Sting reinvents biggest hits in show at Chastain...
It's probably safe to put Sting in the incomparable category. With such a
distinctive tenor that manages power, angst and even a bit of audacity, after
all these years, he's always reliable.
So, it speaks to the singer's remarkable imagination, to reinvent some of his
biggest hits, including 'Roxanne' and 'Englishman in New York', into
breathtaking classical arrangements performed alongside London's Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra, an outfit he ''borrowed from the Queen.''
At Monday night's performance at Chastain Park Amphitheatre, Sting thanked her
Highness, for the orchestra conducted by Stephen Mercurio. Fans echoed the
sentiment as they were taken through a dazzling set list that had familiarity,
('King of Pain' and 'Every Breath You Take'.) and underscored the depth of
Sting's songwriting talent in pop, jazz and country ('A Thousand Years', 'Hung
As Sting himself noted onstage, working with an orchestra has helped him
''excavate his work'' for songs that might have been ''forgotten'' on his past
Indeed, the Royal Philharmonic broadened some of Sting's lesser known songs. On
'Russians', (from 'Dream of the Blue Turtles') the orchestra expanded on a
melody Sting had already borrowed from Prokofiev, giving it a luxurious glory
one would expect from a Russian march.
But just when you'd expect a big, symphonic arrangement, Sting performed a
surprisingly stripped down 'Roxanne', showing the strength in its simplicity.
In a too quiet contrast, 'Moon Over Bourbon Street' suffered with its
complexity, which was decidedly clumsy. And there were moments where the
orchestra overpowered the lone background vocalist. But that's to be expected
when the orchestra, and especially, its soloists on violin, cello, clarinet and
trumpet, were the real stars.
On 'Desert Rose', a complicated, song already, Mercurio brought out the
virtuosity of the strings. They zipped through the show-offy Middle
East-inspired bridge. This loosened the musicians' staid expressions, who bopped
along with their violins and violas, matching the audience on its feet.
(c) Atlanta Journal & Constitution by Jamila Robinson