Back to Bass Tour

Chicago, IL, US
Rosemont Theatre
Sting at Rosemont Theatre, IL...

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of his solo career, Sting hit the road performing and selling out dates throughout North America. With him on stage was, Dominic Miller (, Dominic's son Rufus (,  Vinnie Colaiuta on drums (, Peter Tickell on electric fiddle ( and Jo Lawry on backing vocals and fiddle (

Seated in the front row of section 110, I had a great view and upon arriving, the stage was illuminated by a lone spotlight on the main mic while attendees availed themselves to drinks at the bar and/or the merch table.

I've been to many, many concerts, but I still get very excited before shows and I sincerely hope I never lose that feeling either. I love the whole anticipation of the gig, feeling the energy that comes from the concert experience; it is a powerful feeling. Last night was certainly no exception as I arrived quite early and had some time to take in the fact that I was going to see the Rock icon, Sting for the first time. To see Sting at the Rosemont Theatre was an added bonus as it is a beautiful venue, intimate and the staff have always been helpful, and courteous. One bit that had me curious about last night's show was there is some construction going on in the immediate area, but the Rosemont police had that all under control and I did not observe any significant traffic problems before or after the show.

Suffice it to say and I never did find out why, the show did not start at 8pm as I was expecting, but started at 8:20 and was kicked off with the hit "All This Time," which is, in essence the theme of the evening and a most appropriate opener.

After introducing the very talented band members, Sting kicked in with the first of 6 Police tunes, this one being "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic." The audience, on their feet, swaying, dancing and clapping away, sharing in the moment while reliving memories of their own lives when they first fell in love with these great songs all immersed themselves in this moment.

Many, in fact most, of the songs were performed as they were originally recorded, with only slight variances, as was the case with "Seven Days" where they broke the song up with hesitations and added some great percussive accents from Vinnie Colaiuta.

It is always great to see an artist who breaks out of their main genre(s) to express themselves more effectively and while he loves Country music, he admits that he feels he cannot be completely authentic with it, with him being from England of course and the North of England to boot. Needless to say, he performed the songs "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying," "Hung my Head," and the Magnificent Seven inspired "Love is Stronger than Justice."

By the time he performed "Stolen Car (take me dancing)," the audience had finally taken their seats, only to get back up again for the Police's "Driven to Tears," riling everyone up again.

Sting discussed the backgrounds of many of the songs, adding how his first time here in Chicago was in 1978 and every time he returns, he feels at home with a sense of continuity. He described the area around his own home and how the seasons turning and family all play into this same sense of continuity that is sung about in the song "Fields of Gold." The crowd erupted at the announcement of the song and it was played wonderfully and with an added bonus, Dominic had turned over the solo in the song to his son Rufus. The crowd really loved it and I cannot think of a more appropriate song to have passed the proverbial torch on to than this one.

One thing I observed about Sting throughout the evening is his love for the music, after all the years of playing, you can still see the enjoyment he gets out of playing and being on stage, it is truly remarkable to see. There are some musicians that can get jaded with their music and/or the industry fairly early on in their careers and just go through the motions, but that is definitely not the case here with him.

One of the main highlights of the evening was 25 year young, Peter Tickell who sizzled and seared through some sharp fiddle playing during "Love is Stronger than Justice." The audience and I were all amazed as it sent electric charges through the air, bringing everyone back to their feet once again.  It is magical moments like that the people come to concerts for, the experiences of a lifetime where music moves you to a place words cannot describe.

We also were treated to some sweet vocal candy by Jo Lawry, taking a bit of the forefront in part of "Hounds of Winter" and delivering some Pink Floyd "Great Gig in the Sky" type vocals in another song. As I write the review, I am sampling more of her music on her site at: and she is definitely an artist you want to get to know more of too. Indeed, the entire band are talented musicians in their own rights and I recommend you learn more about each of them at their addresses listed above.

