Uncasville, CT, US
Mohegan Sun Arenawith None

Review Of Sting At Mohegan Sun...

However much his appeal is rooted in music that ranges from one to three decades old, Sting has avoided turning his repertoire into a nostalgia act. His latest tour with the support of the 45-piece Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra puts a pleasant spin on his solo and Police material. Its stop at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville on Tuesday night exhibited the 58-year-old Englishman's knack for making the familiar seem special once more.

One gesture illustrated the confluence of the formal and casual; Sting began the performance by slapped conductor Steven Mercurio a high-five before laying his tuneful bark atop 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You'. Arrangements ranged between rock- and classical-leaning moments; 'Englishman in New York' was powered by Sting's four-piece core band and accented by plucked string instruments, while a gentle, string-loaded conception of 'Roxanne' reimagined the old Police number in lush terms while Sting picked at a mini acoustic guitar.

The fluttery 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' rang true to memory. Orchestral treatment spruced up even the hoariest of material, adding drama (and an appropriate taste of Mussorgsky) to the sway of the 25-year-old political rumination 'Russians'.

There were times when the formula seemed pretentious, as when the down-home tale-spinning of 'I Hung My Head' rolled out in stately fashion. The occasions when the show's elements all came into one focus were enthralling, among them a supple, spacious delivery of 'Why Should I Cry For You?' gilded by the soft electric guitar of Dominic Miller. Traces of cello and violin were plentiful accompaniment to Sting and vocalist Jo Lawry for the stark 'You Will be my Ain True Love'.

A deliberate, arch performance of 'Moon Over Bourbon Street' gave a hearty embrace to melodrama, including a brief theremin interlude from Sting. Most of the twists were not so gimmicky; 'All Would Envy' was a charming bossa nova, and 'Mad About You' ascended into robust territory as Sting yelped its lyrics with brio. When stout rock was called for, the orchestra leapt in, whether sawing speedily across the Police punk by-product 'Next To You' or kick-starting the accelerated latter portions of 'King of Pain'.

Following a finish of 'Every Breath You Take', Sting returned for four encore tunes, 'Desert Rose', 'She's Too Good For Me', 'Fragile' and 'I Was Brought To My Senses'.

(c) The Hartford Courant by Thomas Kintner