Sting, Too Grown-Up For Rock.''
New age themes and tranquil arrangements for The Police's classic hits set the tone for the Englishman's show on Sunday, in Santiago.
On Sunday's show, the guitars were not the stars of the night. On the few occasions that they were, they sounded crystalline and ethereal, or directly acoustic, without any distortion or loudness.
At this time in the career of The Police's former frontman, the highlights of a show are indeed the abundance of melodic rhythms and jazz solos, instead of rock's intensity.
As always, Sting had an excellent backup band. He had an air of being absolutely sure of himself and of knowing that he has nothing to prove to his audience. A very dangerous and arrogant assumption to take, considering the patience of the average concert goer.
Thus, the blond Englishman thinks nothing of taking almost an hour of his show (based on at least 50 percent of the colorless New Age songs from his most recent album 'Brand New Day') before performing one song from the rock band that made him a star: 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic'.
And to further prove that this giving in to his former success is just a fleeting compromise, he continued with 'Moon Over Bourbon Street' and 'Englishman in New York', two of the most jazzy and snob songs from his solo career.
The ''adult contemporary'' feeling of the Englishman's show proves that his new artistic stage is more in line with the pretentious jazz feel of his album 'The Dream Of The Blue Turtles' (1984) than with the pop album 'Nothing Like The Sun' (1987). This was felt on moments such as the soft introduction to 'Roxanne' and the acoustic set that closed the show, where the blond Englishman thought nothing of muting the original raging punk and ska feeling of 'Message In A Bottle'.
It seems that Sting is not very comfortable with the idea of spending middle age rocking and rolling, just as Mick Jagger does.
But anyway, after all there is nothing wrong with wanting to spend old age in a very dignified and peaceful way. Not even for a ''redeemed'' rock star.
''I want to apologize; if I'd have known this was going to happen, I would've worn a shirt and tie'', were Sting's first words, when he gave thanks for receiving an award yesterday, at noon, in the Red Room at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The musician was given the Order ''Gabriela Mistral'' for Cultural Achievement, as Great Officer. Before representatives from the Relatives of the Disappeared, the minister Soledad Alvear honored The Police's former front man, for ''his support of human rights''.
Asked why he left out the line regarding Pinochet on the song ''They dance alone'' during his concert in Santiago on Sunday, the Englishman said that he wanted to ''show sympathy for the current state of events.''
(c) La Mercurio by Julio Osses / translated by Maria Teresa Taylor Oliver
Sting was good, but did not convince the audience...
With the years Sting has noticeably changed his musical proposal. If at the beginning - in the late 70's with The Police - he achieved world stature with a simple but energetic mix of punk, reggae, dub and rock, time has transformed him into a domesticated musician, easily digested, and an enemy of risks.
Last night, at the Estadio Nacional, and on his third visit to the country, the bass player could barely awe the seven thousand spectators who gathered at the Chilean field.
All except the times when he played songs like 'Roxanne', 'Magic', and 'Every Breath' - that made the crowd go wild and dance - the general feeling was that of a half-hearted concert.
As the maximum apostle of world music, Sting and his band introduced an harmonic symphony that seemed to fulfill the need for the basic formality in any true concert: attitude.
Taking advantage of the experience only gained through years in the music business, the artist climbed the stage (one hour late) dressed in a black shirt, and after playing three songs he greeted the audience with a ''good night Santiago''.
Without moving an inch from his musical religion, plagued with subtleties and candid effects, the bass player came up with a recipe based on his latest album, 'Brand New Day' (2000), with songs like 'Desert Rose', 'Perfect Love', and 'After the Rain', among others. Only coming out of his spasmodic tranquility when playing the singles that have granted him a place in posterity.
Gifted with privileged vocal strength, every bit as luminous as vital, Sting didn't face any demons that might have led his show through back roads. On the contrary, always in complete control of the situation, he introduced changes in rhythms and added new keys to his repertoire.
After about an hour and a half of show, the British artist came back to close a well-planned and solid concert. The only catch was the lack of risk and little improvisation; sometimes extreme maturity is bad for business.
(c) La Tercera translated by Andrea Arrieta