Brand New Day
Budapest, HUKisstadion

Sting, forever the Superstar...

Gordon Matthew Sumner was named Sting after his striped shirts which he wore in the early 80's. We've known him by the same nickname since then. Originally we expected him come to Hungary in February, but the concert was delayed then due to a fire-crash at the venue, Budapest Sportcsarnok (Budapest Sportshall). Yet Sting likes Budapest - he was here in 1988 during the 'Amnesty International' Tour and four years ago as well. That's because after discussions they succeeded in finding a new date in the packed program of the 'Brand New Day' World Tour which is promoting his latest album. The new venue was just the same as four years ago when he played a highly succesful gig : the Kisstadion - an open one.

This year's offer of pop-concerts does not have too many stars. Even Carlos Santana - who almost comes home to Hungary - only got to Vienna, though he has suddenly become a huge star. This gave Sting a higher value: an almost full stadium received the one-time frontman of the Police. But don't be unjust : the appearance of Sting would have been the concert of the year, the ''number one'' even if three or four other well-known bands had honoured Budapest with their presence. Sting is the same charismatic person as he was when leading the Police, inspired the crowds in England. Or when he shocked the ones who found him too abstract, too intellectual with perfectly composed hits: 'Englishman in New York', 'Fragile', 'Mad About You', etc.

The set list of the almost two hours long concert was the same as had been expected: the new album, 'Brand New Day' - released last autumn - was only represented with the three or four songs well-known from radio and music TV in the last couple of months. The back-bone of the gig was built up by older Sting songs - milestones of a long and highly successful solo-career which has been totally free from artistic compromises.

The only surprise was Sting's attitude. The singer-bassist - who was known earlier as a moderate and quiet one - looked very energetic and dynamic this time: he ran up and down the stage constantly and never waited for ovation at the end of the songs - instead starting the next one. This technique is known from the nowadays very fashionable Latin music. The musician never allows the attention of the crowd to slip away - the drums never stop playing. However Sting's drummer - besides his perfect technique and virtuosity - showed something unique doing a small part of rap. The trumpet player made perfect solos just like the one on the keyboards who reproduced Marsalis' saxophone part in 'Englishman in New York' - on piano.

Sting opened shouting ''Szevasztok Budapestiek!'' (''Hello people of Budapest!'') and finished with the strong three of 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You', 'Every Breath You Take' and 'Fragile'. The concert will remain memorable for the crowd of 15000. It would be nice if he came back once. It will be no fault of his fans.

(c) Magyar Hirlap by Attila Retkes/translated by David Buzas