Bergen, NO
Bergen Calling Festival
Sprek Sting skapte fest for de voksne...

Gordon Sumner, alias Sting, vet eksakt hva fansen vil ha.
La gå at det er en smule kalkulert. Og at det er få overraskelser i låtmenyen.

Sting, en av de sprekeste 60-åringene som har spilt på festningen, leverer uansett en imponerende settliste, akkompagnert av et band som kan spille fletten av de fleste.

Sting har alltid vært flink å velge musikere, helt tilbake til Police-tiden. Og det kan ikke feile med Vinnie Colaiuta på trommer, en mann som med sin historie og backhandspill tangerer Stewart Copeland og vel så det. Hans elegante krydder løfter Stings låter.

Det samme med mangeårig gitarist Dominic Miller og den opprinnelige E Street Band-tangenttrollmannen David Sancious.

Sting makter kunsten å bevege seg uanstrengt mellom låter fra The Polices debutalbum 'Outlandos d’amour' (78) til nyere Sting-plater – faktisk i denne sammenhengen kommer flest låter fra 'Ten Summoner’s Tale' (93), inkludert den sangen alle elsker på plenen, 'Fields of Gold'. Allsangen er absolutt til stede.

I 2006 inntok Sting Koengen uten tangenter og syngedame. Begge deler var med i 2012. Inkludert felespillet til Peter Tickell, som drysser låtene med jazzstøv der det trengs.

Faktisk var det mer energi i årets konsert – den superlukrative comebackturneen med The Police i mellomtiden har åpenbart gjort godt.

Sting har en katalog de fleste kan misunne. Han kunne spilt 40 låter fra begge fasene av karrieren, og folk hadde jublet.

Konserten i Bergen nå var proppfull av hits, samtidig som at han hoppet bukk over en del evergreens. Men vi klarer oss uten nok en versjon av 'Roxanne', 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You' , 'Fragile' eller '(If You Love Somebody) Set Them Free' - som alle ble fremført i 2006.

Faktisk spilte ikke Sting noe fra sitt første soloalbum, selv om det er proppet av favoritter.

Men en liste med 'All This Time', 'Englishman in New York', 'Shape of My Heart', 'Heavy Cloud No Rain', 'Desert Rose' og 'I Hung My Head', en morderballade som Johnny Cash udødeliggjorde før han tok kvelden, kan ikke skuffe noen.

Og selvfølgelig kom en rekke Police-klassikere, fra 'Demolition Man' og 'Driven To Tears' til 'Message in a Bottle', 'Every Breath You Take' og 'King of Pain'.

Sting virket i form, fortalte om Newcastle og oppveksten, og var åpenbart godt opplyst om det tette historiske båndet mellom hjembyen og Bergen.

Han virket rett og slett sprekere enn i Bergen for seks år siden - en konsert som gikk enda mer på autopiloten.

Dette ble en festaften for et godt voksent publikum.

En aldersgruppe som aldri tar av, men som lar seg høflig begeistre.

Det var det nok av på en fullsatt Plenen.

(c) Bergensavisen by Frank Johnsen
posted by stingcom
Bergen Calling...
I wearily shuffle towards the boarding gate at Bergen airport, trying to keep my eyes open, my sister turns to me and says ''we're with the band again?'' I look around, I'm a bit confused, can't see anybody I recognise. Shortly afterwards she is saying are you Jim (from Rumer's band)? The musicians (in front of us) turn around and look totally amazed, great gig last night. Rumer was the support act for Sting in Bergen (also in Helsinki) and all the band were heading back to the UK, apart from Rumer, herself, who had flown on to Berlin to do some TV promotional work. We had a fascinating chat about music festivals, life touring and playing in Hyde Park. Probably not the usual conversation one has whilst waiting to board a plane?

Given all my travelling of recent weeks, it felt like we had managed to fit in two weeks' worth of sightseeing over a four night stay, two in Oslo and two in Bergen. Also, most importantly, taking in the Norwegian leg of the Sting tour (Norwegian Wood in Oslo and Bergen Calling in Bergen) why it's taken me so long to visit Norway I will never know, I might try and sneak back when I return to Sweden to see Lady Gaga later on this year. My sister reckons I'm infatuated by all the beautiful Norwegian women, well, Norway has absolutely stunning scenery! Our journey from Oslo took in three stunning rail journeys (it's almost on a par with the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada) and two Fjord cruises.

