Summoner's Tales
London, GBRoyal Albert Hall

Back to basics for Sting the master...

Since his first appearance as a punky peroxide blond with the Police, Sting has c0mpleted an odyssey of pop's possibilities in record time.

Superstar reincarnated as jazz musician, film actor, tireless campaigner for ecology and human rights.

Thus the question at last week's Royal Albert Hall concerts was: what form would Sting take this time?

As the lights dimmed, a drummer, guitarist and keyboard player took their places, closely followed by the star of the show. And that was it: a four piece rock band.

Those of us who have sometimes despaired of this master pop craftsman ever forsaking his egg-head pretensions, gave a silent cheer.

Sting, too, seemed happy with the arrangement. Dressed from top to toe in black, he beamed upon his adoring audience. Banished was all discourse and music of a didactic nature. This looked like the best fun he had had since the Police used to biff each other all over the stage.

Musically, the evening drew on material from 16 years, including many Police songs. If 'Roxanne' failed to overly excite the audience, then 'Every Breath You Take' more than made up for it.

Also impressive were some of Sting's more introspective solo moments, such as 'Fields of Gold' and 'Fragile'. Aside from a quirkily enjoyable 'Englishman In New York', the highlight was 'King Of Pain', when Sting finally let his fine band off the leash.

Guitarist Dominic Miller used his solo to carve out a niche of female fan worship. But it was keyboard player David Sancious who took the song into teeth-rattling orbit - with Sting galloping around in encouragement, practically gurning with delight.

(c) The Sunday Express by Pete Clark