Mercury Falling

Los Angeles, CA, US
Greek Theater
Sting's show under the summer stars had to be the perfect date concert...

Sting's show under the summer stars had to be the perfect date concert: full of mellifluous love songs and urbane sing-along ballads such as ''Every Breath You Take'.' If you and your partner didn't get together at this show, even counseling won't help. Sting can be as sappy and corny as Spielbergian suburbia or as riveting as the demons that are unleashed on that suburbia in the next scene. Even for those who prefer an edgier rock than Sting's balladic fusion, he still produces a thoroughly comfortable Concert Lite. Bolstered by faves such as ''Synchronicity', 'Fields of Gold and a medley including 'Bring on the Night' with 'The World Is Running Down', Sting presented a bouncy, easygoing set.

He seemed to finally be at ease about being an 'Englishman in New York', a tune that he transformed in concert from a search of the dark side of alienation to one of adventure by brightening up the complex rhythms of the song. His whole show was a tapestry of musical influences, most notably jazz, world music and even a little funk. Rock permeates mainly on his Police-era songs, though he skipped most of the Police's biggest-charting songs such as 'Walking on the Moon' and 'Message in a Bottle'. Still, there was no shortage of crowd-pleasers with tunes such as 'Roxanne' and 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You' bringing the fans to their feet.

Sting brought up a fairly nervous audience member to help him sing 'I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying', but the core of his backing came from Dominic Miller on guitar, Kenny Kirkland on keyboards and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. The two-hour show opened with the sparse 'The Hounds of Winter' and closed with not a rocking hit but the lesser-known and soft-spoken Fragile'.

(c) The Hollywood Reporter by Jeffrey Jolson-Colburn

Sting is in command now...

After many solo treks across the country, Sting has found a comfort factor in his live show that allows him to have fun while giving the crowd what they paid for - songs about life, love, heartache and loss. In a nutshell, Sting knows all about the sentiment of his current hit, 'Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot'.

Sting spent the first of four nights at the Greek celebrating his fourth wedding anniversary, as the audience celebrated by warmly receiving new material and singing along to solo hits and numbers from the bassist's days with the Police.

The dynamics of the show were superb. Dressed in black, Sting began the 90-minute show highlighting, in order, four songs from his new disc, 'Mercury Falling'. 'The Hounds of Winter' and 'I Hung My Head' put the faithful in the mood for 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free', 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' and 'Roxanne'.

Sting is in command now, more so than in earlier solo shows, and as he presents his wide spectrum of work, he does so with an ease that the audience can easily embrace. Sting asked a member of the audience, ''divorced Brian from Santa Monica,'' to join him for a very fitting rendition of 'I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying', a breath of comic fresh air.

Longtime Sting associates jazzman Kenny Kirkland on keyboards, guitarist Dominic Miller and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta allow their leader to pilot a melange of styles and moods, while he plays bass with his own frugality and verve. Butch Thomas' trombone solos were a standout, and Clark Gayton's sax added the much needed horn support. Backing vocalists would have given the evening a bolstered sound.

(c) Daily Variety by Barry Krutchik

Sting inspires new faith - even in a nonbeliever...

Some mysteries in life are simply not meant to be understood by the human mind. How did the pyramids get there? If the universe goes on forever, why is it so hard to find a good parking spot? What possessed Sting to perform onstage wearing a lovely navy blue dress while his band performed a rap version of ''The Ballad of Jed Clampett''?

No, it's not the punchline to some weird Sting joke. It happened.

With a concert that was fun, funny and the best live work Sting has done in years, he opened his four-night stand at the Greek Theatre on Tuesday with a marvelous, relaxed and confident 90-minute set. As a longstanding, card-carrying non-Sting fan, I hereby eat my harsh words of years past. There are tickets available for his Aug. 30 Irvine Meadows show. Buy them. The show was a revelation.

After Sting tours that were pretentious, arrogant and overblown, it was easy to expect more of the same. But this is a show that suddenly made sense of Sting; you were able to finally reconcile the onstage performer with the worthy causes and concerns he's taken up over the years. It was a warm, engaging show, performed on his fourth wedding anniversary, with his wife and the little Sting brood in the audience. And though he left out much of his best work - most of the 'Soul Cages' album, most of his Police catalog - Sting clearly knows where his strengths lie.

New material such as the touching 'I'm So Happy That I Can't Stop Crying' and the recent 'Fields of Gold' came off beautifully in the mellow first half of the show. That done, the band roared through a brilliant 'Synchronicity II' with guitarist Dominic Miller showing he's Andy Summers' equal. Miller's reworking of some of the final verses brought a new dimension to the song. 'Roxanne' was reworked with a trumpet solo, 'When the World is Running Down...' got both the Police and Sting solo treatment melded into one, and 'Demolition Man' was properly apocalyptic.

'Set Them Free', 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic' and 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You' were well-placed ringers; the latter's comparison of politicians to game-show hosts was particularly timely. The generous inclusion of 'Every Breath You Take' in the encores was just a bonus. It seemed once he'd never do better than that peak; clearly he's moved far beyond it.

(c) The Orange County Register by Mark Brown

An unrelenting Sting: former Police-man has sold out audience under his control all night...

In a shroud of purple, which quickly gave way to bright bursts of a black and blue backdrop, Sting casually strolled onstage at the Greek Theatre Tuesday night. Before he even started, he received a standing ovation. And why not?

With Sting, what's not to love? Outfitted in a swank black, baggy waistcoat, Sting jumped into cuts from his current CD, 'Mercury Falling'. He shot into 'The Hounds of Winter' with the usual Sting spirit. To see and hear him caress the bold tones of even his average songs is proof that he still packs more wallop than most others' best material.

Sting was only two songs in when he received the obligatory audience shouts of ''I love you.'' To go with the shouts came a bouquet of flowers. ''Only two numbers and I get some flowers,'' quipped a smiling Sting.

After the second encore, they could have tossed him an entire florist's shop. Early on, Sting concentrated on much of his new material. Through some of his quiet renditions, multiple corkscrew designs backdropped the man from Newcastle. Light reflected off Sting's microphone and guitar to form a magical, mystical spiral effect. It appeared as if Sting were an angel with a glowing halo.

Despite the energy generated by Sting, there was a curious dichotomy that appeared to split the sold-out crowd. Half the crowd stood on their feet, dancing, jumping. The other half looked as if they were in need of some electric shock therapy. Sting got the dead to rise with an old favourite, 'Every Little Thing'. Maybe because it was his fourth wedding anniversary, but Sting shifted into a different gear for the second half, or as Sting called it - ''the part that I look forward to.''

Sting wasn't the only one enjoying the show. He pulled a guy out of the audience who had been lip synching all night. The guy held his own as he and Sting combined for an interesting version of the country western-flavoured 'I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying'. Too bad the guy couldn't sing a lick. But Sting more than made up for him.

Sting, with ample support from the nimble fingers of keyboardist Kenny Kirkland and the fiery range of bassist/guitarist Dominic Miller, led the crowd on an epic journey. A hush covered the Greek with Sting's soulful rendition of 'Fields of Gold', but then a potpourri of classic Police selections and old Sting material was presented, including 'Roxanne' and, surprisingly, 'Demolition Man'.

After the lackadaisical start, the crowd generated some lively energy. Sting even borrowed a Beatles line. He summed up the show with ''You're such a lovely audience, I'd love to take you home with me.''

Sting has the uncanny ability to subtly control an audience. The crowd seemed to like being controlled.

(c) The Press Telegram by Keith Rockmael