Brand New Day
Gothenburg, SEScandinavium

Sting's perfect ending...

Sting is very close to fulfilling the media image of being a pretentious bore. When only two songs remains of the concert in Gothenburg nothing that even resembles spontaneity and charm have leaked off the stage. But during the finale Gordon Sumner makes a 180 degree turn. No, there are no wide smiles and nauseating ''Thank yous''.

But with British elegance Sting transforms the last two songs into the perfect ending, both musically and mood wise.

'Message in a Bottle', from the days with the Police, he sings with only an acoustic guitar and the audience for support. During 'Fragile' a starry night is lit in the background, and the band joins in quietly. The captivated audience, who definitely deserves more then the stale bows Sting has given them so far, are finally given a full value of their tickets. The most significant moments up to the finale were how amused Sting seemed by the tricks the musicians were pulling on his songs, and not by the audience's cheers. He digs Jason Rebello's eternal piano solo in 'Tomorrow We'll See' from the latest album 'Brand New Day', as in the bands jamming in the breakthrough hit Roxanne we even get to see a couple of hasty kicks in the air, a few dance moves and ass-twitching.

From the audience point of view these parts are the most boring of the concert. It is of course important that an artist enjoys his playing and doesn't just stand there like a live jukebox. But being a world class act of Stings magnitude, filthy rich and with a career curve that never seems to go down, he is suffering from a complete lack of exuberance and charm.

Dressed in a grey, tight polo shirt and baggy grey pants, he completes a two-hour gig with a stone face. It's much funnier to watch the keyboard player Kipper who laughs widely, is barefoot and dressed in a pink embroidered west and yellow Ernst Billgren glasses. The explanation for Stings successes is probably easier found in his song writing talent. The concert doesn't contain one bad song. The melancholy ballads with a patented Sting trumpet performed by Chris Botti, are the highlights: 'Fields of Gold', 'Moon Over Bourbon Street' and 'Fragile'. The nice pop tune from the Soul Cages album is unfortunately lost in the great musicians eagerness to demonstrate their technical brilliance.

Despite his slowness on stage, it's hard not to be impressed by Sting, vintage 2000. 48 years old, with a 20-year career behind him, he succeeds in getting both old hits like 'Every Breath You Take', 'Englishman In New York', and his latest fusions of rai and pop to sound fresh. He sings impressively well and perfects all that he can. And that's why he gets away with his stale bows, this time.

(c) Svenska Dagbladet by Marit Kapla/translated by Carl Gjerdrum