Selected Miscellaneous Shows

Dubai, AE
Meydan Racecourse
Sting delves deep into his back catalogue to satisfy fans in Dubai...

Sting 2010 concert in Dubai - Sting delves deep into his back catalogue to satisfy fans in Dubai...

Did you know that Meydan boasts one of the world's largest TV screens?

The beast is more than 100m wide and 11m high and allows racegoers the chance to get up close and personal with the action on the track.

All I can say is thank goodness it was there on Thursday night or there wouldn't be a review of this concert at all.

The thing is, I don't feel as if I can give a balanced view of the concert. Primarily because I don't really feel like I was at a concert.

That isn't a criticism of Sting. Not at all. When he eventually took to the stage at around midnight, Mr Sumner (an ill advised encore version of his classic 'Desert Rose' sans Rai singer aside) played a very tight set full of passion and energy.

He opened at a high tempo with a rousing version of 'Message in a Bottle' and delved deep into his back catalogue to satisfy fans from his days in the Police to the present.

'Roxanne', 'The Shape of My Heart', 'Walking on the Moon', 'Englishman in New York' were all wheeled out to great effect.

Sting himself was clearly enjoying himself, every line of every song was punctuated with his mischevious grin, every octave of that unique and powerful voice got an outing.

He had the crowd in front of the stage eating out of his hand. Leading thousands of people in handclapping sessions and inviting them to fill in the missing lines from his myriad of hit singles.

From my vantage point, it seemed the concert was great. And that's the problem.

I had to rely on the big screen. And believe me, the atmosphere where I was sitting was nothing like that at the front.

"Sting, I love you. If only I could see you" was the ironic cry from a fan in the 'Premium Seating' area. And she was right, the layout of the venue made it impossible for the energy from the front to flow to the back.

Because they (understandably) wanted to protect the racetrack, the organisers took the decision to have a 50m gap between the front section and the back. I'll be blunt, it doesn't work.

Having two distinct banks of audience meant the energy and interaction that live performances thrive on just dissipated. The stage itself was more than 150m from where I was sitting (the edge of the standing areas were probably 200m away).

So no matter what the quality of music on offer was, I couldn't help but feel disconnected from the show. It was hard for the vibe to travel across the empty patches of dirt and grass (not helped by the fact I could see people eating sushi and watching through the window behind me).

Visible distractions such as these were high because of the distance from the stage.

I remembered the track lights glaring in the distance, people around me sipping Starbuck's style lattes and ambulances reversing at speed along the empty track and past the stage. Really, I should remember the intricate jazz laden piano solo during 'Roxanne' and Stings magnificent Harem trousers.

The decision to host concerts at the new Meydan complex is a good idea. It could even be a great idea, as Dubai is crying out for a sizeable outdoor venue with good infrastructure.

But it was the first time anything like this has ever been staged at Meydan so it is a learning curve for everyone.

(c) Gulf News by Adam Flinter

Sting has the city in a rapture...

It was truly a Super Thursday evening with the Derrinstown Stud-sponsored Super racecard kicking off the final weekend of racing of the Dubai International Racing Carnival and a post-race concert by the Sting.

The concert, which began at midnight, at the magnificent newly-built Meydan at Nad Al Sheba saw the 16 Grammy Award-winning singer perform a greatest hits filled set of his solo material as well as classics from The Police.

Dressed in all black, he warmed up the patient-but-freezing Dubai audience with 'Message In A Bottle' quickly followed by 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You'. His four-piece touring band gave new energy to many of his old well-known hits throughout the night including 'Englishman In New York', the foot-tapping 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' and acoustic intros to 'Fields Of Gold' and 'Shape Of My Heart' drew whistles and long rounds of applause.

"Dubai is amazing," he said as he conducted the audience masterfully through hand-clapping and singalongs on classics like 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free', which also featured an extended guitar solo set.

The songs that had even the men in suits swaying and crooning were, of course, 'Every Breath You Take', 'Walking On The Moon'and the high-powered 'When The World Is Running Down'.

The 59-year-old singer's voice was in top form as he kicked the tempo a notch higher with a funk-jam highlighted by scat-style singing on the crowd-pleasing 'Roxanne'. Sting had the women screaming for more on one of his newer hits - 'Desert Rose' from his 'Brand New Day' album. The nearly two-hour concert ended with the gentle ballad 'Fragile' leaving the thousands of fans who had turned up with memories for a lifetime.

(c) Khaleej Times by Gita Rajan