, and Lennox, 49, were liberated from the anger and rebellious stance of rock music and could now frolic in the joys of blistering blues and infectious soul.
Lennox's bittersweet 'No More 'I Love You's' was an early favourite, but she stunned the house with a radical reworking of 'Here Comes the Rain Again'. A big black grand piano was rolled out, and with minimal accompaniment, Lennox produced a mesmerizing reading of her song with its lyrics of ambition crashing against fear.
Her closing run pulled out all the stops on the full-on rockers 'Missionary Man' and 'I Need a Man', before coming back for an encore that included her big hit 'Sweet Dreams' and the mournful confessional 'Why'.
(c) The San Antonio Express-News by Ramiro Burr