February 20, 2017
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, TX USA
Review by Justin Press
Photos by Joseph De Leon
Sting The Punk
The English Pop Poet Reaches Back To His Beginnings To Deliver A Fiery Performance!
Gordon Sumner aka Sting pulled a bit of a fast one on a capacity crowd Monday night, at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, as he threw off the chains of pretense that had seemed to hound his concerts years prior by scaling back and delivering a performance rippling with energy, nuance and some re-vision of some old Police gems.
Supporting his latest effort 57th & 9th LP, which like the city streets it imagines if rife with certain energy only found within the concrete and steam. However with a wealth of solo hits (most of which we absent this evening) he opened the show with The Police's "Synchronicity II" and "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" so immediately you were reeled in. His band now anchored by drummer extraordinaire Josh Freeze and longtime guitarist Dominic Miller treated "She's Too Good For Me" with a bit of reggae flair and with a show as loose as what Sting is committing too currently, the opening band, The Last Bandoleros, along with his son, Joe Sumner, served as back-up singers and instrumentalists. Gone were the brass sections, multi-layered keys and myriad of vocalists and in its place a very revitalized Sting playing with apparent joy and not a chip on his shoulder.
Sting, now 65, is in fighting form as years of yoga have paid off splendidly giving him an extensive energy for 2+ hours and his voice, as always was spot on. As stated, this show leaned heavily on his latest release and a grab bag of Police classics as well as a beautiful rendition of David Bowie's "Ashes To Ashes". "Englishman In New York" and "Shape Of My Heart" were only two of what would be a Sting catalog lite show, nonetheless those skips were easily forgotten when he broke into the slinky bass opening of "Walking On The Moon", where drummer Freeze (who's style is damn near Stu Copeland-esque) was in his best 1982 Police impersonation, a stick taps and quick jolts to his hit-hat. Of course what Sting show would be replete without "Message In A Bottle" with its iconic opening riffs and skittish interplay. But for longtime Police fans it was the inclusion of "So Lonely" that really set them flying once again showing that Sting was purposefully being more loose and willing to stretch his legs a bit more to revisit those 3-chord punk gems (a furious "Next To You" was also delivered), but trying to escaping "So Lonely"' and its mix of ska, funk and punk is near impossible and though it wasn't the Mudd Club, you could sense that Sting still keeps his inner punk right at the surface when it serves his needs.
"Roxanne" has become that track that you never need to hear again that is until you hear it again because it really is a brilliant piece of street music right up there with Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side" while "Every Breath You Take" is inescapable. It made the band (The Police) a million but also brought them to their knees because where do you go after the song that defined 1984/85 and beyond? Once you reach the summit, better to leap to your demise than have to walk back down.
65 years of age and still able to willing to take risks and still fill every seat in the house, it's easy to say that the English poet with his worn thin Fender bass still have many miles left in the tank, and there's still that "reunion" to ponder.