Walking into the K-Rock Centre on Tuesday night was like entering a time warp.
Crowds of middle-aged couples came to see celebrated musician Sting, stopping first to collect their wristbands and then rushing anxiously, yet composedly, to their seats as if they were late for church.
The Back to Bass tour follows the release of two compilation albums, 25 Years and The Best of 25 Years, celebrating Sting’s 25-year-long solo run.
Gordon Sumner lived up to status as 80s English music god Sting — but the crowd was subpar, and the singer knew it throughout his performance.
The 61-year-old singer sported a plain blue t-shirt, black skinny jeans and black boots. He had the body of a high school track star, and his vocal performance reflected it.
The set wasn’t made to impress — there were no fancy lights or any other visual accompaniment — only the band to compliment Sumner’s vocal perfection with their own soulful brilliance.
Sitting in a corner booth with a bird’s eye view, at least three quarters of the audience didn’t get up from their seats during the first half of the show.
Three times the singer went out of his way to engage the crowd, chatting about his house, and even blowing snot into a cloth and laughing about it.
Beginning with “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You”, “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and “An Englishman in New York”, Sting’s performance mirrored the crowd’s seemingly awed, yet stifled behaviour. It was routine.
That all changed toward the second half, when, after a few calls for engagement from the audience, Sumner fired up his act and let his musical zest shine.
The singer admitted he “doesn’t even know how many times he’s played” his hit “Roxanne”, which he performed closer to the end of the concert
Nearing the end, Sumner relinquished the spotlight to his fellow musicians, giving them each a chance to display their unique talents in solo performances. Back-up vocalist Jo Lawry’s solo stood out — her piercing vocal talent in combination with a misty white spotlight created a hauntingly beautiful performance.
At the show, Sumner performed 21 songs, ending with “Every Breath You Take” and “Fragile.”
But the show wasn’t just about Sting — it was a cooperative gig. In my opinion, that was the best part.
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