Broken Music

Fairfax, VA, US
Patriot Centerwith Phantom Planet
Sting Has Fans Walking on the Moon...

One expects to find middle-aged fans at a Sting concert. When the house lights go down, the eyeglasses go on and, before you know it, an arena full of mommies are shouting the lyrics to 'King of Pain'. But seeing young women, tarted up like toaster pastries, turn out to see the aging legend seems odd.

To his credit, the rocker himself seems put off by the adulation of female fans born after the release of 'Regatta de Blanc'. During Sting's show at the Patriot Center on Wednesday night, the tantric master answered a young admirer's request for a kiss with a cross ''How old are you?'' Upon hearing her answer, he replied, ''I have children older than that - no, thank you.''

Thanks to a current vogue for the '80s, twenty-somethings are as enamored of the ethereal Englishman as they are of off-the-shoulder sweatshirts. But the youngsters who showed up for the material dating back to his days fronting the Police sat through a lot of music before Sting got around to his earliest works.

Although the singer is always in danger of appearing more comatose than cool, he delivered 'Message in a Bottle' and 'Driven to Tears' with just the right dose of melancholy. Unfortunately, nothing could save 'Fields of Gold' and 'If I Lose My Faith in You' from the musical ossification that sets in after excessive radio play.

Sting was most mesmerizing when he dropped his wizened, worldly veneer and channeled the spirit of a country boy. 'I Hung My Head' and 'Heavy Cloud (No Rain)', were hearty and rich, as were all songs for which guitarist Shane Fontayne strapped on a harmonica neck rack. For the newest Sting fans, 'Roxanne' and 'Every Breath You Take' came toward the end of the show, and both were as retro chic as a stack of jelly bracelets.

(c) The Washington Post by Sarah Godfrey