Mercury Falling
Hong Kong, CNColiseum

Mercury falling? One could hardly tell...

It was a bit of a surprise to see the potted plants on stage for Sting's concert. But, considering how strongly he feels about environmental protection, one supposes that it was only natural that he feels most comfortable in a greener and more atmospheric setting.

And, the former Police frontman certainly looked at ease as he led his five -piece band into a string of hits ranging from songs off his new album, 'Mercury Falling' - the reason for this tour - to old Police hits. Dressed simply in a black vest, paratrooper pants and boots, Sting started the night with those two words ''mercury falling . . . '' from 'The Hounds of Winter', followed by 'I Hung My Head' and 'I Was Brought To My Senses', and an obligatory ''nei ho ma?''.

Sting was in form. His vocals were mesmerising, his band innovative and fun. In all it was a warm and engaging evening, even if the crowd did not really get going until he launched into hits such as 'Synchronicity II', 'Roxanne' and 'An Englishman in New York'.

The breezy, Caribbean feel of the arrangements of the songs was infectious and it was just as much fun watching his brass section - Butch Thomas and Clark Clayton - as it was listening to the Brit bassman.

Sting himself must have been pleasantly surprised when his call for one volunteer to sing 'I'm So Happy That I Can't Stop Crying', was answered by an enthusiastic show of hands. His two final choices won a roar of approval as they proved themselves a capable backing duet.

An extended 20-minute jam for 'Roxanne' featuring some nifty keyboard work from longtime cohort Kenny Kirkland, and a rap intro by Thomas, raised the mercury level several notches. By the time Sting launched into a feisty 'Demolition Man', most of the Coliseum crowd were on their feet and ready for more.

And Sting - ever-obliging - gave them not one, but two encores.

Mercury falling? One could hardly tell.

(c) The South China Post by Winnie Chung