Sting makes it a family affair, singing with son Joe on stage...
It was back to basics for British rocker Sting, 65, in his sixth outing in Singapore, in a concert that saw him share the spotlight with family and friends for over 1 hour and 45 minutes.
His 40-year-old son Joe Sumner, who was one of the opening acts, later joined his father on stage, providing backing vocals. Joining them was another father-son duo - Sting's long-time guitarist Dominic Miller and his son Rufus Miller, also on guitar.
"As a sort of insurance I've hired his son," quipped Sting to the 6,800-strong crowd.
At some moments, it felt like a family travelling band was playing on stage, with the other opening act, Tex-Mex band The Last Bandoleros, also providing back up vocals, beautiful harmonies and an accordion player who lit up the stage every time he came on.
But no one could quite upstage the man-of-the-hour Sting, who kicked off the show just before 9pm with The Police tracks Synchronicity II and Spirits In The Material World.
The tour might have been for his latest album 57th & 9th, but the former lead singer of The Police had no qualms dipping into classic favourites from his former band - not that anyone minded.
In fact, it was these tracks that excited the crowd, with a few audience members even clamouring to the front of the stage for a selfie and keepsake video.
The most enthusiastic singalongs were on Police tracks like Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Message In A Bottle and So Lonely.
But still Sting managed to keep it fresh, putting a funky reggae spin on Englishman In New York. The crowd dutifully "woah oh-ed" in unison, in a set with plenty of call and response moments. The seasoned performer then took the crowd to the mystical East with the upbeat and utterly infectious Desert Rose, and shouts of "Yallah!" ("Come on!" in Arabic).
The stage dripped with a sexy, languorous vibe when popular classic Roxanne came on, with Sting slowing it down in the style of a jazz number before bringing it to its climax.
The newer tracks, like I Can't Stop Thinking About You and One Fine Day, were expertly woven into the setlist, so there was never a lull.
His son Joe, for instance, had a solo moment singing a cover of David Bowie's Ashes To Ashes that segued seamlessly into the powerful 50,000, a rock song that Sting wrote following the deaths of Prince and Bowie.
The father-son moment also revealed that the younger Sumner's upper register is just as good as his father's.
But for all the high energy moments, there were tender, beautiful ones that showed that Sting's voice, among the most recognisable in the rock pantheon, is still at the top of his game.
It was put on display as golden mood lighting enveloped the stadium in the song, Fields Of Gold, and in a sombre version of Shape Of My Heart, when he shared vocals with Joe.
At the close, the audience was treated to two encores - the first comprising Police songs Next To You and Every Breath You Take; the second featuring the quietly beautiful Fragile, which he dedicated to victims of the Manchester bombing.
It was a poignant end to a concert that expertly spanned a range of emotions and energy levels. Sting still has it.
(c) The Straits Times by Anjali Raguraman