Brand New Day
Stockholm, SEGlobe Arena

The special voice that never fails...

What is that he is radiating when he enters the stage and voices 'A Thousand Years'? Self confidence or smugness?

That probably depends on what you think of him. It probably is more to do with concentration. He appears more like a singing musician than a rock diva. He doesn't pose, and very unwillingly makes a scene. It's the ears he is aiming at, and he purrs more then he grinds. At times it is very beautiful.

That he was recently given two Grammies in the pop category was definitely surprising. Pop is after all an area populated first and foremost by young and very young people, and most of the audience who have seated themselves in the Globe to listen to Sting (48) seem to have moved away from their parents (i.e. they are more then 25).

But Sting have done the same as this years big winner in the rock category, Carlos Santana (52); not letting himself be trapped in a obviously narrow genre. Both have moved in to the area between rock, soul, jazz, pop and ethnic music. Sting has though less of a rock background then Santana, the rhythms in his songs have always been less poignant and so the pop classification isn't completely off. After all, you have to place him somewhere.

The stylistic multitude which has been widened more then ever on the latest album is probably the main reason for the bashing the rock critics have put him through. They have mistrusted the light voiced man who strolled in from the field of jazz, from where he - during his 25 years long career - brought most of his musicians and even gave them ample space (this time with several great trumpet solos).

He is possibly about to join Barry White in the dusk, particularly through his latest productions (it's still songs from the Police that get the most applause). His lack of compromise wins him renewed respect. And he does offer us some rock after all, especially in 'We'll Be Together', where the multitalented guitarist Dominic Miller carves himself some room with both riffs and solos. In the country/gospel pastiche Fill Her Up Sting even shows he still dares to take risks. But for the most part you are struck by the enormous force in his voice; he presses it for two hours, but it never fails. Concentration was the word.

(c) Dagens Nyheter by Thomas Anderber/translated by Carl Gjerdrum