The range of songs performed that span Sting's career were well balanced, but unfortunately with an artist that has the amount of hits that he does, there will always be songs that couldn't be played in the time allowed. Some songs (and I can sympathize) he has probably played too many times and might want to get away from, from time to time and we can respect that too. All this time that Sting has rocked our worlds over our life time it was great to have Sting come back to Chicago to rock it one more time! You're welcome to come back any time, Sting!

(c) Chicago Music Guide by Dennis M. Kelly

Sting, pure and simple, at Rosemont Theatre...

There were no former bandmates from back in the day. No symphony orchestras. No theatrics. No distractions. It was Sting distilled.

Playing a one-night show at the Rosemont Theatre Saturday, this was the Sting, pure and simple. Dressed in a plain gray T-shirt and jeans with a single spotlight on him, Sting was back to basics, or rather "Back to Bass" in a tour designed to celebrate his 25 years as a solo artist.

He started the night with 'All This Time', accompanied by a five-piece band, including father and son guitarists Dominic and Rufus Miller and fiddler extraordinaire Peter Tickell, as well as drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and vocalist Jo Lawry.

The intimate setting of the theater added to the stripped-down atmosphere of the concert. All night long, Sting served up straightforward versions of his hits, including songs from his stint with The Police.

From the country tune 'I Hung My Head' to the bluesy 'Sacred Love', Sting paced the audience, bringing them to their feet then settling them back down again with more somber songs like 'Ghost Story', a song he wrote about his relationship with his late father.

At this point in his career (he first played Chicago in 1978), Sting is not afraid to be upstaged by a member of his band. In fact, he seems to delight in it. When 25-year-old Tickell tore into 'End of the Game', he brought the somewhat staid audience to their feet, stomping and cheering. The young virtuoso gave a performance that could very well be remembered 25 years from now.

With a house full of die-hard fans, it should be no surprise that Sting delivered three encores. Police classics like 'Every Breath You Take' and 'Next to You' were obvious show-ending crowdpleasers, but he delivered them with the raw energy he has been dishing out for more than 25 years.

(c) Chicago Daily Herald by M. Eileen Brown

Sting showcases variety, ambition at Rosemont Theatre...

Fitting for a guy prone to stuffing his songs with pretentious allusions, for much of the past decade Sting's spent more time lost in his own reflection than Narcissus. There have been Police reunions and flirtations with opera, stage productions with his wife and orchestral renditions of his hits. There was a de rigueur Christmas album and then, of course, that infamous album of lute. Is it any wonder that, just a few weeks past his 60th birthday and reportedly still in the throws of writer's block, Sting would want to hit the road with a stripped down band meant to showcase his undiminished ability to rock?

Admittedly, Sting didn't always rock at the Rosemont Theatre Saturday night, but with the help of a versatile five-piece band composed of faces old (guitarist Dominic Miller and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta) and new (including dual violin players Jo Lawrie and Peter Tickell, plus Miller's son Rufus on second guitar), he did make a convincing case for the surprising cohesion of his multifarious musical career. From Caribbean music and jazz to, increasingly, North African influences and even country, Sting's set showcased the ambition and variety of his songwriting. If the performance too often erred on the side of soft-focus restraint, both he and the band nonetheless found subtly compelling ways to engage with his back catalog.

The odd-metered 'Seven Days' swung joyfully, while 'I Hung My Head' struck a good balance between emotional power and genre-exercise formality. 'Driven to Tears' and 'Demolition Man' were each delivered as frantic grooves with plenty of room for instrumental flourishes and ad libs, the violins serving almost as an ersatz horn section, while 'Heavy Cloud No Rain' and 'Love is Stronger Than Justice' showcased the slightly lighter side of a singer whose seriousness can be stifling.

If the practiced stage patter and rote renditions of well-trod songs (including, inevitably but still effectively, 'Every Breath You Take' and a sloppy solo rendition of 'Message in a Bottle') betrayed a comfort-zone mindset, Sting's surging confidence in his own abilities allowed him to orchestrate and pace the various peaks and valleys of the night as much like a conductor as like the slick, consummate slick bandleader he remains.

