Brand New Day
Enschede, NLUniversity
With Ilse DeLange

It's party time with Sting!

No 'Message In A Bottle'. He also didn't play 'So Lonely'.

Despite these facts there was not much to complain about Sting's performance at the lustrumfestival of the University Twente in Enschede.

At his only performance on Dutch soil Gordon Sumner and his band of excellent musicians made the festival a big celebration.

Numerous songs came from his Police-days and his best of the period after The Police. There was a light accent of repertoire of his last and almost 2 year-old album 'Brand New Day'.

It wouldn't surprise me if Sting stipulated that a Beatles record had to be played between the act of Ilse DeLange (who wore a Sting T-shirt of the occasion) and his.

The complete A-side of Abbey Road album sounded over the festival grounds before Sting stepped on stage in a cheerful mood. The last official album of the Beatles sounded for Sting. As if the 50 year-old Briton continues the history of pop as a solo-Beatle.

Sting was enjoying himself. He was inciting the cheering audience. A charismatic man for whose biggest passion is music, but he doesn't close his eyes for more important issues like saving the rainforests.

He had a fine couple of musicians around him. For example, drummer Manu Katche played an all important beat and guitarist Dominic Miller played very functional. Another beautiful part was for Chris Botti, who didn't have to toot on each play, but who improvised brilliantly on a few occasions. The weather was lovely, but Jason Rebello - who already has had a long career as a jazz pianist - played his keys with a ice cap on his head. His role didn't make him sweat, but for this one solo he really had to get the best of out himself.

When Sting fell upon the Police songs he made it immediately clear. His former Police mates Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland were no more than 'figurantan'. Sting was The Police.

After exactly 80 minutes Sting put his guitar around his neck for the last encore. When the intro of 'Fragile' spread over the crowd a second thing was made clear. Sting is strictly speaking a guitarist. He played bass all evening, but it's not his strongest point. But he doesn't care. In the end 'Be yourself no matter what they say' is the most important theme in 'Englishman in New York'. It was one of the highlights of the concert.

(c) De Twentsche Courant Tubantia by Ton Ouwehand/translated by Lithium Sunset