The first concert I ever paid my hard earned cash for was Sting. To say I’ve been a fan of him for a long time is a big understatement. So, when I give a review that is less than stellar, it means something.
I purposefully avoided his last “Symphonicity” Tour stop in Prague. I couldn’t bear to hear the man that penned “Born in the 50’s” add an orchestral, candy-coated gloss to his work. It all just felt so Yanni. But when I saw he was coming this time for the “Back to Bass” tour, I was encouraged and snapped up a ticket shortly after they went on sale.
Last night’s show was not the same guy I saw playing with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers as the Police in Munich a few years back. This was clearly “late period” Sting. The good news is I like his later albums from “Mercury Falling” to his last non-symphonic album “Sacred Love”. Interestingly enough, it appeared that the man himself seems to favor that material. It’s as if those songs were written more in his present state of mind, therefore, he can really get deep into the performances.
Stylistic differences aside, Sting was, as always, a stellar musician surrounded by other stellar musicians and then some musical sideshow that just distracts from the whole performance. In this case it was a skinny, blonde, shrill singer/violinist that seemed to extend the high notes for Sting, play some OK parts on her fiddle and then annoy the rest of the time. This isn’t the first occasion of Sting having a clown on stage. Those who follow him will remember names such as Vinx and Kipper. You come to expect it, actually. That’s why it was such a relief when he reformed with the Police – there you knew the only clown would be Steward Copeland and that he was only doing it to annoy Sting.
All gripes aside the show was good. Not great but good. It was solid with an interesting mix of deep album cuts (Love is Stronger than Justice, I Hung My Head) thrown in to avoid the hit barrage. If you’re a fan, go see him. He’s coming back to Prague this summer. Just know that when you plunk down your cash, there’s a clown that comes with the package.