No shortage of solo hits and classics from The Police. Sting Leaves Nothing On The Table At First Stop Of Aussie Tour...
An Englishman in Australia equipped with an arsenal of hits like few others, Sting cut a lean and commanding figure as he casually strolled onto the stage at Perth's Kings Park for the first show of his My Songs tour down under.
The Police legend, who has never been one for fanfare, strolled out wearing a headset mic, skinny black jeans and a tight grey t-shirt and paced the front of the stage in a spotlight to Message In A Bottle.
With one foot resting atop a foldback speaker, he firmly plucked away at his bass, offering up his trademark vocals as the song's melody gripped the audience.
He took a bow as if to wink to the audience, and harmonica ushered in fan favourite Englishman In New York, Sting belting out its chorus while subtly shaking his hips and then raising the neck of his bass to dive headfirst into its catchy runs.
Delicate piano from keyboardist Kevon Webster rang out through a wash of cymbals, and the entire venue was bouncing in time to Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, with punters jumping, dancing, clapping and screaming. Through all the noise, though, Sting's bass always had a solid presence, proving to be a driving force throughout the night.
"You've heard some hits... I've got some bad news for you... I'm gonna play some new songs," he said with a grin. "You never know; they might be hits one day."
Perched upon a stool, he changed gears and turned down a road less travelled by many punters, playing If It's Love and Loving You, both from the 2021 album The Bridge.
Tight verses opened to soaring choruses in Rushing Water, another new song that allowed backing vocalists Melissa Musique and Gene Noble to really shine, before ‘90s favourite If I Ever Lose My Faith In You had punters thrusting their arms into the air as Sting plucked away, visibility delighted.
He wasn't going to let anyone forget the scope of his hits, frequently offering up tracks such as Fields Of Gold, occasionally accompanied by much-welcomed anecdotes. Half the audience sat in silence during the hit while the other half whispered along.
"I wrote this song for the millennium," Sting said, introducing Brand New Day and challenging the youngest member of the band, Shane Sager, to undertake Stevie Wonder's harmonica part.
By the song's end, punters had whiplash from glancing back and forth between Sager and Sting, who gave one of his most compelling performances of the night during the track, digging into his bass while barking its uplifting and fast-paced lyrics.
Sting leaned back while popping his bass to the funky groove of Heavy Cloud No Rain, knowing he had the audience exactly where he wanted them. A highlight of the evening, Musique graced the front of the stage towards the end of the song to unleash soaring vocals that led to a show-stopping jam.
From that point, it didn't matter what Sting was doing - whether gently laying melodies over Dominic Miller’s delicate acoustic guitar in Shape Of My Heart or performing the theatrical number What Could Have Been to the vision of the Netflix series it features on, Arcane (an animation that no doubt most in attendance were seeing for the first time) - the audience was captivated.
The venue finally matched Sting's energy with Walking On The Moon, many rushing to the front of the stage, ready to scream the chorus of So Lonely back at the singer.
"Ya leel" pulsated throughout the venue in Desert Rose, punters possessed by the beat from drummer Zach Jones, before opener Joe Sumner returned to sing King Of Pain with his father.
The evening was cemented by closing numbers and seminal classics Every Breath You Take and Roxanne, the latter of which Sting joked, "I have no idea what you want to hear" before its punchy twang echoed out into the night.
"I always finish the evening with something quiet and thoughtful," Sting declared, equipped with an acoustic guitar to serenade the audience one last time, performing Fragile while everyone reflected on what was a damn near perfect evening.
(c) TheMusic.com.au by Dan Cribb