Sting on Royal wavelength at masterful Red Rocks stop...
At the first of his two Red Rocks concerts with the Royal Philharmonic Concert
Orchestra, Sting was a consummate showman and a wilful storyteller Wednesday
Dressed in black and holding court at the centre of Red Rocks' mammoth stage,
the rock artist made sure the sold-out audience felt special at this showcase
stop of his 'Symphonicity' tour.
Touring with 40-plus musicians from one of the world's most respected
philharmonics, he kicked the evening off with an 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In
You' that took full advantage of his mammoth backing band - strings, brass,
timpani, harp and all. Cable network A&E was in the house with obnoxiously
glaring audience lights and plenty of cameras for a later broadcast.
Pairing Sting with the orchestra is brilliant synchronicity on multiple levels.
Sure, it sounds great. But the aesthetics of Sting in 2010 backed by a vaunted
symphony is a brilliant way to please his audience, which has aged along with
him. It also helps justify the ticket cost - $50.50 to $180.50, before fees.
The many Sting fans in the house were treated to a show that impressively
covered his hits along with some unexpected album tracks. Outside of 'Every
Little Thing She Does Is Magic', his first set was front-loaded with ballads -
understandably, given the presentation.
'Englishman In New York' had a gorgeous clarinet throughline and a beguiling,
song-ending, amphitheatre wide sing-along of ''Be yourself no matter what they
say.'' 'Roxanne' had Sting on acoustic guitar, and the pop hit sounded like a
minor-key lounge dirge. Sting didn't flex his upper register too much in the
familiar song, but the arrangement - by Rob Mathes, who handled many of the
evening's orchestrations - was understated, nuanced and quite pretty.
''There's a reason they're called the Royal Philharmonic,'' Sting quipped early
in the night, acknowledging the musicians behind him. ''I borrowed them off the
The orchestra added a certain class to the joint. Sometimes Sting would step
aside and into the dark, giving the players a deserved spotlight.
'Russians' took advantage of the bombastic percussion section. 'When We Dance',
an overwrought ballad already, didn't benefit much from the orchestra's
presence. But 'I Hung My Head' was a stunning study in contrasts with a more
traditional Sting-drummer-guitarist moment blooming into a full-blown symphonic
(c) The Denver Post by Ricardo Baca