Brand New Day
Noblesville, USDeer Creek Music Center
With Tracy Chapman

Overall, the night was amazing...

Some performers should not play a crowd of anywhere near 25,000. Yes, there was ambience - blame the moon for that. Yes, there was an amazing stage performance - blame Sting and Tracy Chapman for that. But, no, there was no intimacy.

With more artists performing at giant amphitheaters and arenas to simply fill the need for tickets, something has been lost, and performers like Sting and Tracy Chapman lose a lot in those large concert venues that not even amazing stage presence, incredible performing and a great audience can reclaim.

Saturday night's performances at Deer Creek promised to be excellent. Chapman and Sting both have a style of singing and guitar that is conducive to live performances - a subtle mix of folk, jazz, blues and light rock. But not even the ambiance of the moon could reclaim the intimacy both performers have had in the past.

Even Chapman noticed it.

''While we've been playing up here, the moon has been rising,'' Chapman said quietly to the nearly filled amphitheater. ''I don't know if you can see it in the back, but it's beautiful.''

Her performance seemed similar to that comment: beautiful but shy. Chapman stood almost rigid on the stage, dancing only a little and moving from her spot at the microphone only to change guitars before a song.

She did manage to get much of the crowd singing along and dancing during her 50 minute set.

Chapman's 'Fast Car' elicited cheers from the crowd after the first two chords of the song blasted from the speakers. But, 'Give Me One Reason' was the icing on the cake for Chapman fans at the performance. After a version similar to that off of her album 'New Beginnings', Chapman closed her set with a blues version, featuring a steel-stringed guitar. The crowd was up on its feet immediately to support her heart pounding wrap-up with a standing ovation.

But, that version would have been even more heralded in a smaller venue - one more comfortable for Chapman.

After only a half hour change over, Sting appeared on stage before a full crowd on its feet.

Although Sting seemed much more comfortable on stage in an venue able to hold 25,000 people, there was some personal connection missing with his performance as well. He captivated his fans with a mix of old Police songs and songs from almost every solo album he has produced. Quick setting and light changes for nearly every song and a stage presence that took him dancing around the stage, shaking hands with the front row, enchanted the audience as well.

He even received one woman's bra.

''Is that all I'm getting?'' he joked with the audience.

Still that joking could not bring back what was needed for his intimate songs 'Moon over Bourbon Street' and 'After the Rain Has Fallen'.

After more than a 15-song performance that brought his dancing fans to tears, Sting returned to the stage for a two song encore including the Police song 'Every Breath You Take'.

With such a flawless performance, his fans called him back to the stage for a second encore.

Overall, the night was amazing. Both performers played sets that made even non-fans in the audience dance. And the night lacked nothing - except intimacy.

Next time, let's hope for a smaller venue and more performances. Then, Chapman and Sting will achieve the perfect concert.

(c) The University Wire by Stacey Kess