The concert was located close to the entrance to the Bergen harbour, an UNESCO world heritage site (because of its traditional wooden buildings, making the harbour one of the oldest large trading ports in northern Europe) in the grounds of the ancient Bergenhus fortress. (Bergenhus festning in Norwegian) This is picture postcard territory, and whilst walking through the streets of Bryggen, (the old wharf of Bergen) in search for a cash machine (all that retail therapy ate all my dough) I have a chance meeting with Sting. He is smiling and very pleased to see me, we are exchanging stories of what we had been up to in the last week, and how we were both getting over jet-lag, me after returning from Montreal and since Toronto for Sting. ''It's so light here'' Sting says to me. It does feel weird leaving a concert when it is still light, it really doesn't even start to get dark till about twenty five to midnight over here. Even on week days, the bars in Bergen stay open till 3am, the night after the Oslo concert I only had two hours sleep, I really needed a transcript of the ''Leveson inquiry'' to read; I'd be out like a light.

I must be slacking, as I missed the Toronto show by a whisker in my travel plans and seeing all my Toronto friends. (See you on the next one) Sting recalls fond memories of being in Bergen to me; he was last here in 2006, we could talk for hours, but he needs to get to the sound check.

The wonderful thing about outside venues is you don't have to be in the backstage area to hear the sound, standing outside, I can hear Jo Lawry's exquisite vocals singing ''Never Coming Home'', later I hear Dominic pumping out the guitar riffs of ''Demolition Man.'' At the start of the sound check, I hear somebody singing ''Every little thing'' I'm in such a trance and fighting my tiredness, I can't recall if it was Jo singing? After the sound check finished I meet Sting again, this time with Jo Lawry (who is heavily laden with rucksack, looking as if she is about to go hiking to the top of the Fløyen mountain). All this before we even get to concert time, I am so incredibly fortunate, privileged and guess what, it's not raining.

During one of the introductions in Rumer's set she joked that it rains so much in Bergen, when the sun actually comes out all the children get the day off school to celebrate. Norway is probably the only country to beat England in talking so much about the weather, especially the rain. A fact not lost on Sting; in fact he wanted to make a point about it.

You know where I'm going with this, don't you? ''If I was to say…'' Sting is looking directly at me, he pauses, and I can sense he's up to something, he looks in playful mode. ''If I was to say Heavy Cloud what would you say……'' He knows what is going to happen next, hands aloft, I shout ''No Rain!'' I'm the only voice, if I'm not; I'm certainly the loudest voice. Sting pauses, well he stops and singles me out and says to me ''Have you been to the show before?'' (Ever had that feeling everybody is staring at you.) Most of the crowd don't know what is going on. They don't realise Sting's private joke with me, Sting's grinning, I burst into laughter ''A few times'' is my response.( I did consider name checking a few places, London, Paris, Munich……everybody talk about? ) Sting still looking at me he says ''Can you say it again'', I shout ''No Rain!'' at least a few people join in with me. He then explains to the crowd every time I sing ''Heavy Cloud'' you reply ''No Rain!'' there is now a ''to and fro'' dialogue from the audience, culminating in probably the loudest ''No Rain!'' I've heard on the whole tour. We don't want the rain today, the clouds were indeed heavy, but we were blessed with no rain. (Result) Speaking of results, shortly after this a Norwegian fan taps me on the shoulder and points to his mobile phone. (England 1, Ukraine 0) What an amazing day, England winning at football, it will never catch on? It is not the first time I have been at a Sting concert whilst England is playing an important football match. At this point in the set in Oslo, we were treated to a full on version of Synchronicity 2, always good for my dance moves.

Unusually, not much space opened up around me during both concerts, I was rocking out big time. At Norwegian Wood there were a lot of TV cameras, much more than just for video screen use. Whether this was for Norwegian Television or for something else I'm not sure, I counted 7 cameras, one for each day in Seven days, maybe? I was positioned front centre, hands on the security barrier. It was very evident during the show the camera crew were panning and focusing their shots on a certain individual in the front, none more so than, MIAB, I was really quite emotional (Well, it was the song that started me off on my Police/Sting musical journey in the first place) My sister was laughing at me, and several Norwegian women in the audience were giving me the nod and eye of approval for my exuberance. My dancing started early that night, I thoroughly enjoyed ''Lars Winnerbäck'' who played before Sting, he had a smile and twinkle in his eye, that set the Norwegian Women off, in lustful appreciation, not to dissimilar from the ''we love you Sting'' moments you hear in Sting's set sometimes. My sister reckons he needed a haircut and a shave, I thought she was referring to me at that point. The music was good, even though I couldn't understand any of the words, I sure during one song, he was singing about motorways and big Norwegian Cranes?

