Sting at the Fabulous Fox Theater, St Louis, June 5, 2012
On June 5, 2012, Sting visited the Fabulous Fox Theater in St. Louis, MO on the ‘Back To Bass’ Tour. The show started with a single spotlight on Sting, performing the early ’90s era hit “All This Time”. The gradual introduction of stage lighting revealed the other key players: Dominic Miller on guitar (who has played on every Sting solo album since 1990), David Sancious on keyboard (an early member of Springsteen’s E Street Band), Vinnie Colaiuta on drums (played on multiple Sting releases and tours; was principal drummer for Frank Zappa), and Peter Tickell (Newcastle based multi-instrumentalist, joined forces with Sting in 2009, plays electric fiddle, mandolin) and the beautiful Jo Lawry on backing vocals.
Next, “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”, the upbeat ’80s anthem of the lovelorn, prompted dancing from the crowd a la the song’s music video, with some of the fans actually wearing the same style of hat that Sting sported in the iconic video.
“Englishman In New York” followed, and Sting prompted the crowd to join in the refrain, “Be yourself, no matter what they say”. The song “Seven Days” from Ten Summoner’s Tales followed.
The pendulum of the show’s pace swung high as “Demolition Man” was performed, a song in which Dominic Miller’s guitar skills were in the forefront (This song was further popularized in recent times as a featured song in the Guitar Hero World Tour video game, where Sting is a playable character.)
After the crowd got rocking, the set pace slowed again, this time settling into songs from Sting’s “country” era, with “I Hung My Head” and “I’m So Happy, I Can’t Stop Crying”.
Picking up the pace again, Dominic Miller led the way into the Police classic, “Driven To Tears”, with flying fingers that all but burnt the frets with ferocity, branding his unique signature style into this rendition. Toward song’s end, Peter Tickell took the spotlight with an amazing electric fiddle solo that I feared might summon Charlie Daniel’s devil for a grand duel. The crowd clapped in astounded approval at this young talent. The familiar Zenyatta Mondatta song had been driven to new heights. While this was not necessarily a favorite Police song for me, it became a highlight of the show.
Next up was, “If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free”, which showcased the strong backup vocals of blond-bombshell songstress Jo Lawry.
Sting took a moment to speak of his well known castle/home near Stonehenge, and cited a particular day when he looked out upon a golden barley field rippling in the breeze, and he thought, “There’s a song in there somewhere”. Cue “Fields Of Gold”, with it’s gentle, evocative lyrics about aging love. Sting’s voice that evening sounded as if it were pulled from a perfectly mastered recording. The “Is it live or is it Memorex?” adage applied.
Next, Sting spoke of his two favorite subjects…”sex and religion”, and his explanation that, while the two concepts are kept distinctly separate in our culture, he saw them as inherently interrelated, with the shared pleasure and life-creating powers of sex being seen as a sort of “sacrament” or fundamentally religious experience. I couldn’t help but notice how silent and even fidgety the crowd fell as “Sacred Love”, the song based on his view of this “sacrament”, was performed. Had he blasphemed? Was the crowd offended? Inspired? Just enjoying the song? I must admit a flash-feeling of embarrassment for St Louis as many audience members donned expressions akin to fifth graders in that special “health” class about the birdies and bees. And I wondered if the reaction to this song hung in the air as awkwardly in other cities.
Sting said, “Heavy Cloud”, and his faithful responded, “No Rain”, the title of the next song, which elicited strong crowd participation. The show progressed with mostly Sting and some Police favorites (but no “Roxanne”, arguably the root of his legacy). The encore consisted of “Desert Rose”, “King Of Pain” (strangely appropriate because there was, actually, a little black spot on the Sun that day), and of course, “Every Breath You Take”. Another encore was demanded, and The Sumner was summoned for a final song, “Next To You”.
All This Time
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Englishman In New York
I Hung My Head
I’m So Happy, I Can’t Stop Crying
Driven To Tears
If You Love Somebody
Fields Of Gold
Heavy Cloud, No Rain
If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
Love Is Stronger Than Justice
Hounds Of Winter
End Of The Game
Never Coming Home
King Of Pain
Every Breath You Take
Next To You