Brand New Day
London, GBRoyal Albert Hall
With Cheb Mami

Sting's tantric antics...

Sting, ex-Police member, bass player/ songwriter/ singer/ actor, and founder of the Rainforest Foundation, is currently on the British leg of his eighteen month world tour promoting his seventh solo album, 'Brand New Day' and the ten night sell out gigs at the Royal Albert Hall end this Friday (7th April).

The show on Friday 31st March, proved to be a spectacular two hour journey through the many colors of Stings unique blend of ''hybrid'' pop. From the startling 'Desert Rose', an arabesque featuring the Algerian/French Rai singer Cheb Mami, to jazz inspired favorites, 'Englishman in New York', and 'Moon over Bourbon Street', right through to reggae/ska influenced Police classics, 'Roxanne', and 'Message In A Bottle' and the sinister yet highly acclaimed 'Every Breath You Take', Sting and his accompanying musicians gave all present a night to remember.

The London audience is a tough one, and why shouldn't it be when it has one of the finest and most diverse entertainment scenes in the world at its feet. It was still no challenge to Sting and co., who's arrival to the stage at 8:40pm instantly captivated the expectant crowd. After launching straight into the first number, 'A Thousand Years', Sting removed his jacket to reveal a black tank top and enviably toned biceps; (products no doubt of the yoga and tantric ''antics'' of which he is rumored capable...) He then introduced the band and greeted his people. Within three pieces he had everyone at the prestigious RAH standing, clapping, and where appropriate singing along to his music.

Brilliant lighting, and synchronised back drop shows, made the event visually pleasing even to those seated furthest away from the stage. Chris Botti on trumpet, Jason Rebello and Kipper on keyboards, Manu Katche on drums, Dominic Miller on guitar and BJ Cole on pedal steel guitar, all highly accomplished musicians in their own right, form most of the bands line up. It is their improvisational skills that almost reinvent some of the old classics giving a remarkable fresh and fun feel to what could otherwise have become stale.

Also, most worthy of mention are ''Nitin Sawhney'', Stings support band who opened the show, with a half hour ''east meets west'' inspired repertoire, of again, multifaceted music, in this case comprised of traditional Asian textures, hip hop, flamenco,soul and pop, all held together by superb musicianship.

(c) The Surrey Comet by Kate Bellia