Mercury Falling

Dublin, IE
The Point
Sting brings along some high calibre musicians...

Some of us have long since lost our faith in Sting, and we've refused to worship at his devil's altar of jazz; last night, however, some of that faith was restored, and the Saviour of the Rainforest was somewhat redeemed. It's been so long since Sting performed in Ireland that we didn't know what to expect - slow and stultifying or just plain dull and worthy.

Luckily, those Yoga exercises Sting has been taking seem to have limbered him up to the point where he is positively entertaining, and the set was a well paced mix of solo hits and Police classics, along with some less memorable material from his new album, 'Mercury Falling'. Oh, and a few boring bits thrown in too.

As you would expect, Sting had brought along some high calibre musicians, including keyboardist Kenny Kirkland, guitarist Dominic Miller, and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, plus a lively brass duo which did musical acrobatics all over the rhythms and rhymes.

The first few songs set a jazzy, laid back tone, and we suspected that the whole show might stay settled in this mellow, meandering groove; 'I Hung My Head' swayed nicely on a 9/8 beat, but 'I Was Brought To My Senses' was dulled by a trad flavoured prelude similar to the one he assayed with The Chieftains a couple of years ago.

Stick to th'oul jazz, will ye, Sting lad.

Things started to take off with 'Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot', a Gospel tinged ascent into spiritual simplicity, then really flew with 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free' and 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic'. It was inevitable that Sting would have to trade on his Police repertoire to keep things interesting, but he wasn't under any obligation to do it quite so well.

'Seven Days', 'Mad About You' and 'Fields Of Gold' slid back into jazz pastures but when Sting called on three members of the audience to help him sing 'I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying', everything collapsed into hilarity.

Sting wisely decided to take advantage of the mood upswing, and continued with more Police stuff, including hard rocking readings of 'Synchronicity II' and 'Demolition Man', which caused some bemusement down in the stalls, and the requisite rendition of 'Roxanne', which gave the crowd the green light to get up off their seats.

(c) The Irish Times by Kevin Courtney

Sting at the Point...

At first it seemed a night for the mortgage rockers; the upholstered seats set the scene far better than anything Sting could do on stage. It is eight years since he last played Dublin, and the audience seemed fairly happy to have him back, though it was hard to tell sometimes.

A 1996 Sting audience doesn't really go leaping about in appreciation, they simply nod knowingly. Then about five songs in, the whole thing took off when the cabaret started. Sting invited two people out of the front rows on stage for a bit of a banter and an attempt at a chorus. Once he discovered they couldn't sing, however, they were relegated to a waltz about the stage while Sting got another guy out of the front row. Rory gave the main man a good run for his money, and then darted around the stage shaking hands with every member of the band, from the brass section to the keyboard player. By the time the trio went back to their seats, the audience had relaxed into something approximating a fever, albeit a seated one. Then all the old Police numbers came tumbling out; 'Roxanne', 'Synchronicity', and 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic' included.

They mightn't have screamed and they mightn't have moshed, but they did love Sting.

(c) The Irish Times by Antonia Loguel