Blue Turtles
Atlanta, USFox Theatre

Sting's performance shows he's willing to take chances...

By the end of his two-hour plus show at the Fox Theater Tuesday night, Sting was singing the blues - in more ways than one.

''It's about four in the morning for me,'' he said before starting a second encore at 10:10 p.m. that included a bluesy version of 'Need Your Love'.

Sting earlier told the capacity crowd of 4,702 that he had been in England this morning and that he was disconcerted by the time changes involved in the flight to Atlanta.

It showed, too, with his energy coming and going as he gave the crowd - one that was a mixture of ages, races and clothing styles - songs from his solo album and a few from The Police's list of hits.

He opened with a moving-along version of 'Shadows in the Rain' and proceeded to play a series of songs from 'The Dream of the Blue Turtle', a solo album recorded while he and the other members of The Police put that very successful band on hold.

The Police may be on leave now, but they're not forgotten.

''What do you want to hear?'' Sting asked the crowd after returning to the stage for his first encore. 'Roxanne' was the unanimous response every time he asked the question.

He obliged his fans, but with a slowed-down 'Roxanne' featuring his guitar and Branford Marsalis' saxophone then followed with 'Moon Over Bourbon Street', a solo-album song Sting says was inspired ''Interview With a Vampire,'' a novel by Anne Rice.

Despite Sting's energy lapses, it was a well-received concert presented on a spartan, stepped stage with a minimum of lights and special effects. The emphasis was on the music and Sting, and his four-man band and two backup vocalists delivered it well.

Sting is touring with Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland on keyboards, Darryl Jones on bass and Omar Hakim on drums. All are jazz musicians and all had plenty of opportunities to solo and play freestyle during the show. Marsalis, who says playing with Sting gives him the freedom to exercise the theory that as long as there's just one horn player, he can play anything he pleases, clearly enjoyed his solo segments.

He also proved that brother Wynton, a trumpeter who'll perform tonight at Symphony Hall, does not have a majority of the family's musical talent. The night, however, belonged to Sting, who isn't afraid to take chances musically - how many rockers want to share a stage with four accomplished jazzmen - and lyrically with challenging songs about war, children, drugs and love.

(c) The Atlanta Journal & Constitution by Russ Devault