Sting puts new twist on old favourites at Verizon...
First, give Sting credit for doing something different on tour this summer.
While many acts are stuck doing the same old thing, Sting has paired up with the
Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, conducted by the dynamic, wand-waving
maestro Steven Mercurio. The summer tour played in the blistering heat Wednesday
night at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.
Second, give Sting a hand for pulling it all off.
Not everyone wants to see Sting in this particular setting. Some fans just want
to hear songs from his solo career and his time with the Police, such as
'Roxanne', 'King of Pain', 'Every Breath You Take' and 'If I Ever Lose My Faith
But rock royalty Sting went the extra mile, surrounding his classics with
complementary symphonic layers, along with a band that included longtime
guitarist Dominic Miller, percussionist David Cossin, singer Jo Lawry and
bassist Ira Coleman.
It made for a crowded stage, but the amphitheatre easily accommodated the
musicians, who were set up in perfect symmetry. When he greeted the crowd, Sting
said it was the biggest band he'd ever had.
The resulting sound was full, lush and refreshing - and even welcome.
Sting, in good voice, opened with solo hit 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You',
which introduced us to what we were in store for the rest of the night. The song
was recognizable, if not instantly so, but it was easy to settle into the new
'Englishman in New York' had a jarringly funky break dropped in that didn't feel
orchestral at all. It was followed with 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic',
'Roxanne' and 'Russians'.
'Shape Of My Heart' featured a gorgeous guitar solo from Miller, while 'Whenever
I Say Your Name' was a great spotlight for singer Lawry.
Sting often spoke between songs, explaining there are two different types of
love songs, ''I love you, you love me'' songs that are boring, and ''I love you,
you love somebody else'' songs that are painful but more interesting, which set
up 'When We Dance'.
He talked about his desire to write country music, but knew it would never be
accepted coming from him. So watching country artists cover his tunes was just
as good, including Johnny Cash's take on 'I Hung My Head'. Sting revisited the
After seeing the crowd's reaction to 'Fields of Gold', he called Missouri ''the
romantic state.'' ''I renamed it,'' he said.
Sting top-loaded the first half of the show with big hits, something an artist
with Sting's repertoire can do.
After an intermission, he said he'd touch on songs that were forgotten or
discarded, including the jazzy 'All Would Envy'.
He called 'Tomorrow We'll See' his ''transsexual song'' (don't ask), and cast
'Moon Over Bourbon Street' as sort of a soundtrack to a vintage horror movie
with creepy visual effects.
But he returned to the real meat and potatoes toward the end of the night with
'King of Pain' and 'Every Breath You Take', and an encore that included a
rousingly exotic 'Desert Rose', during which he broke into a little jig;
'Fragile'; and an a cappella 'I Was Brought To My Senses'.
(c) St. Louis Post-Dispatch by Kevin C. Johnson