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A painful Sting...

Gordon, Gordon, Gordon. It is Gordon, right? Only let's face it, Sting has always been a silly name for a grown man. But what in the name of God were you thinking? Honestly, I don't even know where to begin. The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra? They're an impressive bunch, has to be said, but in helping to reinterpret the songs of one Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, they've allowed themselves to be part of one of the most hilarious music projects of the year.

Granted, it would have been fine had everyone involved clinked glasses, shook hands, and made their way home after recording the man's 10th studio album, together with his gig old band of sharply dressed violinists, cellists, percussionists, guitarists, and various other players, a 59-year-old Sting tries desperately (for nearly three hours, mind) to prove that, hey, he has still got it.

Alas, he doesn't. In fact, this is just plain embarrassing; like an entire evening spent in the company of that one friend whose pompousness is the reason everyone makes fun of him behind his back. And that's exactly what Sting has become: pretentious.

Fair enough, it's nice to engage with the crowd every now and then, but we don't need to know the ''historical context'' of every other song, Sting. Nor is it cool to howl at the sky like a wolf, shake your hips like a flamenco dancer, or pretend to be the King of Rock'nRoll for an appalling rendition of the otherwise brilliant 'Next To You'.

They're all in there for the butchering, too: 'Roxanne', 'Englishman In New York', 'Every Breath You Take', etc. Sometimes - maybe once or twice - it all pays off, and the classical twists courtesy of this superb orchestra add a nice little touch to the likes of 'I Hung My Head' and 'You Will Be My Ain True Love'. But, for the most part, this is a dreadfully boring, drawn-out affair; a scary and bloated exercise in mindless self-indulgence.

Don't get me wrong, when he's good, he's great, and seeing The Police perform live at Croke Park three years ago was a concert experience I'll never forget. But this? This is just too much. Best give fellow Police men Andy and Stewart a call, mate. Before it's too late.

© Evening Herald by Chris Wasser