Brand New Day
Stuttgart, DESchleyerhalle

Part of rock history - Sting live at the Schleyerhalle...

It's comforting to know that even the events of this 'Brand New Day' will, at some point, become part of history. Although the latest album by the British rock star Sting has only recently been released, the protagonist has already had to find time to stand back and evaluate his work. 'Brand New Day' has fulfilled many of the expectations we have of a Sting album, exhibiting technological subtleties and musical finesse. But unfortunately, like Sting's previous album, 'Mercury Falling', few songs stick in the mind of the listener. It would seem that after more than twenty years in the business, this exceptional artist has run out of melodies.

A good humoured Sting and his ever exquisite accompanists (guitarist Dominic Miller, Manu Katche on drums, Chris Botti playing trumpet and keyboard players Jason Rebello and Marc Eldridge) dedicated two hours to the back catalogue of the ex-Police chief.

Compared to classics like 'Set Them Free', 'Bourbon Street', (which Sting ornaments with a short 'Mackie-Messer' style intro, and finishes with a Louis Armstrong impression - 'Mackie-Messer comes from the title of a German song) 'Every Breath You Take' and 'Englishman In New York', Sting's most recent material fades into the background. But the sound of these classics rouses him back to life. He is clearly enjoying himself, plucking the strings of his bass guitar, and singing the old songs in his throaty voice. Although there is limited opportunity for improvisation during a concert, a session atmosphere sometimes develops.

Cleverly scattered throughout are the melancholy songs, 'Mad About You', (a deeply sad ballad from Sting's ''dark phase,'' when he was wracked with self - doubt, and sought a new direction in his life) or the no less brilliant 'Fields Of Gold'. Once again, the band really gets into the groove.

Despite their roots in the punk movement, the three Police-men crafted their own unique sound. These songs have evolved to become unrecognisable from the original composition. At Loreley in 1979, the then unknown trio brought the house down with 'Roxanne'. This song has become the property of rock history and Sting still commands the audience as he has always done.

The fascinating thing about the Police albums and Sting's solo work is that, compared with other so called ''rock classics,'' they have gathered very little dust. Sting's rebellious attitude has clearly gone. What remains, however, is beautiful, timeless songs.

One song stands out from the others - the bewitching 'Fragile', with its intricate, delicately woven acoustic guitar melody, and Sting's familiar words. After this, nothing more needs to be said.

(c) Stuttgarter Zeitung by Kai Holoch/translated by Laura Williams