A magical night with Sting at SPAC...
Whether powering through songs from his days as the face of The Police or tracks from his solo career, Sting stood and delivered for a full 100-minute show at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Wednesday night during his 57th and 9th World Tour stop.
In a career that has spanned 40 years, only measureable by the age range of the fans in the SPAC crowd Wednesday night, the ultimate front man proved to be an ageless wonder.
Sting, belted out the first four songs, ‘Synchronicity II’, ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith in You,’ ‘Spirits in the Material World,’ and ‘Englishman in New York,’ before taking a brief break to introduce his longtime guitarist Dominic Miller along with his own offspring, Rufus Miller and drummer Josh Freese.
He was then quickly moving on through the rest of his 16-song main set under a beautiful August moon in front of a filled amphitheater and packed lawn.
If there was any downside on this late summer night it was that every male in the crowd was playing second fiddle to the rock star on stage.
With his unmistakable voice, his solid physique in a demur T-shirt and jeans, his familiar lyrics and magical fingers on the bass melting every heart in the audience.
Even as the show progressed and the lights bore down on the Wallsend rocker, the sweat only made the handsome man glisten more.
Sting found a way to bring a packed crowd to its feet with classics from The Police era and then turn the night into his own intimate setting with the song ‘Shape of My Heart.’
“The set list for this tour is a balance between songs that people know and enough of the new material to put the name of the album on the tour,” Sting says in a video clip on his official web-site. “So we’re playing most of the songs from the album, but we’re topping, tailed by more familiar material.”
Again, playing to his strengths, both as a musician and a sex symbol through the years, the man whose diet must include drinking from the Fountain of Youth and still having the vocals of an early front man there was no need for any video screens to accompany his 21-song set Wednesday night.
While fully utilizing an array of The Police singles, including ‘Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,’, ‘Message in a Bottle,’ and ‘Walking on the Moon,’ his rare break came when he asked his oldest son, Joe Sumner to take over and sing ‘Ashes to Ashes’ by longtime friend David Bowie.
While the younger Sumner was a near perfect replica of his rocker father, it was still Sting’s show and dad returned to center stage to close out the song in spectacular fashion.
Sting closed out the main set with a tribute to everyone’s favorite girl ‘Roxanne’ the girl in the center of the Englishman’s prose could hear her name screamed all the way up to Lake George by the fans in and outside of SPAC.
Again, being totally unfair to those males in the audience, it would be only Sting who could take the rock song ‘Roxanne’ from a car karaoke classic and wind it down to a near whisper and metamorphosis it into Bill Wither’s ‘Ain’t No Sunshine.’ The crowd was simply amazed by his ability to make the changeover before returning the crowd to its shouting feet with a heart-pounding finish of ‘Roxanne.’
With a less than 60 second exit off the stage, Sting returned for his first encore of the night, thrilling the crowd with two familiar The Police hits ‘Next to You,’ and ‘Every Breath You Take,’ with ‘I Can’t Stop Thinking About You,’ in the middle to potentially close out the night.
After a full ensemble triple bow together the house lights remained down for the crowd to focus and give the rock star a chance to return one last time.
Taking a moment to share a thought about the world and remind those in attendance to think of those affected in Houston Sting sent the crowd home with ‘Fragile.’
Early on for those fans in attendance who thought that The Police front man wouldn’t make it to the stage until 9 p.m. they were caught off-guard when Sting joined his son, Joe Sumner, for the opening song of the night, singing a duet with him and The Last Bandoleros. The self-proclaimed Tex-Mex/Pop-Rock group didn’t disappoint, showing the talent of his oldest son was true and giving The Last Bandoleros their own quality time before taking up a secondary role on stage during Sting’s full set.
At 65 it is hard to imagine seeing him again in the area as his tour will take him out of the United States and spending the fall with stops in Austria, Russia, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Poland and Hungary making his stop at SPAC a truly magical night.
(c) The Saratogian by Stan Hudy