Great shows of the week: Sting takes it "Back To Bass" at the Fillmore...
Sting did not want to go home. He'd already bounded back after the briefest pause for an encore, following a joyously extended 'Every Breath You Take' and was doing a funky, slightly free-flowing version of 'Message In A Bottle' when a good number of audience members, thinking the show was over, had already go into the lobby. But when they heard that familiar voice singing strongly from within the Fillmore Miami, they stopped. One couple even danced where they stood.
And that's the power of Sting and his music, a sound so magnetic that it even stops South Floridian concertgoers from leaving early to go get their cars out of the valet before everyone else.
The former Police lead singer and bassist/humanitarian/yoga afficianado/world music and jazz fusion lover, accompanied by his incredibly talented and really young band, touched on his entire career, from his early stuff with the Police, to the breadth of his solo career. It was, in parts, a greatest hits show, with a little bit of "Storytellers." For instance, who knew that 'Love Is Stronger Than Justice', with its countrified chorus and dark tale of fratricide and romance, was inspired by an imaginary mash-up of the plots of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and "The Magnificent Seven?" (And who could resist Sting joyously singing a bit of "Seven Brides" "Bless Your Beautiful Hide?")
He started with 'All This Time', and once again I was reminded that Sting was always able, both solo and with the Police, to get the most disturbing and complex themes onto pop radio by wrapping them in intoxicating melodies and beats. 'All This Time' is about his father's death; 'Fortress Around Your Heart' is about the repercusions of a controlling relationship, and even the first finale, 'Every Breath You Take' is famously about stalking someone, not some beautiful romance. That's one of his strengths as a musician and a singer - he's found away to make the weirdest thing a crowd-pleaser, even while it gives you pause - during the group-chanted finish of "I'll be watching you" from 'Every Breath You Take', I said to my husband, "We're being so upbeat about stalking somebody!"
Other highlights - the buoyant 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', the world music mysteries of 'Desert Rose' and the sweet 'Fields of Gold'. Throughout the show, Sting was utterly gracious to his band, in a way that some superstars touring with anyone other than their original crew sometimes aren't. They weren't just his backup, but his partners. And it worked beautifully.
(c) Palm Beach Post by Leslie Gray Streeter