Brand New Day
San Juan, PRHiram Bithorn Stadium
With Soraya

The return of Sting...

Some years have passed since his memorable show in the Coliseo Roberto Clemente, but Sting's return to Puerto Rican earth was enthusiastically received by the crowd that filled most of the Hiram Bithorn stadium on Saturday night.

Sting and his group of six musicians appeared on the wide stage at the Bithorn as scheduled at 9:30pm. Playing rhythm guitar, the famous bassist played 'A Thousand Years', the first song from the disk that lends its name to the tour, 'Brand New Day'.

After losing the guitar, he next performed 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free', and 'After the Rain Has Fallen', another track from his last album (which was released in 1999).

The atmosphere of the outdoor concert - produced by Jose Dueno - was very festive (and extremely orderly) despite being 'baptized' with a heavy cloudburst a couple of hours before its start, and being crowned with a shower towards the end.

The ten or so songs presented in the first half of the 110 minute concert, saw the British artist concentrate on tracks mainly from his last album. In between the 'Brand New Day' tracks such as the amusing 'Perfect Love Gone Wrong' with its rap in French and an incursion into ''country music'' on 'Fill Her Up', other solo hits such as 'We'll Be Together' were played. A magnificent 'Fields of Gold', a hit from the 'Ten Summoner's Tales' album, opened the way for Sting to play the first Police song, which was received with enormous pleasure by the crowd which crammed the floor and some of tiers, and saw many leave their seats.

'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' had everyone on their feet, and raised the noise level considerably , although the volume was felt by many to be too low for an outdoor stadium. Except for his participation in the monumental Rock In Rio last month (and which in a few months will visit Pyramids of Egypt),Sting's tour is generally playing in theaters and coliseums. For example, before their show in Hato Rey, Sting filled the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City for three concerts.

There were no pronunciations by the well known artist on political, environmental or social injustic issues. Sting sprinkled his concert with ''How are you San Juan?'' or Neither there was any pronunciation the well-known artist's Vieques it has more than enough for its concern for thematic political, of the environment and of injustice social. Sting sprinkled each one of its musical presentations ''San Juan, qué tal'', or ''Viva Puerto Rico'' and ''Muchas Gracias''.

Although the volume could have been louder, the show was augmented with two enormous videotape screens fixed at each side of the stage. And when the crowd knew the songs, Sting generously shared the vocals with the mass choir. It was this way during 'Englishman in New York' and then also in a strange version of 'Roxanne'. The song which was the Police's first success began acoustically but then generated into a funky improvisation before returning to its original version. Still in those early days, another Police song was introduced, 'Bring On the Night' which Sting segued into 'When the World Is Coming Down, You Make The Best of What's Still Around'. The audience went crazy as pianist Jason Rebello offered an exquisite rhythm 'salsero' between the two songs.

After an hour and a half, Sting returned for the first of two encores. 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You' was followed by the one song that could not be left unplayed during the evening, the huge hit from 1983, 'Every Breath You Take'. The second encore saw Sting return alone for an acoustic, touchiing version of 'Message In A Bottle', with the audience drowning the vocals and relegating Sting to orchestrate the singing. The band reunited to conclude with 'Fragile', and Sting said goodbye announcing ''Qué Fragilidad'', evoking the version of the song that was also recorded in Spanish.

The Colombian ''cantautora'' who lives in Miami, Soraya, opened the concert with half dozen of her songs, characterized by flamenco rhythms and ballads with a social theme. Soraya, who is undergoing cancer treatment, demonstrated her powerful voice on such hits as 'De Repente, Cuerpo y Alma' and 'En donde estas' with the accompaniment of her thoughtful band of musicians.

(c) El Nuevo Dia by Charlie Deman