Sacred Love

Seoul, KR
Olympic Gymnasiumwith None
British rock legend overwhelms a crowd of 7,000...

Unlike other youth-oriented rock concert venues, the Olympic Park Gymnastic Stadium in Seoul late Friday was notably ''mature.'' Most of the audience ranged from late 20s to 40s, an interesting comparison with other concerts nearby held at the same time that targeted teens.

The age factor reflects how long (and how successfully) Sting, 53, has appealed to local music lovers with his superb talent and efforts. As if responding to the mature audience's nice manners and roaring supports, Sting demonstrated his seasoned music to Korean fans in a style that was both entertaining and inspiring.

In fact, not only Korean but also many foreign fans filled up the floor seats on Friday, suggesting that they couldn't miss Sting's rare appearance here - this is his second visit to Seoul after his concert in 1996 at Olympic Stadium.

With his powerful vocal and colorful guitar performances, featuring songs from his latest album, 'Sacred Love', as well as other hits from a 26-year career that dates back to his days as the frontman of the rockband, the Police.

Clad in a black jacket, Sting showed up at 8:20 p.m. along with his band and chorus girls, and kicked off the two-hour show with 'Send Your Love'. The atmosphere heated up as he switched to his old hit, 'Message in a Bottle'.

After a brief introduction to the band members, he went on to make the audiences jump and dance with 'Dead Man's Rope' and 'Brand New Day'.

What charmed Korean fans most, as expected, was 'Shape of My Heart', whose masterful rendition prompted joyous screams throughout the stadium. The excitement went up a notch when he performed 'Englishman in New York', another well-known hit among Korean fans.

Sting showed off his pyrotechnic guitar skills while singing 'Fragile', and the audiences got on their feet and rocked when Sting backed vocalist Joy Rose in the duet 'Whenever I Say Your Name'.

'Magic', 'Never Coming Home' and other pieces also entertained the crowd during the well-organized show. The final piece was 'Every Breath You Take', but Sting offered two encore pieces in response to the enthusiastic responses from fans.

Sting performed again at the Olympic Stadium Saturday night. Sting, who sold more than 84 million albums worldwide and grabbed numerous prestigious music awards, is one of the favorite musicians among Koreans, according to a recent poll conducted by a local radio station KBS Cool FM. Sting is slated to appear in MTV Asia AID, a charity concert for the tsunami victims, in Bangkok on Feb. 3.

(c) The Korea Herald