In highly sought after Ravinia run, Sting subtly reimagines The Police and his distinguished songbook...
Former front man for The Police turned solo mega-star Sting already knew Ravinia well from his sold out “Symphonicity” and “Back To Bass” outings. And given the six-year gap since the latter, his brand new “My Songs” show yielded another pair of extremely full houses that kicked off with loads of hits spread across almost two hours.
Taking cues from the new album of the same name, Sting reimagined several selections from those band days and his own distinguished songbook, though never strayed too far from the original plot to render them unrecognizable. In fact, “Message In A Bottle” retained its frenetic speed and calls of “sending out an SOS” with just the right of subtly refreshed instrumentation to make it feel modern.
That latest coat of paint was also noticeable throughout upbeat expressions “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You,” “Englishman In New York,” “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free,” “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and “Brand New Day,” though it wasn’t quite as evident on the straightforward but no less gratifying ballads “Fields Of Gold” and “Shape Of My Heart.” On a newer note, Sting & Shaggy’s somewhat unexpected but fitting collaboration was ably represented by “If You Can’t Find Love,” hinting there’s still creative gas in the tank, even if much of this set was spent in the past.
His exceptional band and background singers were significant forces during the jazzy “Wrapped Around Your Finger” and “Walking On The Moon,” along with the already reggae-leaning “So Lonely” adapting bits of Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “Get Up, Stand Up” and “Roxanne” recalling his punk roots. The international elements of the dance-invoking “Desert Rose” were especially vibrant with the 67-year-old pushing the limits of his range and thankfully passed with flying colors.
Though not quite as adventurous, “Every Breath You Take” is a certified classic that didn’t need much tampering and the capacity crowd was more than happy to accompany their musical hero on each iconic chorus. Those who stuck around were treated to encores that alternated between The Police’s aggression (“King Of Pain,” “Next To You”) and Sting’s understated sophistication (“Fragile”), which despite their differences, managed to pair like a perfect Ravinia evening under the stars.
(c) ChicagoConcertReviews by Andy Argyrakis