Brand New Day
Lille, FRLe Zenith

Lille, first night of the tour...

For a good hour, Sting had been on stage at the Zenith in Lille, his first concert in France last Friday. Carefully, without fuss and commotion, he connected titles like 'A Thousand Years', 'After The Rain' or 'Set Them Free'. In mid-concert, with feet together, and straight as an arrow with guitar low in his hands, he started the song 'Englishman In New York', stretching it in variations of free jazz and latino.

The Lille public, conquered in advance, shouted and proclaimed its satisfaction with this Englishman exiled in a world in which he is not recognised - the history of Sting. At 48 years of age, Gordon Matthew Sumner feels like an ''alien'' which has forsaken rock'n'roll for jazz and world music. He refused to play The Police's classics, the group which made his name, as they were originally performed instead leaving the audience to sing on 'Roxanne' and on an acoustic version of 'Message In A Bottle'.

On stage, Sting takes pleasure in slowly building our pleasure. He does not push his voice, but uses it as an accompaniment for his musicians. As soon as the show started to resemble a rock'n'roll concert, Sting calmed the playing. And when he thanked the audience he joined his hands in front of his face and bowed with an Eastern wisdom. He was calm with the quiet confidence of one who no longer has anything any more to prove.

(c) Le Parisien by Sebastien Catroux