Review of his gig in The Point Depot Dublin, March 19, 2000
Sting is annoying. Annoyingly fit, annoyingly youthful, annoying talented, annoyingly rich and annoyingly smug. 24 years on since 'Roxanne' and he's going stronger than ever.
From my vantage point on the balcony of The Point Depot, I was struck by the mass reflection from the shiny domes below. When Sting started off on his solo career I'm sure the majority of those domes were covered with hair, but no longer. That's his audience. Thirty five plus, bald and pot-bellied, but when they see Sting on stage, they see themselves as they want to be. Baggy trousered, washboard stomached and full of zest and lebenslust.
Apart from one dancing gentleman in a sleeveless red puffa jacket ( I know, why do you think I'm mentioning it), the audience in the all-seater gig kept their ever expanding bums glued to the pews throughout. Not until Sting refused to come back on for an encore unless they stood, did they rise to their hush puppied feet and do their first bit of exercise since they parked their Nissan Primeras to walk from the car park.
But what about the music? You know Sting's songs. Wonderfully wordy, well meaning, well structured and more polished than Shiny Dome's crown.
He delivered everything you would expect and all of it technically faultless. His latest long playing record featured heavily, which as you'd expect sounds remarkably similar to just about everything he's done for the past ten years.
His earlier solo stuff, Englishman in New York, Fields of Gold etc were very well received. But as per all these former front men, it was the songs from his Police days that nearly, very nearly had Mr. and Mrs. Plump on their feet. But he also went and made the classic mistake of all former front men who are forced by popular demand to sing songs from their former band days. He turned his own classics into cabaret. Roxanne went from a pleading love song into a free range jazz improv explosion. Everyone's favourite 'Every Breath You Take' came out at 78rpm; he couldn't wait to finish it.
Sting also totally rejigged 'Message in a Bottle', but this worked. It was just him and his classical guitar and then you truly got to see what a wonderfully talented musician this man is.
After two encores. Mr. and Mrs. Middle Ireland, not wanting to push it, left as happy as pigs in the proverbial. Many of them didn't even wait for the encores. (Avoid the traffic, get home to the babysitter). But, they're in their offices and banks today feeling totally elated. Sting speaks to them. "How fragile we are" Mmmmmmm.
For your information, Sting spoke to us twice. Once to apologise to his support act Juliet Turner for having to play during what he said sounded like the 1916 rising. It was in fact Dublin's Skyfest fireworks display.
The second time he spoke was in response to a heckle. He was asked if he was still into tantric sex. He said he'd given it up, but he and his wife had taken up tantric shopping instead, which he explained, is when you go shopping for five hours and buy nothing.
Oh, how we of the receding hairline laughed.