Sometimes dreams come true...
So it may happen a superstar like Sting may suddenly be joined by another superstar, of another generation and for another genre of music, but equal in popularity: Ricky Martin!
That was the super-surprise of the opening event of Mr. Sumne's Italian tour yesterday in the perfect and proper location of Piazza Grande (a real ''drawing-room'' for every genre of music). The audience of almost 9,000 could'nt believe their eyes as Ricky joined Sting on stage to duet on 'Every Breath You Take', the eternal anthem of the Police era. Somebody had noticed next to the mixer a handsome guy very similiar to Martin without it registering, but then, it was a scene of delirium.
The show, on the other hand, had not been a 'delirious' one: the Sting audience is not the same as most rock concerts: it's different - intimate, dreaming, a good listener who appreciates the more elaborated issues (less pop and more oriented toward a certain kind of 'atmospheric jazz', caribbean and south-american sounds that are evergreen and charming to everybody). So the atmosphere was absorbing, the people of every age (although the teens were just a few!), very attentive.
No one complained at the 40 minute gap between Jeff Beck's set and the coming of the Pungiglione (the ''Sting''): the start of 'A Thousand Years', with a very beautiful showlight, good chromatic taste, and a clean amplification (never aggressive) was enough to magically fix everything.
Sting appeared in a kind of exotic mode, sunglasses and his historical bass, companion of many legendary adventures. On his side the main columns of the tour and of the last records: Dominic Miller, surfine wisdom on guitar, and Manu Katche, drum maestro. With them there were two good keyboard players (Jason Rebello and Mark Eldridge, more journeymen than artists, not at all at the same level of Kenny Kirkland), Chris Botti on trumpet and Russ Irwin (sic) on back vocals. There was good interplay between the ensemble, perfectly working in every situation.
The tracklist was rich and intelligent, focused on the tracks of the last - not exalting - BND: from the initial 'A Thousand Years', to 'After The Rain Has Fallen', to the mediocre 'Fill Her Up' to the title track. (note: 'Brand New Day' was not performed).
But Sting pleased everyone in the audience taking everywhere from his rich repertoire. They came like pearls from the unequalled 'The Dream Of The Blue Turtles': 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free', always terrific, and the nice jazzy mood of 'Moon Over Bourbon Street'. From 'Nothing Like The Sun', besides 'Fragile', the concluding song of the show (the best track ever written by Sting), the beautiful 'Englishman In New York'. 'All This Time', from 'Soul Cages', was performed not at his best, but extraordinary for intensity (finally little flames in the audience!) was, as always, 'Fields Of Gold'.
The image of Sting is associated with the role of leader of one of rock history's biggest bands: the Police. During every gig Sting picks up from the magical hat, memorable songs he manufactured with Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland. At Palmanova's show he presented 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', a long and passional version of 'Roxanne', from 'Outlandos d'Amour', the trio's debut masterpiece, and 'Message In A Bottle' (a track he is fond of). That could have been enough but Ricky Martin pleased us with another surprising gift singing in duet with Mr. Sumner, friend and idol, on 'Every Breath You Take'.
Different generations, on stage and in the audience, and this is nice and right to happen. A good start for the italian tour by Sting, who, from the star-shaped town (rich of history and still today of the right dimension for living) moves to the metropolis of Milan. The audience, that found in Palmanova a new yardstick for open-air shows, will remember with the joy the sight of an historical duet and, most of all, a good performance, measured, wise, with poetic and groovy moments.
Yes, it really was a brand new day!
(c) Messaggero Veneto by Nicola Cossar/translated by Alessandro Magliarditi