Nothing Like The Sun

Columbia, MD, US
Merriweather Post Pavilion

Sting's varied bag of surprises...

The nicest thing about Sting's sold-out concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion last night was that you never knew quite what to expect. And at times, it seemed, neither did he.

He lambasted the Reagan administration with 'Consider Me Gone', dedicated 'If You Love Somebody (Set Them Free)' to Nelson Mandela, conjured up an elegant, nearly Gershwinesque mood with Englishman In New York and frequently danced across the stage with campy abandon, often with at least a few members of his eight-piece ensemble in tow. Near the end of the show, he even followed guitarist Jeff Campbell's searing flight on Jimi Hendrix's 'Little Wing' with a quaint, basically acoustic version of 'Goodnight Irene'.

As cocky and carefree as ever, Sting flubbed a few lyrics and notes over the course of two lengthy sets (and encores), though it hardly seemed to matter. As long as he's working with saxophonist Branford Marsalis, keyboardist Kenny Kirkland and percussionist Mino Cinelu, who bring plenty of color and drive to his music without indulging in aimless solos or feeling the need to display their jazz credentials, he can afford to be a bit sloppy now and then. Besides, the mistakes were easily overshadowed by moving versions of 'Fragile', 'The Lazarus Heart' and, particularly, 'They Dance Alone'.

(c) The Washington Post by Mike Joyce