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Sting - Artpark, Lewiston, NY - June 12, 2012

Review by Thomas S. Orwat, Jr. and Jack Pieri, Photos by Thomas S, Orwat, Jr.

Lewiston, NY - Multi-platinum, pop/rock superstar Sting delivered a solid and well balanced set, consisting of classic material from his former band, the Police, and his solo career. This tour, which is aptly named the “Back to Bass” tour, shows Sting going back to his roots, focusing solely on his bass (and vocals), unlike previous tours, where he switched to guitar for many songs during his performance.  The sold out crowd rose to their seats as soon as the show commenced with “All This Time,” and enjoyed every moment after, on this beautiful late spring evening.  How can one not wish to "Bring on the Night" when they're graced with such a distinctively unique and sensuously smooth performance?
Sting and his fantastically talented and musically gifted band (featuring longtime guitarist Dominic Miller, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, former E Street keyboardist David Sancious, violinist David Tickell, and backing vocalist Jo Lawry) were locked into some very serious groove all evening long.  This was especially prevalent during the fifth song of the evening, the Police hit, “Demolition Man.”  It was nothing short of sheer brilliant showmanship, showcasing the witty, yet savvy intelligence, with of course, the intense charming fascination, with the importance of being Sting!
After this song, Sting switched to an old beat up bass from 1954, and spoke about his love for Country music.  He mentioned how Toby Keith covered one his songs, and how proud he was that one of Johnny Cash’s very last songs that he recorded, was the next song that he was going to perform (“I Hung My Head”).  This in turn, mellowed out the crowd a bit, and everyone sat down for the first time during the evening.  

Prior to playing "Stolen Car (Take Me Dancing)," Sting discussed the mystery of songwriting, and revealed how he writes the music first, and how it inspires a story.  He said, ”This song is about a car thief clairvoyant, who sees that the owner of the car that he is about to steal, is owned by a married man - who has a mistress on the side, and everything is really fucked up.”
Before “Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven),”  Sting again talked about his love for Country music, and explained that this track was about mixing up the two plots of “The Munificent Seven” and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” and the twist was that there was only one bride.

The evening ended with two sets of encores, which kept the audience dancing in their seats. The first one was the hauntingly beautiful and elegant “Desert Rose,” which was the highlight of the evening, as Sting brought the track to a new level with his spot on vocals and bass playing.  This was followed up by the huge Police singles “King of Pain,” and then for the final encores - “Every Breath You Take” and “Next to You.”
Very few artists have taken as many risks as Sting, without compromising their integrity and style.  This intimate and sentimental show was astonishingly a rewarding experience for any sensible, accomplished listener.  All in all, Sting's emotionally deep challenging material made for a night of joyously diverse, provocative musical philosophy.  A stellar show not to be missed!     
All This Time
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Englishman in New York
Seven Days
Demolition Man
I Hung My Head
Stolen Car (Take Me Dancing)
Driven to Tears
Fields of Gold
Sacred Love
Heavy Cloud No Rain
Shape of my Heart
Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)
The Hounds of Winter
The End of the Game
Never Coming Home
Desert Rose
King of Pain
Every Breath You Take
Next to You