I am so pleased ''End of the Game'' is still in the set for the music festivals, on both nights Sting asks the crowd the Norwegian for fox. The crowd oblige by shouting out the answer, Sting asks twice, but from the look on his face, he seems unsure how to pronounce the word. If I could have pronounced it, I would have helped him out. I forget which song Sting mentions, about all the Seagulls hovering around, there's a song in there somewhere? J Also there was a very high stage in Oslo, if you were down the front, so I had to rely on the screens to see Jo, Vinnie and David.

''Shape of My Heart'' was totally perfect, Sting's vocal intonations during the delivery of the line '' and if I told you that I loved you….'' was stunning, my sister is going ''Wow, that is perfect'', Dom's guitar playing was superbly delivered. You could tell he was pleased with his performance, and managed a huge wide smile in my direction.

During the Bergen concert, almost every Dominic extended guitar section during ''Driven to Tears'' (Just love those guitar effects at the start of this song) I was trying to mimic his guitar moves, might explain why he was giving me some amazing facial expressions. (Even more quizzical than Seattle, Ann) Probably more like, what is this guy like? Given my extensive travels of late, he looked surprised to see me in Bergen, I know Howard Page did. As always the sound mix was spot on, to get that intimate sound and clarity in a festival setting (as distinct from an indoor theatre) is so hard to nail. My Howard Page ''Wow moments'' includes the sound panning during ''Never Coming home'' and everybody's favourite, Jo's lush vocal on the ''Hounds of Winter'' and Sting's vocal to close the song.

Although this tour isn't strictly ''Back to Bass'' as such, the set-list revolves around the core structure of songs from this tour. Peter Tickell's musical fiddle playing is wowing people, everywhere, with jaw dropping finesse, I'm sure he's playing even faster, such energy, on 'Love is Stronger than Justice' is brilliant, there was no way I could stay still, at the climax of the song, I'm probably looking incredibly funny, a combination of air fiddle playing, air drumming and look exhausted, as if I'm going to pass out. The crowd give him a warm and loud ovation. Peter looks visibly moved, I'm clapping and cheering wildly. I'm sure in one of the Norwegian reviews they refer to him as David Tickell, is it a Norwegian thing?

Vinnie's trademark ''Hounds of Winter'' press drum roll is still amazing, Sting's introduction, ''He can do this for hours'' as Sting jokes and seeks encouragement from the crowd to ''make some noise!''

I still think ''Never Coming Home'' is my tour song; I was certainly the catalyst to start the crowd clapping in time, with a few wooooah at the start of the song. I'm surprised I still have a voice left at this point. (I knew there was reason for going to an Ice bar in OsloJ) Don't worry I did not end up drinking Russian Vodka, like in Glasgow. Hand aloft; as I am proudly singing ''it's five in the morning….'' wonder if that hand will be a cutaway shot if they edit the Norwegian Wood footage together. David Sancious keyboard jam is another huge highlights, as is his playing on ''Englishman in NY'' and ''Seven Days.'' In Bergen, during ''Englishman in NY'' Sting gives me an appreciative nod, as one of my ''woooah…'' seems to stand out above the rest of the crowd, at least I'm in time. (Phew)

How I found the energy for the finale, I don't know, may explain why my legs are stiff two days after the gig. ''Desert Rose'' and ''King of Pain'' rocked big time I'm in full swing, I'm in my element and during "Next To You". At this point, three gorgeous Norwegian women surged forward and started jumping around, my sister was surprised, thought it was me jumping around, well I might as well ''jump!'' There's a little in-joke, (at my expense) somebody wrote and posted an article about some of my infamous Djing past. I quote the climax of the evening would be when the Dj would put on Van Halen's jump and take his shirt off! Doesn't happen very often these days, special occasions; seem to remember that happened at MSG at the last Police concert. This little section around me, was starting to resemble a mini mosh-pit, comprising of four people. I can only imagine, what Paul Carter would be saying at this moment, (if he was there, something like) ''Nice one, my son!'' I manage to synchronise my final leap, without landing on anybody's toes or going splat, really was a case of Norway being ''magic, magic, magic''.

(c) Roger Puplett for
Newer comments    1 - 1 of 1    Older comments