Paul Simon and Sting enthrall a capacity crowd Wednesday night at KeyArena...

February 20, 2014

The improbable pairing of two baby-boomer icons - Paul Simon and Sting - enthralled a capacity crowd at KeyArena Wednesday in what Simon affectionately called "our little experiment."

Blending their respective bands and repertoires into a powerful evening of rock 'n' roll infused with world rhythms, Simon and Sting took turns performing separate sets as well as stirring duets of each other's most beloved songs.

The two friends, neighbors and fellow New Yorkers - who launched their "On Stage Together" tour earlier this month in Texas - expressed a deep admiration for each other that began years ago, when Simon was performing with Art Garfunkel in the folk duo Simon and Garfunkel and Sting with The Police. Separated in age by 10 years - Simon is 72, Sting 62 - the two rock stars proved they have much in common.

"To play with Sting - and Sting's band - it's a happy combination," Simon said.

Concertgoers got the best of both worlds, enjoying such Simon hits as "The Boy in the Bubble" and "Mother and Child Reunion" and the Sting/Police classics "Message in a Bottle" and "Roxanne." The show included more than 30 songs.

The predominantly middle-aged crowd was animated, jumping to its feet for the evening's first singalong - Sting's "Englishman in New York." On the main floor, ushers were busy keeping people out of the aisles, while alcohol-enforcement personnel in bright-red shirts searched for concertgoers gone wild.

Backing Simon and Sting was a talented musical entourage capable of managing the complex arrangements of more than two dozen songs. Instruments included guitar, bass, keyboards, French horn, cello, harmonica, accordion, trumpet, saxophones and washboard.

The tall, handsome Sting (playing electric bass) and his diminutive touring partner, Simon (on a variety of guitars), opened with "Brand New Day," "The Boy in the Bubble" and "Fields of Gold" (famously covered by Eva Cassidy).

Sting began his own multi-song set with the soaring 1981 Police song "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic." Simon's buoyant "Graceland" and boisterous "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" brought standing ovations.

The pair's beautiful duet on "Fragile" was followed by Sting on Simon and Garfunkel's "America," as well as impressive versions of Police classics "Message in a Bottle" and "Roxanne."

The two musicians complemented each other beautifully on "Boxer," from Simon and Garfunkel's breakthrough 1970 album "Bridge Over Troubled Waters."

In the evening's only medley, Simon performed "Hearts and Bones," as well as Jr. Parker's "Mystery Train" and Chet Atkins' "Wheels." He also offered "The Obvious Child," "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" and a rocking "You Can Call Me Al."

Encores featured both singers on "Late in the Evening," "Every Breath You Take" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

The two stars returned for the Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved," a tender tribute to Phil Everly, who died last month at 74.

It was the final song in an extraordinary concert. The "experiment" Simon had referred to at the beginning was clearly a success.

(c) The Seattle Times by Gene Stout

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Feb 19, 2014

Sting: The Last Ship will air on Thirteen's "Great Performances," Friday, February 21 at 9PM/ET on PBS in the US (check local listings) and features the 16-time Grammy Award-winning musician performing songs from his new album, The Last Ship, and forthcoming play of the same name in an intimate evening of music and storytelling live at The Public Theater in New York City. The program offers unique insight into the creative process behind Sting’s latest album and his new musical, premiering June 2014 in Chicago before its debut on Broadway in the fall. Drawing upon his childhood memories growing up in the shipbuilding community of Wallsend in the North East of England, Sting provides a glimpse into the narrative of the play through the songs on the new album, inspired by the story of "The Last Ship."

Feb 17, 2014
As the lights dropped in the SAP Center, a sudden and powerful applause erupted in the near-maximum capacity building in anticipation of witnessing two rock music legends: Paul Simon and Sting. "Paul and I share a lot of musical curiosity about a spectrum of music that's pretty wide, and as vehicles for songwriting. So we have lot in common," Sting said in an interview earlier this month with Billboard magazine in regard to touring with his New York neighbor, Paul Simon...