Mercury Falling

Albuquerque, NM, US
UNM Arenawith John Prine
The drought is over...

After 16 years, rock music returned to the Pit Wednesday night with the Sting concert.

Some concertgoers in the near sellout crowd of 9,000 were pleased it was Sting, and his five-piece band, who reintroduced rock to the University of New Mexico's basketball arena. ''It's a very spiritual event because he represents peace and love. His music has changed into that,'' said Albuquerque's Patricia West, who was attending her first Sting concert.

It was an apparent reference to Sting's activism, financially and musically, in support of Amnesty International, the Rainforest Foundation and Brazil's indigenous tribes to educate themselves.

Miguel Antonio Ferdin, a 27-year-old UNM Latin American Studies major, said he has listened to Sting's music evolve over the years. He believes it appeals to all age groups.

Eyeballing those in the audience confirmed Ferdin's comment.

Some long-haired, graying fans were in their 50s. Others were in their 30s and 40s and a few in this category brought children; Albuquerque's Benny and Sandra Abruzzo took their 7-year-old son, Dane, a Sting fan.

There were a number of teen-agers in the audience. Among them was 17-year- old Anne Mannal, who graduated last spring from Sandia Prep.

Like Ferdin, Mannal is familiar with Sting's music from the prePolice era to his years with Police and the period of solo work in which he's established himself as a singer/guitarist/ composer with jazz fusion elements on his 'Fields of Gold' and 'The Dream of the Blue Turtles' albums.

Sting gave full voice to some of his hit tunes, such as 'If You Love Someone, Set Them Free' and 'Everything Little Thing She Does Is Magic'.

Predictably, he opened the show with several cuts from his recent 'Mercury Falling' release, including the title track and 'I Hung My Head'.

The Pit is a good venue for rock - unobstructed sight lines, the feeling of being close to the stage even beyond the floor seating.

But the show would have been better, from a patron's view, had the event staff not stopped fans from dancing in their seats.

No lie. Two young women from Philadelphia, one in a bleacher seat, the other in the aisle next to her, were told to sit down while dancing to 'Set Them Free'. What irony.

A few women were dancing, unimpeded, on the landing above the bleachers.

It's not as if Sting fans would turn rowdy. The floor had a pad over it. Would the dancing become contagious? Should people be allowed to exhibit their love for the music?

Lighten up, staff.

Veteran singer-songwriter John Prine, who opened for Sting, would be shocked to see people dance to his musical satires and sketches.

Sting would appreciate, encourage such freedom. He would have set them free.

(c) The Albuquerque Journal by David Steinberg