Sting performed a two-hour hits-filled set for a capacity crowd Saturday night in Boston.
Sting has great affection for the city of Boston and its music fans. The Police’s U.S. success really started here, with early 1978 gigs at the long-gone and much missed Rat and the support shown by the DJs at WBCN and other rock-and-roll stations.
Saturday night, at a chilly Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, Sting heated up a capacity crowd with a sizzling two-hour show that touched on all stages of his career. And the love was evident, from both the audience and Sir Gordon Sumner himself.
Fans who arrived early were shocked when, at 8 p.m., Sting himself strolled on stage, picked up a guitar and started stinging “Heading South on the Great North Road” from his most recent album, “57th & 9th.” He was soon joined by his sound-alike singer-songwriter son Joe Sumner, who took over for dear old dad with a strong, short opening set.
Texas-based The Last Bandoleros accompanied Joe Sumner on his final tune, then stayed on stage for a rollicking Tex-Mex flavored segment that merged British Invasion-like harmonies with Los Lobos/Mavericks/Sir Douglas Quintet intensity. Terrific!
Joe and the Bandoleros backed Sting throughout his 25-song set. He was also accompanied by powerhouse drummer Josh Freese and longtime guitarist Dominic Miller and his guitarist son Rufus Miller, continuing the family atmosphere. Bandoleros button-accordionist Percy Cardona added pizzazz to many songs.
Sting’s set was filled with hits. He started strongly with “Synchronicity II” and “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You.” The line “Our so-called leaders speak” in “Spirits in the Material World” drew cheers.
The crowd roared the “whoa-oh” chorus to “Englishman in New York,” which featured expert bass playing by Sting, and added backing vocals to nearly every tune.
Slower, gentler post-Police selections “Fields of Gold” and “Shape of My Heart” hit the mark. But it was the music of his former trio that connected most forcefully. “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” evolved into a glorious sing-along. “Message in a Bottle,” steered by Freese’s drumming, perfectly expanded on the Police ska-reggae template. Three tunes from the 1978 debut album “Outlandos d’Amour” wowed: Punkish “So Lonely” and “Next to You” zipped along at blazing speed, as did “Roxanne,” which found Sting taking a detour into a soulful interlude of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” before exploding into a fast-paced, furious finish of “Roxanne”’s final chorus.
“Desert Rose” was a knockout, thanks to an intoxicating Middle Eastern vibe, accordion and punchy percussion.
The night ended with a heartfelt reading of “Fragile,” which Sting dedicated to the city of Houston and its resourceful residents.
Sting will turn 66 next month, and it’s conceivable the former Police frontman’s touring days are winding down. He’s been on the road pretty consistently since 2011 – not quite Bob Dylan’s Neverending Tour but impressive nonetheless.
He appears to be the picture of health, so let’s hope there are a few more Beantown shows in his future. He remains a vibrant musical force.
(c) ItemLive.com by Bill Brotherton