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Concert Reviews:
Sting spotlights potent past at the Fox Theatre

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Monday, November 7, 2011

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DETROIT -- Sting is in the midst of commemorating his 60th birthday, which was on Oct. 2, and the 25th (actually 26th) anniversary of becoming a solo artist. But he didn't mention either during his concert Sunday night (Nov. 6) at the Fox Theatre.

He didn't have to.

Instead, the multi-faceted musical icon's Back To The Bass Tour show celebrated with music -- 22 songs that reviewed his career in rare depth, from big hits with the Police and on his own to a generous sampling of seldom heard, deeper catalog material that provided some of the two hour-plus concert's finest moments. Sting topped that with as hot a band as he's ever put on stage (which is saying something) and some refreshed arrangements that made the night less about nostalgia and sentiment and more about a present day potency.

Sting certainly proved an able guide through his body of work on Sunday, opening with the majestic "All This Time" and wiggling through a buoyant rendition of the Police's "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" before taking on the jazzy dynamics of "Seven Days" and a hard-rocking take of the Police's "Demolition Man." "I'm So Happy I Can't Sop Crying," "I Hung My Head" and "Love is stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)" delved into country and Western flavors, while "Heavy Cloud No Rain" and "Sacred Love" offered refined but still slinky blues.

Sting aficionados were certainly delighted by real rarities such as "Stolen Car (Take Me Dancing)," the gentle "Ghost Story" and a particularly intense "Inside," and he enhanced both with commentary about their subjects -- his late father and current wife, Trudie Styler, respectively. Violinist Peter Tickell provided instrumental fireworks during "Sacred Love," "Love is Stronger Than Justice," "Never Coming Home" and "Desert Rose," and while Sting's longtime lead guitarist Dominic Miller lit things up as he always has, he was joined by his babyfaced teenage son Rufus, who played rhythm but also took the acoustic solo on "Fields of Gold."

The show ended where Sting began, with Police favorites "Every Breath You Take," "Next to You" and a solo acoustic "Message in a Bottle" that he sang as a full duet with the audience. It was a fine nod to where he's been in his musical life, and a stirring reminder of the considerable quality that lies through his catalog.

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