Friday, March 3, 2017

Concert Review: Sting with Joe Sumner and the Last Bandoleros at Myth in Maplewood

Ad for Sting's 57th and 9th tour, 2017.
Sting on stage at Myth in Maplewood, Minnesota, March 2, 2017. (Photo by the Star Tribune.)

Last night I had the special chance to see Sting, rock and roll superstar, at Myth, a small club in Maplewood, a suburb of Saint Paul. I went to the show with my Mom, and it was fantastic. I had seen Sting once before, on the Police reunion tour back in 2007, but to see him in a small venue was a very different experience. 

Sting opened the show solo by singing “Heading South on the Great North Road,” from his most recent album, “57th and 9th.” He then turned things over to his son, Joe Sumner, who sang a few songs. Joe sounds a lot like his dad-they have the same high, keening voice. Joe then turned things over to the Last Bandoleros, a San Antonio-based group that performed catchy, poppy songs. I enjoyed the Last Bandoleros, they bring a lot of energy on stage, and they were fun to watch. They’ve only released one EP, so it will be interesting to see where their career goes from here.

Sting performed a lot of songs from “57th and 9th,” but his lengthy back catalogue was also well represented, going all the way back to “Outlandos d’Amour,” the Police’s debut album from 1978. Sting’s voice sounded great, and he’s still able to use his falsetto to great effect on songs like “Roxanne,” and “So Lonely.” 

Sting was in an expansive mood last night, as he told several stories about the songs he was singing. After “Message in a Bottle,” which turned into an enthusiastic audience sing-along, Sting recalled playing the song to his cat after he wrote it, and the cat didn’t seem too impressed by it. He then said how amazing it is that everyone knows the words to that song, even though it’s almost forty years old. He said, “I don’t take that for granted, I really appreciate it.” 

For me the highlights of the show were the beautiful “Fields of Gold,” and the Police oldies at the end of the set, “Message in a Bottle,” “Walking on the Moon,” “So Lonely,” “Roxanne,” which merged into a cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Next to You,” and the inevitable “Every Breath You Take.” Sting’s solo catalogue has covered as many genres as Elvis Costello’s, but there’s something about the rush of energy of those Police songs that remains unique in Sting’s career. Maybe it was just the energy and passion of youth. But that isn’t to say that his later work isn’t good, because it is. “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You,” from “57th and 9th,” hearkens back to the sound of the Police. 

Another highlight was the closing song, “The Empty Chair,” which Sting just performed at the Oscars on Sunday night. It was a beautiful and moving ending to a very memorable night. 

Set list:
Heading South on the Great North Road
Synchronicity II
Spirits in the Material World
Englishman in New York
She’s Too Good for Me
I Can’t Stop Thinking About You
One Fine Day
I Hung My Head
Fields of Gold
Down, Down, Down
Petrol Head
Shape of My Heart
Pretty Young Solider
Message in a Bottle
Ashes to Ashes-sung by Joe Sumner
Walking on the Moon
So Lonely
Desert Rose
Roxanne/Ain’t No Sunshine
Next to You
Every Breath You Take
The Empty Chair

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