Sacred Love

Indianapolis, IN, US
Verizon Wireless Music Centerwith Dominic Miller & Annie Lennox
Sting & Lennox do it with class - Singer-songwriters from Britain bring refined style to an audience of 11,000...

Sting and Annie Lennox emit about as much refined dignity as a modern rock concert can hope to offer.

The U.K. stars brought their tour to an audience of 11,000 Friday at Verizon Wireless Music Center.

Lennox thrilled the crowd's early birds with an approach to live performance that's seen too rarely.

The former Eurythmic inhabited the songs and gave them purely. Even when the tunes were relative obscurities from her current studio album, 'Bare', Lennox communicated a stunning effort.

What else could be on her mind? She gave no hint of having a bad day or even an unbelievably good one. She simply brought no external baggage to the stage.

Highlights included a futuristic lounge rendition of Bob Marley's 'Waiting in Vain', a baby grand piano treatment for 'Here Comes the Rain Again' and an angelic vocal during 'No More 'I Love You's'.

The audience would cheer Lennox once more, when she joined Sting for a rendition of his 'We'll Be Together' five songs into his show.

Here, she did a sparkling job of playing along.

This scene wasn't as awkward as the Bob Dylan-Paul Simon duets a few summers back, but it didn't appear to be Sting's favourite moment of the night.

The dilemma of what the former Police leader wanted to do and didn't want to do consistently haunted his performance.

The 52-year-old opened with an energetic pairing of 'Send Your Love' - from his current album 'Sacred Love' - and 21-year-old 'Synchronicity II', raising the prospect of a crowd-pleasing evening.

But Sting's never been one to surrender to the easy path. The concert bypassed a large pool of first-rate hits in favor of easy-listening snoozers and indifferently received tracks from 'Sacred Love'.

But even in the dullest segments, drummer Keith Carlock - perhaps the most authoritative hitter to play with Sting since Stewart Copeland - refused to be held down.

Carlock cracked intensity into 'Englishman in New York', and he pumped blood into 'Sacred Love's title track - a curious mixture of religious imagery and lust.

When Sting unleashed the breakthrough smash 'Roxanne', it merely maximized the distance between a direct hit (then) and mixed messages (now).

He aimed for Roger Waters-style commentary with 'This War' from the current album. In front of a cartoon backdrop of bombers over London, Sting employed passive-aggressive sarcasm when advising listeners: 'Don't do nothing.'

In fact, that's exactly how this audience responded.

(c) The Indianapolis Star by David Lindquist