Mercury Falling

St. Louis, MO, US
Riverport Amphitheaterwith Lyle Lovett
Sting was perfect but not celestial...

Sting can still out-charm, out-hustle and out-play almost any musician out there. But as good as Sting was Saturday at Riverport, we know he can do better.

Don't get me wrong, Sting knocked the crowd out. Pleasing both aging punks and Dockers professionals, Sting touched on every era of his career from 1978's Roxanne to his current single, 'Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot'.

His howl still chills; his band hit every note. A Renaissance man who more zealous fans will call - without the slightest trace of irony - God, the former Police frontman is monk, jester and philosopher packaged in a pin-up's body. So what's the problem? Well nothing, really. This show will go down as one of the year's best.

But Sting fans are like a demanding mother who can't forgive her straight A+ son for bringing home an A. We want more than hits. We want side-splitting anecdotes and self-effacing punch lines. We want three-minute pop classics transformed into full-throttle jams. We want marathon encores to follow a marathon set.

This time around though, Sting kept it tight. The concert just hit the two-hour mark and much of the music sounded pretty close to the recorded originals. No funny stories, only a little dancing and Sting's winning mix of pop and intellect. Maybe the crowd, which seemed stapled to its seats for the show's first half, should take responsibility for not serving as a sufficient muse for a hero.

Opening act Lyle Lovett and the rest of his large band looked dapper in their suits as they played most of his new release 'Road to Ensenada'.

Though Lovett's sly humor sometimes can be overshadowed by his shy demeanor, the country artist enchanted those who bothered to catch the act.

As a bow to Lovett's talent, Sting came out to sing backup on 'Long Tall Texan'. Lovett returned the favor during Sting's show. Truth is, Lovett is simply too huge a star to be anybody's opening act, even God's.

(c) The St. Louis Post-Despatch by Diane Toroian