Sting & Shaggy: The 44/876 Tour

Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Un
O2 Academy

Review - Sting and Shaggy - a little bit of everything from the Geordie and the Jamaican...

Imagine getting to see Sting play his best songs, with Shaggy contributing a few bangers, and not having a good time?

Who saw the Sting and Shaggy collaboration coming?

The Geordie and the Jamaican teamed up last year for a Grammy-winning reggae album, 44/876, and are now on tour.

On Wednesday, Sting was on home turf for a show with Shaggy at the O2 Academy .

I'm not going to lie, the opportunity to see Sting at relatively small venue was the main draw for me. Nothing against Shaggy - who doesn't enjoy Hot Shots? But Sting is Sting .

So how did it work?

Shaggy - in a big hat - and Sting - dressed as Sting - opened with two of their collaborations, album title track 44/876 and Morning Is Coming, which were well-receieved. The album is a good listen and is no gimmick, though I'm not sure I would justify the £65 ticket price to see the pair only play songs off the new record.

Thankfully, then they launched into some top-tier Sting/Police hits.

Englishman in New York was followed by Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, by which point the crowd - ably whipped up by Shaggy - were on form.

Shaggy then took us back to his early days, with Oh Carolina, before some more 44/876 tracks.

Sting was  exceptional. To me, his voice sounded like it has not wavered at all between the late 1970s and now. Though as we all know, the man does look after himself.

It would be unfair to write off Shaggy as a hype man for Sting on this tour, they complement each other well, with their undeniable stage presence and distinguished voices. There were times when Shaggy wasn't really doing a lot vocally, but he stuck around, engaging with the audience and getting everyone in the party mood.

If you do think Shaggy is just a hype man on this tour, then he's the best hype man there is.

Sting did his bit for his pal too, ably singing the chorus on Shaggy's 'Angel', while the reggae theme stayed for Walking on the Moon, which included a homage to Bob Marley's Get Up Stand Up.

While I enjoyed hearing Roxxane mashed up with Boombastic, the highlights for me were the straight-up Police songs - particularly Can't Stand Losing You. This was Sting, in his home town, after all.

Ps. Who could hate a live sing-along to It Wasn't Me?

(c) Newcastle Chronicle by Simon Meechan