Brand New Day
London, GBHyde Park
With Nitin Sawnhey, Jeff Beck

There is something reassuringly civilised about the manner in which Sting approaches a live performance...

His rock 'n' roll peers might swear, stamp their feet and crank up the volume, but the former Police singer prefers the art of gentle seduction.

And his laid-back demeanour, while inevitably boring to some, worked a treat outdoors on one of the hottest nights of the year. While this set was encumbered by lengthy solos and then lifted by old pop hits, Sting's love for breaking down musical barriers shone through.

He has put together his current group in the way a football fan might pick an international dream team.

He has assembled an outfit of virtuosos in drummer Manu Katche, pianist Jason Rebello, trumpeter Chris Botti, pedal steel specialist B. J. Cole and vocalist Cheb Mami, introduced as 'one of the greatest singers in the world'. With some of the planet's finest musicians on stage, this show sauntered by with rare elegance and sophistication.

It was to Sting's credit that his own playing did not seem out of place in such exalted company. More than a frontman, he is a vital band member and his fluent bass playing was particularly impressive on the country-influenced 'Fill Her Up'.

With numbers from 1999's 'Brand New Day' album dominating the early part of a two-hour set, more familiar songs were held back until the middle of the evening. In singing 'Fields Of Gold', Sting reclaimed a song which has more recently been associated with Eva Cassidy.

But the biggest crowd-pleasers were Police singles 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' and 'Roxanne', the latter a jazzy version to which many fans sang nostalgically along.

Sting is too wily a campaigner to overlook well-loved hits from the past. So this concert ended with his 1993 solo single 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You', plus Police classics 'Every Breath You Take' and a poignant, acoustic-based 'Message In A Bottle'.

(c) The Daily Mail by Adrian Thrills