October 26, 2011
Photos: Steve Trager
There is no better way to see a great solo artist like Sting celebrate his momentous musical journey through stellar songs right here in Philly with a grand performance at the great Tower Theater. As a solo artist, Sting has collectively sold millions of records, earned a tapestry wall of endless Grammy’s – all of which makes any solo artist a true classic without even touching the surface of his talent fronting that little known band The Police (humor intended).
It was a great pleasure to be front and center as Sting opened a two night sellout and performed some of his greatest collection of solo material, along with a hand picked variety of classic Police songs to round out his set.
The show began shortly after 8pm with no opening act and Sting certainly wasted no time generating that jazzy style vibe from many of his solo works within just a few songs under the first hour. The sound, as always at the Tower Theater, is nothing short of great as the acoustics bounce around the venue with the perfect combination of reverb and depth. The stage production was rather simple, with just a black backdrop along with white gelled lights gleaming over the stage – giving an intimate club atmosphere.
As expected, we heard the hits that put Sting's solo career on the map, but we also settled for key songs from various catalogs that also included material from Soul Cages. Like minded fans who packed the Tower hoping to hear a more like ‘greatest hits’ type of show, got a more grand solo show with key moments of Sting introducing songs that reflect his personal experiences through music.
I was slightly disappointed not hearing “Roxanne” or “Free” among the 18 song set during the first night in Philly, although we did get to hear “Fortress“, “Fields of Gold“, and “All This Time" rounding out the set list. It is great to hear all the popular songs, but sometimes you need to adapt yourself in hearing the lesser known songs a solo artist has to offer during a show. And this Sting show wouldn’t be complete without his old beat up paint worn classic Fender Bass guitar. It seems like he has played that guitar for decades with the sound generating right down to the bare wire.
We have to be lucky in some form or fashion here with many artists still acknowledging vintage places much like Grendel’s Lair (where The Police first performed in 1978) which Sting did mention during the course of the show. Even with only four Police songs in the show, Sting still manages to truly rock out with some great ones like “Demolition Man “, “Driven To Tears “, and “Next to You." But he will never leave out the rock anthems of “Every Breath You Take" and his ultimate solo hit “Desert Rose“ (which was a standing ovation).
This was the best show I have seen in years from Sting – he doesn’t come around often and when he does you truly get your concert dollars worth.
Sting Set List:
All This Time
I’m So Happy
Hung My Hand
Driven To Tears
Fields of Gold
Love is Stranger
Hounds of Winter
End of The Game
Never Coming Home
Every Breath You Take
Next To You