Mercury Falling

Milan, IT
Filaforumwith Antonella Ruggiero
A triumph - Yesterday night at Forum in Assago, Sting bewitched 12,000 fans...

Triumph at the Forum in Assago last night for Sting, touring on the wave of his new album 'Mercury Falling'. 12,000 fans applauded him without a break throughout the concert (1 hour and 40 minutes, 20 songs).

Satisfied promoter Franco Mamone, heaved a sigh of relief after the bad taste left in his mouth in Turin on Friday, when an audience of ''only'' 5,500 had gone to Palastampa to meet with the 40-year-old ex-leader of the Police.

20 and 40-year-olds were equally conquered by the charisma of an artist always characterized by moderation and refinement. Also Eugenio Finardi, Tullio De Piscopo, Massimo Di Cataldo and Massimiliano Pani were there to applaud him. And the whole Versace clan, the stylist who takes care of his appearance.

Before Sting, Antonella Ruggiero was on stage, singing once again after 7 years. A long absence which has not made her exceptional vocal ability go stiff at all. She started recovering ''Ti sento'' from her past in the Matia Bazar, for then offering ''La nuova terra'', ''La danza'', ''Fare fare'' from ''Libera'', the album which marks her return. Insistent rhythms, with middle Eastern flavour, brought her convinced and warm applause. Between tracks, the raven-haired Antonella found a way to thank Sting for the ''magic opportunity'' that he gave her by asking her to be his support at the 10 Italian dates. ''He's an exceptional artist and a very nice person. I'm very happy that he wanted me as his guest after having listened to my new songs'', she added later in her dressing room.

The crowd at the Forum welcomed Sting with a roar as he entered onto the stage wearing black leather trousers and overcoat over a shirt with black and white stripes, relaxed by 1-hour yoga meditation, carring his bass on his shoulder. 'The Hounds of Winter', 'I Hung my Head', 'I Was Brought to my Senses', 'Let your Soul Be your Pilot': these are the 4 songs from his new album he trusted to open the concert.

Then he ranged over his past as a soloist and as the leader of the Police: here were 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free', 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', 'Mad About You'. And also 'Synchronicity', 'Roxanne', 'When the World Is Running Down', 'Demolition Man', 'Englishman In New York'...

Sting's voice was joined by those of the 12000 who were present, fascinated not only by the jazz-flavoured sounds, but also by the odd visual plays that followed one after the other on the backdrop of the stage.

The band musicians showed themselves to be perfect support, particularly fantastic was the keyboard player Kenny Kirkland and the wind section of Conrad Thomas II and Clark Gayton with moves reminiscent of the ''Blues Brothers'''.

''You are very kind, too kind'', said Sting in perfect Italian just before putting his acoustic guitar on his arm to play 'Fragile' as an encore.

Tonight Sting will be in Bolzano, on Tuesday in Codroipo (Udine), on Thursday in Florence, on Friday in Rome. He will get ashore in Sicily in Acireale on 12th, he will be in Naples on 13th and on 14th he will end his Italian tour in Pescara.

(c) Corriere della Sera by Gloria Pozzi/translated by Annamaria Dall'Anese