Sacred Love

Vancouver, BC, CA
GM Placewith Dominic Miller & Annie Lennox
Lennox steals Sting's show: Every little thing she did was magic...

''How many of you are middle-aged?'' shouted Annie Lennox to a teeming General Motors Place crowd, which responded with a halfhearted roar of admission. ''Ah,'' she replied with a laugh, ''but you're young at heart.''

It was a telling moment Saturday night, midway through the Scottish singer's triumphant set, which managed to overshadow that of the evening's co-headliner, Sting. Both musicians warmed the highly reverential, sold-out arena audience with career-spanning hits dating back to their days as 1980s pop-music icons. But it was Lennox who earned more enthusiastic ovations and stole the hearts of fans, who paid up to $130 a seat for the pleasure.

Casually, a black turtleneck-adorned Sting -- also known as Gordon Sumner - brought on the night early to sing the co-written 'Shape of My Heart' with fleet-fingered Dominic Miller, who opened with a short acoustic-guitar set. Mr. Sumner returned soon after to introduce Lennox, who wore a shiny purple jacket and shades for the slow funk of 'Legend in My Living Room'. The jacket and glasses were gone by the third offering, 'No More I Love You's,' the heartbreaking hit from her 1995 album of cover songs, 'Medusa'.

Members of her interracial band of seven players stepped to the shadows of the stage as Lennox sat behind a baby-grand piano to sing the old Eurythmics hit, 'Here Comes the Rain Again', reborn as a tender ballad and dedicated to Sting. A version of Bob Marley's 'Waiting in Vain' followed, but it wasn't until the sharp, syncopated stomp of 'Walking on Broken Glass' that ticketholders decided it was okay to stand and dance.

Looking half her 49 years (she turns 50 on Christmas Day), Lennox was magnetic in an hour-long showcase that ranged from the simmering soul-gospel of 'Cold' to the encore-launching 'Sweet Dreams', recast as a guitar-rock number. A lusty version of 'I Need A Man' seemed urgent in the wake of her broken marriage and subsequent detailing of the experience on Bare, her most recent album.

Sting is the more prolific and, accordingly, higher-profile of the two songwriters. His career output made him the show-closer on this tour - which crosses Canada this week before closing Oct. 22 in Tampa, Fla. - but the 53-year-old wasn't the more engaging performer on this night.

His dirty-blond locks flowing long at the back, Sting emerged on stage to the soft disco beat of 'Send Your Love', a highlight of the album from which this tour takes its name, Sacred Love. His black jacket was tossed to the side just one verse into the song, to hoots and catcalls.

Well into the number he strapped on his weathered Fender bass to prepare for a take on the Police tune 'Synchronicity II', played a step too slow and therefore robbed of its early-'80s urgency. (Oh, Stewart Copeland, where art thou to replace the less-inspired timekeeping of Keith Carlock?)

Even the once-vital 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic' seemed void of energy on a night when security guards sat leisurely at the front of the stage with but one concern: Stop the ''threat'' of some middle-aged woman bum-rushing them with a bouquet of flowers for the pop star.

Sting looked the part of the English teacher he once was, his ample forehead framed by what looked like a shock of gray hair. With professorial grace, he ruled over a well-behaved audience that seemed lecture-ready.

His mostly flawless band soldiered on through hits and misses: the tepid 'Sacred Love', the bright reggae snap of Englishman in New York, the entrancing 'Fragile', the stalker's anthem 'Every Breath You Take'. Throughout, scantily clad women danced on an impressive video screen that shifted shapes. Also throughout, Sting did his usual thing by digging into his lyrical bag to reprise snippets of old songs, including 'Walking in Your Footsteps' and 'King of Pain' (injected into the too-long 'Roxanne' jam).

The most memorable songs in Sting's set involved duets with Lennox, who joined in a rollicking version of 'We'll Be Together', and powerhouse backup singer Joy Rose, who brought fans to their feet during 'Whenever I Say Your Name.'

Tragically, those electric moments were followed too often by mellow, supermarket-jazz fare, which made for a truly up-and-down night of music at the Garage.

(c) The Vancouver Sun by Tom Zillich

Sting at GM Place...

Second row was amazing. I started the magical night with my three best friends out for dinner. They kept calling me ''the president''... joking around about the fact I was fan club member... It was all in fun but hey who got us the seats?! My friends and I have been Sting fans since his Police days in the early eighties. We were pretty obsessed as teenagers and a signed picture of Sting attended a 16th birthday party... Now at 37 we are still in awe of the stingman.

We walked down the floor aisle to our seats. I said to my best friend it felt like I was walking down the aisle at my wedding and she was giving me away to Sting... OK back to reality. We couldn't believe how close we were, having sat in row nine million in the past. Our seats were a bit to the side (in front of Kipper).

Dominic was charming and he has this little sexy smile while skillfully playing his dreamy ditties. When Sting appeared to join him he was sexy and lean in his black turtle neck and trousers. Man is he skinny! Not an ounce of fat on that bod! His voice was sounding great and despite the warning of his long haired looks... he looked as charming and sexy as ever. (Although I would grab some clippers if he fell asleep beside me in bed!)

Dominic received a pretty good response....must be a bit hard to know every one is really there to see Sting though.

Annie's set was very clean and crisp, her vocals impeccable.What a force! She too must be on the no carb plan...not an ounce of fat on her and looking good! Maybe I was seeing things but to me it looked a bit like Sting was flirting and chasing her a little (and the feeling didn't seem to be mutual) dirty Sting! They sang well together and their rendition was pretty hot. Her sound was amazing... cudos to her and that engineer! What a novel idea to focus on someone's vocals!

Now for the man! Having known the set list ahead of time and read previous reviews was a little odd. I loved every second and tried to burn the images in my mind so I will always be able to conjure up his sweet face when I am needing a boost. I'm not sure I love the set list...some of my faves were 'Englishman in New York', 'Send Your Love', Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', and 'Dead Man's Rope'... I have never been particularly fond of 'Whenever I Say Your Name' but it was amazing. Joy was incredible and Sting held her hand for the entire song. She blew the roof off the place. It was such a nice touch. I think when ever Sting does a number and has a more personal connection with people it just hits home. You can see the man inside and his heart. Whether it is singing to an audience member, interacting with the band or telling a personal anecdote... it just illuminates the performance. I am huge fan of his music but we want more than it alone... we want to feel we are touched by the soul of the man behind it... otherwise you may as well just watch a video.

It must be hard as a public figure to reveal this personal side on a regular basis but I see glimpses of it and boy if there was more of it - WOW. The crowd on the floor was pretty good and we stood for almost the entire show.

I will remember the show always and hope to win a lottery soon so I can travel to a foreign land and see the whole thing again. I don't have any pics... the security was pretty tough... they were even glaring when I just picked up my cell phone.

I wish it was yesterday so I could see it all again

(c) Mumbagirl for