Brand New Day
Belfast, GBWaterfront Hall

Satisfying Sting keeps the Waterfront happy...

If you have read or seen any interview with Sting over the past few years you will know - no doubt to his wife's eternal mortification - that he likes his 'performances' to be long and satisfying.

So, too, with his concerts. In the Waterfront Hall last night Sting was at his tantric best. On stage for the guts of two hours, the audience was ready for bed by the time the main set was over.

Even the over-excited lad in the row in front of us who acted like there was a spring in his seat - you know who you are block B, row six, seat six - was beginning to wilt.

And judging by the ages of some of the ones in the standing section at the front they hadn't been in their feet so long since Woodstock (or the last M&S sale). But with his first encore of 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You' and 'Every Breath You Take', the audience seemed to perk up.

Someone who has been around as long as Sting is always going to have trouble choosing a playlist and last night he stuck with the safe choice of greatest hits such as 'Fields of Gold' and 'Englishman in New York', mixed in with a few from the new album 'Brand New Day' including 'One Thousand Years' - which he started with - and the stunning 'Desert Rose'.

The band were really enjoying themselves and didn't allow a megastar like Sting dwarf their considerable talent. One annoying thing was their distracting habit of throwing away bits of their equipment. Sting - you're not going to save too many rainforests if your drummer keeps on chucking away his drumsticks. But overall they dealt with Sting's extraordinary range of musical styles really well.

When you take away the nonsense about him never washing, his obsession with telling us about his sex life, his determination to be the saviour of mankind and his dire acting ability, what you are left with is one of the greatest performers in the world combined with a voice which can withstand the rigours of a long gig without cracking a note.

It is easy to see why there was so much of a range of ages at the gig. Sting is fantastic live and not showing his age at all. If you get this in time, try to catch him at the second gig tonight.

And bring your mother.

(c) The Belfast Telegraph by Smyth Harper

Every breath a treat for Waterfront crowd...

Saviour of the world or pretentious geek. The audience at the Waterfront Hall last night knew which side of the fence they sat on regarding the artist formerly known as Gordon Sumner.

Sting came to Belfast with a newly polished reputation after a string of successes with 'Brand New Day' and the Brit Awards.

The man can rhyme the most tongue-twisting phrases in English, Save the World as we know it, but can he boogie? The answer was an emphatic yes as the ex-Policeman played over two hours of a hugely enjoyable set, surrounded by some of the most talented musicians this side of the Lagan weir.

Starting half an hour late due to the number of people trying to get in to the concert, the set started with 'One Thousand Years' which might have given concern to those who prefer Sting's rockier numbers. However, with the opening bars of 'If You Need Someone Set Them Free', the mood swung to elation. Sting's music is a mixture of familiar and exotic styles - something uniquely Sting.

And what a back catalogue he has - 'Roxanne', 'Englishman in New York', 'Russians', songs instantly recognisable as Sting. By the end of the night, the audience, both seated and standing, were eating out of his hand. Every breath he took they were watching him. No wonder an extra show has been added tonight.

(c) The Irish News by Robert McMillan