The perfect way to start the week, a Sting concert at the Mohegan Sun Casino Arena on a Sunday night. The legendary, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician, songwriter, actor and all around rock icon, was out on the road in 2022 on the ‘My Songs’ tour. The longtime frontman for the iconic 80s band The Police from 1977 through 1984 and later embarked on a highly successful solo career from 1985 forward. In that time Sting has created some of the most popular songs spanning the decades. Sting has created a musical sound that is unique with his vocal stylings and musical arrangements.
In his continued tenure as accomplished musician and entertainer, Sting has amassed seventeen Grammy Awards via his solo work and with The Police. Sting’s various awards, accolades and record selling milestones, as a solo artist and his work with The Police make him one of the top songwriters of this time as well as the world’s best selling musical artists.
First up to get the night started was Joe Sumner with a thirty minute acoustic set. Sumner is the son of Sting. Sumner’s set sounded great and was well received.
Rock and roll royalty was in the house in front of a full arena crowd. Sting lit up the stage and the arena with his music and unmistakable voice. The set began with the 1979 Police hit, “Message In a Bottle.” Followed up with another chart topping hit from 1988 with “Englishman in New York.” The stage was filled with musicians, two guitarists, drummer, keyboardist and background vocalists. At the front of the stage was a small table with a coffee cup, which Sting would stop intermittently between songs and have a drink, along with taking moment for a casual conversation to the audience, to share a thought or tell a story behind the music. The night was very relaxed, the songs rolled right through the nearly two hour set; a mix of melodic chart topping Sting solo work and Police masterpieces.
Sting told the audience how he has been all over the world and that he enjoyed coming to Mohegan Sun as everyone was so nice and courteous, and noted that he enjoyed playing this venue. The music continued with “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free,” and “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” from 1981, the crowd were on their feet with this timeless classic.
Sting sipped from his cup, pulled up a stool and sat down, speaking to the audience he said that he had some bad news, he said that he was going to play some new songs. Around November of 2021 Sting had released a new album, The Bridge. Sting performed four selections from that album. Sting said that in 1978 he had his 4th song in the charts and while he was staying at a hotel he could hear a window cleaner whistling a song, which was “Roxanne”; this was met with swells of cheers from the crowd. Sting noted that on the next song, he jump started the process and the song started writing it with a whistle, and went into “If It’s Love.” It was a very catchy song, new music that could be appreciated instantaneously, pulled right into the music. Good news, in looking around the arena, everyone stayed in their seats and there was no mass departure to the bathroom or refreshment areas. Next up was “For Her Love”, another continuation of the new music. Stings vocal stylings and musical arrangements remain unchanged, his voice sounded amazing. Watching Sting perform on stage you can see his visible display of passion for the music he created as he performs. Sting looks like he still enjoys every minute of performing up on stage.
The new blend of new songs continued, Sting spoke about the love songs and his life experiences, enough experiences that he said he was an authority on these types of songs, and into “Loving You.” The new song set closed out with “Rushing Water”, Sting removed himself from the stool he was back moving all over the stage once agin. This was a song that had the crowd clapping along, this would close out the new songs from his latest album. The new material was great, it kept the audience’s attention and was a perfect fit for the feel of the night.
Sting talked about how when he grew up in England as a child he aspired to be two things, a musician and a cowboy. He talked about how he was obsessed with TV Westerns; doing an age check he announced a number of Western television shows to see who knew what, Wagon Train, Rawhide, Maverick, Bonanza… Sting said that he had an appreciation for country music and have given a try at the genre, he noted that many country singers had covered his songs in the past. Sting acknowledged how he was honored to have Johnny Cash perform this song, “I Hung My Head”, originally released by Sting in 1996.
The music continued, “Fields of Gold,” “Brand New Day” and “Shape of My Heart”, a song about a professional gambler, most fitting for this casino environment; Sting educated us that the Roulette wheel, was also known as the Devil’s Wheel, because all of the numbers on the wheel add up to 666.
In Sting sounding reggae rock fashion, he performed “Wrapped Around Your Finger” from the 1983 Police, Synchronicity album. Followed with “Walking On the Moon,” “So Lonely,” with a Bob Marley melody of “No Woman No Cry / Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” and back into “So Lonely.”
The night was nearing its conclusion, but there was more left, “Desert Rose,” “King of Pain,” and “Every Breath You Take”, this might have brought the biggest applause and crowd cheers all night. The audience was on their feet in the moment of the music.
Next up was “Roxanne,” Sting mentioned that he heard that college kids use the song as a drinking game. The night closed out with “Driven to Tears” and “The Bridge”
This is what a concert experience is all about. Great songs, new and classic material, with a great sound and great stage energy. Sting’s band sounded amazing, most notably the background singers who really stood out throughout the night. Everything was perfect. But what else would you expect for a music icon such as Sting.
The highlights of this show for me was the fact that I was able to see this rock icon live and in person, performing the songs that I’ve been listening to for the past 40 years, from the MTV era through the 90s and up to today. The Police stood out to me as one of those bands that dominated MTV when the channel first arrived. So many Police songs were brought to us (80s kids) via MTV. Sting progressed through the years and never missed a beat. He has maintained his place, high atop the level of rock and roll royalty and a chart topping discography of music that spans nearly 50 years. An accomplished songwriter, musician, actor and performer, Sting is a class act. Everywhere in between there is Sting music for everyone. He continues to put out great sounding new music that keeps pace with the tranditional Sting sound of the past.
Sting is out on the road in all through 2022 in the United States and the rest of the world. Definitely check out this show, especially if you have never seen Sting live!
(c) North East Rock Review by Dan Wenc