There aren’t many appropriate words to describe the greatness Sting’s influence on music, whether it’s his songs themselves or the known influences he draws from all corners of the world, notably classical renaissance and Jamaican reggae. What made this recent tour of his so special was Gordon Sumner bringing his son, Joe, along as a support act, and what better way to experience this at it’s fullest than joining my own father who’s been impacted by Sting’s music as early as the Police days.
Joe Sumner beautifully demonstrated his own musical prowess through a heartfelt track list of original, folky, acoustic numbers clearly demonstrating his authentic love and pursuit of his artwork. His opening tune, Looking For Me Looking For You, was a standout in itself for me personally being a lover of certain musical elements with the way Joe doubled up his vocals with a guitar lick. Other stand outs included Jellybean, a very personal soliloquy, almost nursery rhyme dedicated to his children, and Hope, joined by Paul Dempsey that provided a powerful finale to this supporting act. Joe Sumner’s authenticity as an artist and mind-blowing high vocals was in itself a treat to witness, an performance that would undoubtedly make his father proud
You know when you see someone so legendary up close long enough that you start doubting your own present reality? This is honestly a feeling I can’t describe better as Gordon Sumner himself, along with his remarkable band, entered the arena opening the set with none other than the famous letter on solitude, Message in a Bottle. This was followed closely by other iconic Police tracks like Englishmen in New York and the up-tempo wholesome love letter that is Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic. It was a struggle to find any member audience, mixed with both old and young fans alike, dancing on their feet and belting every word, including myself proudly. This was all before Sting acknowledged and thanked the fans for their lyrical cooperation, and then almost apologetically expressed a humorous, exaggerated disdain for the amount of new/solo material he would be performing for a large portion of the night.
There was nothing to even jokingly apologise for however, for Sting had demonstrated a magical setlist filled with heavy influences such as classical, R n B gospel, reggae sounds from the many artistic streets of Jamaica, and even the instantly recognisable licks and musical language of Arabic impact. Amongst this artistry, Gordon’s vocals never wavered, and this was only beautifully accompanied by the highly energetic and sensational backing vocalists, whose spirit/image never failed to plaster my face with a grin as their enjoyment of the night were never disguised. Sting also had the entirety of Rod Laver Arena wrapped around his finger between songs as his humour and level of storytelling is unmatched. The story telling impacted me most as he described his home which surrounded itself with barely fields, perfectly setting up the plaintive thirst of Fields of Gold, in which its nostalgia alone set off every emotion in my body and soul.
Right before Sting concluded his two-hour magical recital with remaining Police hits, an almost orchestral performance of What Could of Been, joined by an emotional but breathtaking montage of scenes from the hit animated show Arcane in which the track is featured on it’s OST. The energy picked up afterwards however as the iconic keys-doubled Bassline of Walking On The Moon echoed through the venue, later on followed with Stings’s son, Joe Sumner, once again joining the ensemble on stage for King Of Pain, and the strangely beautiful but haunting Every Breath You Take.
Encores have not yet exited large shows like this, and annoyingly exciting as they are, for Sting and his band only made the wait short before re-entering the stage. Sting once again let his humour run wild as he teased us fans by jokingly forgetting one last chart-topping Police number, humorously complaining about his straining vocals as every one of us screamed ROXANNE, before finally the guitarist broke the tension performing the iconic introductory reggae skanks of the legendary tune. This song did not conclude the night however, as Sting sat on a stool with an acoustic six string and wanted to formerly conclude the night with a beautiful, heartfelt rendition of Fragile dedicated to harrowing disasters currently happening over in Ukraine, Russia and Turkey, giving a voice to families or individuals who is left to do nothing but Endure and Survive through such horrific events. Another tear jerker that concluded such a breathtaking and unforgettable night that will continue to flood my soul with joy months after its performance.