Sting at Hammersmith Apollo
In top form, Sting was phenomenal last night at the Hammersmith Apollo, the 38th performance on his 57th and 9th world tour, highlighting his first true rock album in 13 years. Accompanied by a three-piece band, included were guitarists Dominic Miller and son Rufus, drummer Josh Freese, and Sting’s son, Joe Summer. Theatrically inspired lighting and clear, impeccable sound accented a vibrant, vivacious, top-notch show.
Sting launched the concert with a preview on acoustic guitar of the soulful spiritual folk ballad Heading South on the Great North Road. Synchronicity, by his original band The Police, opened the main gig with a massively energetic bang, followed by another great famous oldie, Spirits in the Material World. A reggae-inspired Englishman in New York delighted the crowd, as did the romantic I Can’t Stop Thinking About You.
The affable star introduced One Fine Day – in dedication to Donald Trump regarding the EPA, “because one day he will wake up and realise what these words mean”. Hung My Head, with its beautiful, melodious guitar licks, had a Springsteen/Stones style, the well known, stirring Fields of Gold delighted, and the innovative rock blues track Petrol Head was driving and vibrant.
Sting’s rendition of another classic, Message in a Bottle, revealed a voice as stunning as ever. A tribute to David Bowie, a brief version of Ashes to Ashes was performed as a cameo by his son, Joe Summer – sounding like his dad but holding his own. A slightly jazzed-up oldie, Walking on the Moon was followed by So Lonely – “How can I be alone with all this attention, the spotlight?” Sting mused.
The haunting composition Desert Rose, with its lovely middle eastern melody, preceded all time favourite Roxanne in a jazzier version that included a few lines from Ain’t No Sunshine (Bill Withers) and which reanimated an ecstatic audience.
The generous selection of tracks included three encore numbers: two classics, the rollicking rock and roll Next to You and Sting’s most famous song of all, the passionate Every Breath You Take. Finally – dedicated to the Syrian people “who have suffered too much” – the moving acoustic ballad Fragile showcased the singer’s more spiritual musical style, his beautiful voice, exceptional skill on guitar and awe-inspiring creative talent.
A remarkable, legendary artist who has become better with time, yet with ageless vigour, has immense charisma and incredible musical genius, Sting in concert is perfection. Wow!
Photos: Rebecca Blissett
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Listen to I Can’t Stop Thinking About You here: