Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Vancouver, British Columbia
December 8, 2011
Photo by Paul Fitzgerald
I read about this tour and I instantly had a certain expectation for it. All my expectations were just too tame because I was blown away with the show. Sting performed songs he wrote as a solo artist and those with the iconic band The Police, but a big surprise were the songs he also wrote which were covered by artists like Johnny Cash and Toby Keith.
The Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver was sold out for the first of three shows. He made the atmosphere of the theatre very relaxed and used some mood enhancing sounds that made me feel as though I was floating on a cloud. On the centre stage was an ornate hand-carved table with two glasses of water. Everyone was anticipating an event, but no one can ever totally prepare themselves for what could potentially be the live performance of the year.
Sting was magnificent, and so were his accompanying band members. The show was in white light masterly positioned in all sizes to enhance the performers and the music they played. Very clever and also very simple. It displayed how Sting, or the music of Gordon Sumner, has matured over the last 4 decades.
The show started with All This Time, a great song to get everyone’s attention. With the fantastic guitar father and son team of Dominic and Rufus Miller, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Jo Lawry on vocals, tambourine and violin, and Peter Tickell on an amazing electric fiddle, this was a real cool band. Peter Tickell, Dominic and Rufus Miller also did backing vocals. Jo Lawry’s voice complimented Sting’s perfectly. They harmonized and Jo had some spectacular singing solos and duets with Sting – what an amazing set of pipes.
Sting’s signature style of reggae, soul, sometimes rock and sometimes soul moving music showcased his creations – Sting’s music, which he wrote and arranged, was a mere sampler of the volumes of records and CDs of four decades. Sting also just celebrated his 60th birthday on Oct. 2. Happy Belated Birthday!
This night was a show of twenty-two of his iconic hit’s and his favourites – all live and in an amazing intimate show. Between songs, Sting explained how he was inspired to write some of the music and lyrics. Every song told a story.
The hits performed were All this Time, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic (my favourite), Seven Days, Demolition Man, I Hung My Head, (covered by Johnny Cash), I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying, (covered by Toby Keith), Stolen Car, Driven to Tears, Fortress Around Your Heart, Fields of Gold, Sacred Love, Ghost Story, Heavy Cloud, Inside, Love Is Stronger Than Justice, Hounds of Winter, End of the Game, Never Coming Home and the encores Desert Rose, Every Breath You Take and Next To You. And as a special extra, Sting came back and performed a solo version of The Police classic Message In A Bottle with an acoustic guitar. It was an amazing finish to an amazing show.
Sound engineer Howard Page had an amazing acoustic venue to show Sting, and he did a fabulous job. Thank you, Mr. Page, for the sound and the set list. To all the great people at the show who shared their experiences with me: Thank you. Brenda, who in front row centre, was having her 80th Birthday, and at her 20th Sting performance, her friend Carol from Bowen Island who said I could quote her, “I’m 55 and I want to have Sting’s baby." To the lady with the red dress right of the stage, I’m sure Sting saw you too. To the staff at the QE and crew with Sting, thank you for a totally awesome show and memorable experience.
Another amazing show!