When Puff Daddy and Faith Evans released their heart-wrenching tribute to murdered rapper The Notorious B.I.G., in the form of a cover of Sting’s hit ‘Every Breath’, they introduced my generation to a rock legend.
That was back in 1997. Sting’s music entered my life again during my uni days when my friends and I would pile into the nearest Walkabout bar and listen to live bands cover his plethora of hits. Though we’d pretend we were there for the cheep booze, there’s no denying that we loved rocking out to his tunes ‘Roxanne’, ‘Message’ and ‘So Lonely’ – probably a bit more than a group of millenial 19 year olds should admit to.
Finally, last night I got to see him perform live and my love for Sting and his songs is now official.
Fans packed into the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith on Sunday night to witness the living icon take to the stage as part of his ’57th & 9th’ tour and Sting delivered a pop-rock-reggae extravaganza that thrilled his loyal fans and transported them back to his days in the Police.
The star looked ageless and impeccably fit as he stormed through a 22-song marathon on the bass and reminded us exactly why he is one of the most covered artists on shows like ‘The X Factor’ – albeit to his dismay.
Unlike the many talent show hopefuls that borrow his songs in a bid for stardom, when Sting sang his emotional track, ‘Fields of Gold’, he refused to let it be a sombre affair. Instead, he sped up the familiar tear-jerker and flanked it with rock numbers ‘Hung My Head’ and Down Down Down’.
Later, he introduced us to his son Joe Sumner, who performed David Bowie’s ‘Ashes to Ashes’. The pair swapped positions again to allow Sting to continue the medley with his own track ‘50,000’ – an upbeat song that was written last year and inspired by the death of his pal and Prince.
Another highlight of the evening was obviously hearing ‘Roxanne’ live, and we cordially sipped our red wines every time he said the lady of the night’s name.
Afterwards, my plus one regaled me with a nostalgic tale of when she saw Justice deejay at clubbing hotspot Fabric and he blasted Sting’s hit ‘Roxanne’ to a thousand ravers who were “spinning off their heads at 3am”.
It was a surreal moment that she will never forget and proof that Sting’s music transcends genres, musical tastes and ages.
Sting was joined at Eventim Apollo by a three-piece band that included his longtime guitarist, Dominic Miller, plus Josh Freese (drums) and Rufus Miller (guitar). Special guests included singer/songwriter Joe Sumner as well as San Antonio-based Tex Mex band, The Last Bandoleros.
His album, ’57th & 9th’ , is out now on Polydor Records’.