Mercury Falling
Glasgow, GBScottish Exhibition & Conference Centre
With Paul Carrack

Sting at the SECC...

Sting's current look - cropped hair, ludicrous goatee, black attire and bare, sinewy arms pumpin away at his bass - gives him the air of the leader of some kind of physical fitness cult. Perhaps he's the guru of casual, confident showmanship.

If that's the case he narrowly missed being upstaged twice on Saturday night - first by the torrent of vapour emitted by a contraption beside him (a steam wallpaper stripper to soothe his throat), then by a livewire named Billy Muir from Dumbarton, one of two audience members picked to duet with him on 'I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying'. Showing a boisterousness that could only come from stage fright, Muir could have stolen the show from a less commanding figure. It was an education to see the former schoolteacher Sting keeping the situation tightly under control.

Musically, he restricted himself to only the strongest of his new material and ensured that chestnuts from his back catalogue were never far away. Even so, 'Demolition Man' and 'When The World Is Running Down' (the latter serving as a vehicle for an extended Kenny Kirkland keyboard solo) are sounding very creaky these days, and the awkward timings of the more recent 'Seven Days' strayed too far from the directness that's the hallmark of his best songs.

(c) The Scotsman by Alastair Mabbott