Sting returns to Europe with a show at the Globe...
Stings first gig in Europe after the US-tour took place in Stockholm Globe, Sweden. The Globe is pretty good concert place, it's a ball shaped sports hall and it takes maybe 10,000 spectators.
Chris Botti was supposed to be the opening act and I was really looking forward to him (maybe even more than Sting, this was the fourth gig for me this year), but to my disappointment he wasn't there. Instead of Chris the opening act was a Swedish band called Eskobar, which is actually quite good and fits to Sting's style. They played for thirty minutes, which after was the usual break before Sting.
Finally the lights went out and 'A Thousand Years' started the gig. The band got to the stage, and I knew that 'Send Your' Love would be the next song, but 'A Thousand Years' just continued and continued... I think Kipper had some troubles starting 'SYL', because Sting began staring at him... Sting picked up his drinking glass and took a sip and at that exact moment they started 'SYL'. Well, the song starts with Sting singing so he got little late and almost started laughing. Pretty hilarious beginning for the gig...
The set list was quite short, even though the gig lasted the normal two hours. I think Sting had read some reviews from the US-tour, because it seemed like they had added some more energy and complexity to the songs. There were much longer versions of many songs compared to the versions they played back in London, and it seemed they enjoyed playing the new ''additions''. 'Sacred Love' was really long, and had an excellent ending jam, changing the feel of the song more towards classical rock. 'Never Coming Home' had the usual ''When The World...'' solos, but still I think that the longest one was 'Roxanne', which was also the last song before encores. I have heard dozens of different live versions of 'Roxanne', but I would say that this one was the most different of them all. It had a normal beginning, but when they got the solo part they changed it to 'King Of Pain', playing the first verse of it (even with Donna and Joy singing those ''that's my soul up there -parts''). The solos continued as a jazzy jam including parts from 'Bed's Too Big...', and finally got back to almost normal fast part. They played it on sometime but went back to the slow parts, jamming and Sting singing some cool unrecognisable stuff. This lasted quite long turning finally to the normal ending. I really enjoyed the version, but I can imagine that some of the folks thought it was too long.
The best surprise in the set list was 'Brand New Day', which they played as the sixth song. I think it got the best reception from the crowd and it was the first song when almost everyone was dancing. I don't know how popular 'BND' was in Sweden when it was released, but it seemed to be one of their favourites. Stings duet with Joy in 'Whenever I Say Your Name' was also longer than it used to be, had more energy and Joy got standing ovations during the song and after it! The crowd simply loved her and I don't wonder why.
I think the set list wasn't so well built that it could be, there were many single songs when people were dancing, but then always came some slower one and everyone sat down again. The continuity of the feelings in the songs were better last time when I saw Sting at Royal Albert Hall, this time the feeling was more broken.
Sting was in a great mood, his voice was perfect and he seemed to enjoy the evening. He was sorry that they were little late - seven months to be exact - due to his illness in the spring. As usual he didn't speak many times during the gig, Kipper told it was nice to be back in Europe but the rest of the time they just let the music do it's work.
All in all it was really nice night, I really liked the longer versions of the songs, and the gig had quite a different mood than in the previous European ones. I'm still just waiting for 'I Burn For You', hope they'll bring it up before the tour is over.
(c) Timo Saajoranta for Sting.com
Fina låtar har förvandlats till olyssningsbar etnopuls...
Sting är som Phil Collins. Det verkar inte som om folk bryr sig längre, men när de båda britterna ger sig ut på vägarna - fråga mig inte varför; det kan ju knappast vara av ekonomiska skäl - så vallfärdar de gamla och de nya fansen. När det gäller Sting spelar det inte ens något roll att han kommer sju månader senare än han egentligen aviserat, alla verkar glada och nöjda i alla fall.
Dessvärre är det knappast någon inspirerad Sting vi träffar denna afton. Både han själv och de musiker han har med sig är tillräckligt rutinerade för att det hela ska flyta obehindrat - det ingår i avtalet - men den som väntat sig något utöver det har inte mycket att hämta.
Jag har sett Sting vid de senaste Sverigebesöken och har väl haft mina invändningar, men aldrig har de varit så alarmerande som här. Skurken i dramat, tror jag, är Mr. Kipper. En sällsynt stelbent klaviaturspelare och producent som under de senaste åren haft en ogynnsam påverkan på slottsherre Sting. Jag misstänker att det är han som sett till att många av Stings i grunden fina låtar förvandlats till ganska så olyssningsbar arenarock med etnopuls. Att det låter så illa blir nästan obegripligt med tanke på den samlade musikaliska kompetens bandet besitter. Särskilt chockerande är att Keith Carlock, som trummade så fantastiskt på senaste Steely Dan-albumet, stelopererats till oigennkännlighet.
Allt är förstås inte bedrövligt. 'Brand New Day' har getts en lightjazzig skrud som låter bra, och de lugnare favoriterna 'Fragile' och 'Fields Of Gold' är ju svåra att förstöra. Värre går det för 'An Englishman In New York'. Med ett stompigt beat, med baskaggen anstötligt högt upp i ljudmixen, berövas den fina sången, kanske hans bästa, all sin subtilitet.
(c) Svenska Dagbladet by Dan Backman