(c) The Chicago Tribune by Joshua Klein
posted by emma
A wonderful night!
The twists that most of the songs received could be well seen as a refreshing and modern rebirth of his old songs. Only if we could imagine adding this to his wonderful disposition, one can easily comprehend the pleasant and relaxed and yet energized atmosphere that obviously emerged from it. He successfully took us along throughout one more chapter of his life. But just like always everything went by so fast. Best if we could just catch and truly enjoy each and every opportunity that life has to offer.
posted by wstanislaw
Sting - in divine action
We had the rare privilege of being just about 'on the stage' for this show (VIP tickets were in the first 15 rows) for which we didn't know when we arrived where that would be. Once we recv'd the tickets upon early arrival, we were pleasantly surprised with 'Row 2, seats 3 & 4' - and the greater thrill yet-was that Row 1, was about 8 seats dead center (all of which had some monitors in front upstage), so Row 2, curved/arced around to join Row 1 with 4 seats on each side-actually joining Row 1. That said, IT ROCKED!!!!! Sting had on a 'Purple' labyrinth shirt to be exact, btw, Eileen Brown, (giggle), and it was the most awesome musical experience yet. His tone quality-in delivery, breathe, coloring, spirit and essence were served up so deliciously passionately and quality driven, it looked like they were having the time of their life up there. Dominic on guitar, you just can't get a better clarity of sound and the fiddler, Peter, really rocked the house on a few solos. All of them, delivered impeccably. Quite an eclectic song list too. Simply pure elegance and joy and a privilege to witness such pure magic and mastery of music....what a vantage point nothing was missed here!
posted by hon68261
It's so deep, It's so wide
I can't begin to describe the experience I had without being overwhelmed. I can't get enough of these "Broken Music" type tours where most of the usual array of hits are passed for B-sides that a true rabid Sting fan loves. Give me more "Never Coming Home, "Ghost Story," "Heavy Cloud." I enjoy the way he and band mates keep reinventing songs with new instrumental solos. Tickell was F#@^ing phenomenal and Rufus played Fields of Gold "pretty for us." I was front row right and felt as if it were a pilgrimage of sorts. I made eye-contact at least once with all of the performers...I can die now as I gave Dominic Miller a copy of a true story I had when I was on call once. I think he thought I was nutz. Maybe a little. I hope he read it and passed it on. Pretty profound. Don't go away Sting and band. Keep playing. Your music means so much to all of us. Ain't nothin' like live music that feeds your soul. P.S. The kids (Rufus & Peter) are alright
posted by RoxanaArya
Rosemont performance
He had a lot of raw energy! I was bummed he did not sing "Roxanne" given that was how I first got into Sting, people used to sing that song to me all the time! Things got a little weird when he was telling the fox story and the story about the guy that stole a car and how the guy in the song is imagining the life of the guy he stole the car from, a bit eccentric but he can get away with it, the best was his "Message in the bottle" performance, showed his true raw talent!
posted by RoxanaArya
Pros and Cons of Rosemont performance
I think Sting is an incredibly talented musician. As far as his performance last night, he had a lot of energy and looked great! I can appreciate that he liked writing songs that had stories to them but it got a little weird in some places, like the fox story or the story about the guy that stole the car and was thinking about the life of the guy he stole the car from, a bit out there but again - he is a very talented musician, songwriter and singer.....I was a little bummed that he did not sing "Roxanne" given that was how I first got into Sting, people would sing that song to me constantly....
posted by veryposh
Sting at Rosemont
WOW!! I see Sting every time he plays, year after year and I always LOVE his shows. This one was no exception. I loved his set list, songs I haven't heard from him live. And Peter Tickell, he was ON FIRE, what a talent. Sting looked great (when doesn't he look great). Not crazy about the shaved head, but what energy the man has. I was a little upset about the "no photo" policy and the pesty usher in our section, but even she could not spoil the fantastic performance of Sting and the band! Keep on rockin' Sting, I'll be at every show cheering you on! One more thing, PLEASE make this tour into a DVD, it was way too good not to have for the future! LOVE YOU STING!!
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