Sacred Love

Hershey, PA, US
Hersheypark Stadiumwith Dominic Miller & Annie Lennox
Lennox puts on solid show to upstage Sting at Hershey...

On their current tour Sting and Annie Lennox are promoted as co-headliners.

Based purely on the chronology of Wednesday's stop at Hersheypark Stadium - Lennox playing first, Sting ending the show with a much longer set - the former Police frontman would appear to be getting top billing.

If that's the case, his opening act stole the show.

Looking, sounding and acting like a rock diva, in its best sense, Lennox was simply stunning in her too short hourlong set.

Her voice was in top form, her band was rock solid and her set list chock full of hits - 'No More I Love You's', 'Here Comes The Rain Again', 'Walking On Broken Glass', 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)' and a beautiful take on Bob Marley's 'Waiting In Vain'.

With dramatic lighting and her graceful, balletic arm and hand gestures and subtle hip swaying there was a nice theatrical element to Lennox's show.

Sting went the typical rock show route - sensory overload - with lots of lights and a half-dozen video screens projecting images of the band onstage, kaleidoscopes, landscapes and lots of exotic female dancers in various stages of undress.

When not distracted by what was going on behind them, Sting, too, was backed by a stellar band.

They dove headfirst into the Sting and Police catalogs with 'Synchronicity II', 'Seven Days', 'Fragile', 'Fields of Gold', 'Englishman In New York', 'Every Breath You Take' and a nice duet with Lennox on 'We'll Be Together'.

But a wandering version of the classic, 'Roxanne', was typical of Sting this night - too frequent, long, self-indulgent jams that would take the air out of a festive crowd.

(c) The Patriot-News by Barry Fox

Sting & Lennox delight 10,000 with hits from '80s & today...

Two of pop music's most enduring voices - Annie Lennox and Sting - hit the ground running at Hersheypark Stadium Wednesday night, offering up a heady mixture of 1980s nostalgia and new millennium sensibilities.

Both moved effortlessly from their early hits in the 1980s to more recent work, providing the mainly baby boomer-era audience with plenty to enjoy on what turned out to be a beautiful, rain-free night.

Before Lennox's set, Dominic Miller, longtime guitarist for Sting, came out and joked that he was getting his 15 minutes of fame. He performed several lovely acoustic guitar pieces, including a mellow version of 'The Star Spangled Banner' and Sting joined him on 'Shape of My Heart'.

Miller's performance was a pleasant interlude and the crowd of about 10,000, all sitting in the front of the stadium, enjoyed him, but he was wise to only play a few songs. Clearly, everyone was ready for the main events.

Annie Lennox, dressed in a silver rhinestone jacket and jeans and sporting her trademark ultra-short platinum blond hair, brought a straight-on sensibility to her show.

With her strong, soaring and rich voice, Lennox can do anything, from the moody blues of 'Pavement Cracks' to the ethereal beauty of 'No More I Love You's' and the drama of 'Here Comes the Rain Again'.

It isn't just that she's got great pipes. Her phrasing and simple delivery make her a great singer. She rarely feels the need to show off and her slight Scottish lilt helps make her sound distinct.

The crowd loved her raucous versions of 'Missionary Man' and 'I Need a Man', which closed the show.

The criticism about Lennox, from her early days with Eurythmics, has been that she's a little frosty, a little formal in her delivery. Last night's performance warmed up throughout the 50-minute show and was bubbling over nicely by her encores - her trademark song, 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)' and the pensive 'Why.'

Sting, dressed in black pants and a black jacket, arrived on stage about 20 minutes later and it was clear that he was kicking up the production values.

The stage featured a grid covered with sophisticated video screens that would be used for interesting effect and the lighting was exotic and intriguing throughout the concert.

Sting kicked off with 'Send Your Love', from his new album, 'Sacred Love', which is also the name of the huge North American tour he and Lennox are in the middle of performing. From there, he went back to the Police treasure-trove and sang the grimly amusing 'Synchronicity II'.

The pattern would continue through much of the night.

His Police songs, from the delightful 'Everything She Does Is Magic' to the sexy 'We'll Be Together', which he sang with Lennox to dazzling effect, had a jaunty, youthful quality.

Songs from his solo career, such as the sad but gorgeous 'Fragile' and the new, pensive 'Dead Man's Rope' have a more worldly maturity to them.

Sting's warm, honey voice can turn any song into something memorable in concert. His version of 'Fields of Gold' was beautiful, while 'Englishman in New York' was wise and witty.

His songs are never throwaways. There is always something about the great mysteries of life to think about while he's creating great hooks.

Sting's powerful bass playing and his band - particularly guitarist Miller and pianist Jason Rebello - were hot Wednesday night.

There were a few misfires.

'Whenever I Say Your Name', which he recorded with Mary J. Blige and performed here with back up singer Joy Rose, felt strangely like a Hallmark commercial, and while I love the song 'Roxanne', and the way he inserted a snippet of 'King of Pain' inside it, it went on too long. And the Victoria Secret-esque video during 'Sacred Love' and all the swirling women videos were a bit much.

But those minor complaints were forgotten with his generous encores, including the grand 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You' and his great Police classic, 'Every Breath You Take', which had everyone riding the nostalgia wave as they sang along.

He came back one more time to sing the consummate Sting song, 'A Thousand Years', about the mysteries of life and the enduring power of love.

(c) The Lancaster New Era by Jane Holahan