Sacred Love

Columbus, OH, US
Germain Amphitheaterwith Dominic Miller & Annie Lennox
Pair of seasoned pros work nicely in concert...

Can there be a more gracious performer than Sting?

Rock-concert protocol demands the big buildup to the star turn.

Sting dismissed it Tuesday night at Germain Amphitheater.

Long before the sun set and while some fans still were trolling for parking spaces, Sting materialized onstage to sing with and showcase his longtime guitarist, Dominic Miller.

Later, during his climactic set, he invited opener Annie Lennox onstage to join him for the rocker 'We'll Be Together', one of the concert's highlights.

Sting seemed more than happy to share the spotlight with Miller, Lennox and others.

During a rousing version of 'Whenever I Say Your Name', he stepped aside, allowing backup singer Joy Rose to command the song and the attention.

In truth, Sting's 'Sacred Love' World Tour has an ensemble feel with Lennox serving as co-headliner. She kicked posterior with a one-hour set that included a two-song encore - 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)', a hit from her Eurythmics days, and the mournful ballad 'Why'.

How many opening acts return for encores?

In her duet with Sting, the energetic Lennox overwhelmed the laid-back leading man. The entire concert contrasted her dynamism with his grace.

Infusing each selection with a soulful emotional investment, Lennox belted, growled, whispered and scatted through a mix of Eurythmics hits and lesser-known solo material, just as compelling.

She quieted the crowd to play the piano on a slowed-down 'Here Comes the Rain Again', the calm before stormy readings of 'Walking on Broken Glass' and 'Missionary Man'.

Sting, too, blended newer, solo material with hits from his past with the Police, although several Police favourites ('Don't Stand So Close to Me', 'Spirits in the Material World' and 'Every Breath You Take') were conspicuous by their absence.

Nevertheless, backed by Miller's guitar, Sting delivered beautiful renditions of 'Fragile' and 'Fields of Gold'.

His charming ditty 'Englishman in New York' was a crowd-pleaser.

From his latest album, 'Sacred Love', the title song and the dance track 'Send Your Love' proved that at least some of Sting's fresh material is as captivating as his Police hits.

His brisk set, however, screeched to a halt shortly before the encore with a long and rambling reworking of 'Roxanne' that left a few in the audience shaking their heads with bewilderment and boredom.

A lavish production of flashing lights and video images helped offset the stationary poses of Sting, anchored by his guitar.

Lennox, in contrast, expressed an unusual and commanding presence with silky tai chi-like movements and gestures that punctuated her beats and lyrics.

Lennox, 49, and Sting, 52, each looked great in middle age, apparently having been spared the ravages of the rock lifestyle.

(c) The Colombus Dispatch by Dennis Fiely