Summoner's Tales
New York City, USParamount Theater

Success leaves him without usual Sting...

You might think that having nabbed three Grammy awards (one for best pop vocal performance and a couple of technical kudos), Sting would be pumped up and ready to deliver the show of a lifetime. But at the Paramount Wednesday, Sting showed the awards mean little except expected increases in disc sales and have nothing to do with the reality of performance.

Just last June, the King of Pain ripped the Paramount apart with a drop-dead concert that had the fans on their feet most of the show. They loved every breath he took. Don't get me wrong, on Wednesday Sting didn't stink. He was OK but OK is a big fall down the stairs from what the public has come to expect from the former Police chief.

Maybe because the program was new at last year's show ('Ten Summoner's Tales' had been released a couple of months earlier), but then he seemed Into the music, as if he actually wanted to be with the fans just to show them how much an accomplishment the new material was. This time around the fans were obviously into the show, but Sting's ambivalence was also obvious.

By the end of the show a mutual passion between star and fans had ignited (you could tell because the audience was on its feet moving to the music), but It happened way too late for such a short program.

Complicating matters, Sting had absolutely nothing to say to the crowd until the final ''thank you, God bless.'' By comparison last time around he was down-right chatty, joking with his band and the fans. At this outing he sang, he played his bass and I yawned.

I like the new album very much. I even like Sting, but It's time for him to recharge his stage-show batteries and mix up the program. Wednesday's show was almost a carbon copy of last year's concert. It even Included the same cover of The Beatles' 'A Day In the Life'.

Then as at this week's show, the Police songs were always the most arresting with the crowd. 'Roxanne', 'Every little Thing She Does In Magic', 'Every Breath You Take' thrilled them.

But Sting and his three-piece band (featuring keyboardist David Sancious) were at their best in the 'Ten Summoner's Tale' material, especially the rock/jazz fusions like 'Saint Augustine In Hell', 'She's Too Good for Me' and the Grammy-winning song 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You'. Sanclous' keyboard solo on 'Saint Augustine' was easily the evening's musical zenith and got the instant jazz reward of mid-song applause.

Sting's work as a bassist has always been overshadowed by his vocals, even though he is a player. It would be Interesting to hear him extend himself as an instrumentalist in concert, maybe even dabbling with a fretless electric bass on songs such as 'It's Probably Me'.

Sting remains a cyclic artist whose career has plenty of peaks and valleys. In spite of riding the crest of the Grammy wave, he seems to be In a performance rut and in need of a rest.

(c) The New York Post by Dan Aquitalane

Sting shows he's got that extra rock wattage...

Fresh from snagging three statuettes at the 36th annual Grammy awards, superstar Sting showed he's got that extra rock wattage with a rollicking performance at Manhattan's Paramount Theater.

The relaxed ex-Police-man launched Wednesday night's show with an easy crowd pleaser from his 'Ten Summoner's Tales' album - 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You', which won him the Grammy for best male pop vocal performance.

''I was going to sing 'I Will Always Love You,''' he joked, ''but we've had enough of that.''

Whitney Houston's rendition of the Dolly Parton ballad walked away with Grammys Tuesday night for best single record and best album, edging out Sting in both categories. With his distinctive searing voice, Sting glided through the two-hour show from jazz to pop to rockabilly to ballads to hard rock, mixing tunes from his solo career with hits from the Police years.

Unfortunately, his energy seemed to ebb during 'Roxanne' and 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', which was the energy-packed dance hit of the '80s.

During 'Roxanne', an annoying bright red light flashed as he sang Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light - a hokey move not worthy of his stature or talent. Sting shines brightest when his crystal-clear voice is allowed to take center stage with gentle accompaniment on guitar and piano as in the beautifully arranged 'Fields of Gold'.

That's not to say the rocker can't rock, as he did with gusto on a medley of 'King of Pain' and 'Demolition Man'. Just as the show neared its end Sting seemed to be warming up, bobbing and dancing joyously to the rockabilly-esque 'She's Too Good For Me'. And he knew how to leave his audience happy, serving up his best performance at the encore with an inspired, soulful rendition of 'Every Breath You Take'.

(c) United Press International by Tracey Miller