Brand New Day
Toulouse, FRLe Zenith

Sting at the Zenith - a night of all moods...

Very much awaited, Sting gave last night at the Zenith a concert of great musical quality that did not surprise nor disappoint. Short hair and toned muscles, a sympathetic look, and wearing a black shirt under his leather jacket, Sting was the one that everyone was waiting for. 7,000 fans ware there, from all departments of the region, as well as groups from England.

The Zenith is packed.

The wait is not long. There is no opening act. Sting, surrounded by his musicians with long hair and romantic styles, starts off with 'Brand New Day - the title track of his latest album.

No giant screens around the stage. No fireworks or artifice. Simply good, melodic music and a perfect sound. No special effects besides sumptuous lighting effects with Indian harmonies, meticulously designed drapes fading from orange to pink, and abstract green (Amazonian) motifs. The music creates varied moods: jazzy, soul, rock, hip hop, oriental...

Manu Katche, the famous French drummer, replaces rapper Ste on 'Perfect Love Gone Wrong'. An improv with hints of humour.

Towards the mid-point of the show, the night becomes blue. But here, this color is symbolic of peace and friendship. The mood becomes oriental. Cheb Mami, accompanied by his percussionist in a chech and djellaba, brings his oriental sounds to 'Desert Rose'. A famous trumpet player adds brassy, jazzy colors. English umbrellas are also brought out. 'After The Rain Has Fallen'. Kaleidoscope of colors. 'Tomorrow We'll See' makes the girls scream, especially the English ones who ''get'' all the lyrics.

Flickers light up in the room and in the public's minds... Sting gives us a few Police hits: 'Roxanne', to which the whole room sings the chorus; everyone is standing up and the forest of raised arms is impressive. 'Set Them Free...'

The audience calmly enjoys the show but stirs at each surprise the artist throws in. He has reworked his old hits and sometimes, they lose themselves in the new harmonies. The crowd recognizes 'Englishman In New York' and cheers at the first few notes. The excellent pianist's notes flow in Gershwin style.

Manu Katche offers superb breaks and slips a bit on a jazzy number. The show seems almost over around 10:30. But it is a fake exit, followed by an encore. There will be several. 'Message in A Bottle', set to a pink decor splattered with a starry field. Second exit with the musicians, and Sting, who has put his leather jacket back on, comes back alone with his guitar.

It's ''la fin the la f?te.'' (The End Of The Game!).

(c) La Depeche de dimanche by Annie Hennequin/translated by Fred Berthelot