Sting raises $4m for tsunami victims...
British pop star Sting helped generate a flood of funds for tsunami victims last night, with more than $4 million raised at his sold-out West Australian charity concert.
The veteran singer and international activist enthralled a crowd of 6000 at the Leeuwin Estate winery in Margaret River with a two-hour gig dedicated to the Asian relief effort.
His mix of old hits such as 'Message in a Bottle' and 'Every Breath You Take' and songs from his current 'Sacred Love' tour were lapped up by the ardent fans and corporate supporters who had paid a minimum of $150 a ticket to attend the benefit concert.
''I think you would be very hard-pressed not to have had a good night last night - Sting gave a fantastic performance,'' Leeuwin Estate's co-owner Trish Horgan said today.
A tired but happy Ms Horgan confirmed the concert alone had raised at least $2 million, with money from bar sales and donations from local accommodation houses and businesses still to be counted.
The West Australian government has also pledged to match the funds raised dollar for dollar, making a total of at least $4 million.
''The money is still coming in,'' Ms Horgan said. ''As late as yesterday I had a donation of $50,000 given to me.
''People have been very generous and we're very pleased to be able to raise such a huge amount of money for this cause.''
Ms Horgan said Sting and his band had been very happy with the outdoor venue, set in a large wooded grove on the Leeuwin property.
The pop star and his family were looking forward to a day on the local beaches and golf courses today, she said.
Sting will hold a further two scheduled shows - also sell-outs - as part of Leeuwin's annual concert series on Saturday and Sunday nights.
(c) The Melbourne Herald Sun
Sting was $4m worth of magic...
The Leeuwin Concert lived up to heartfelt expectations on Thursday night, as Sting brought in a powerful SOS from our neighbours in the Indian Ocean's tsunami zone.
From the contemplative opening of 'Message in a Bottle', through two hours of Sting's 25 year repertoire of unique jazz-rock fusions, the audience rose to the rhythm at the ''stand up'' call from the stage, despite the valiant attempts of security to keep the 6000+ crowd seated.
Sting has lost nothing of his smooth, swaying suave in all the years since this concert-goer danced the night away to The Police at Sydney's Horden Pavilion in 1980. And he still delivers three encores to the familiar ''Ay-O'' call.
He made sure his brilliant band and singers at Leeuwin's gig shared the spotlight with hits such as a 15 minute rollercoaster 'Roxanne', soaring keyboard and vocal duos, thumping drums, and haunting acoustic and lead guitar.
'Englishman in New York' set an undeniable dance rhythm apace, and as the beat of the Sting's bass travelled through the grounds of Leeuwin and up through the soles of your feet delivering a beating heart massage, it was simply not possible to stop dancing, singing or re-living the old call of teenage years.
But the Leeuwin Concert is never completely about the main performer. This extraordinary volunteer fundraising effort, bringing in $4-$5million in relief funds for Tsunami victims (when matched by the WA State Government), is credit to Tricia and Denis Horgan of Leeuwin Estate, and all who supported their visionary idea.
The experience of a Leeuwin Concert as an audience member starts far earlier than the music, as a rising thrill fills the streets of Margaret River all day and continues throughout the weekend with Sting's Saturday and Sunday night concerts.
As the rope drops on the 5pm start line, the picnic-coated runners dodge between coaches and streamered mini-buses; friends gather, the community celebrates; short people wish they were taller; and dancers jostle for position, many lasting it out with the Magnificent Seven's stream of danceable country covers until midnight.
With 'Tears From the Sky', and hazy happy faces, we wander home leaving a lawn full of strange black garbage bags to greet our gracious hosts and the Soccer Club volunteers the next morning.
We may not have Walked on the Moon at Sting's concert on Friday night, but we sure heard the heartbeat of the Earth.
(c) Margaret River Online