Sting and his "Back to Bass" tour warmed Washington, DC on Saturday night at DAR Constitution Hall. After opening with "All This Time" backed by a 5-piece band, Sting turned on the charm by demurring, "I'm so delighted you would come out on such a cold winter's night."
Sting and the band quickly got the older and typically reserved Washingtonian crowd on their feet dancing to "Every Little Thing You Do Is Magic." I was having a fabulous time until the sourpuss behind me said, "Are you going to stand up and dance the whole night?" I turned around and said, "Yeah, maybe. It's a rock concert."
And I did dance. Particularly enjoying "Driven to Tears" from The Police's Zenyatta Mondatta album and "Fortress Around Your Heart" from Sting's first solo album, Dream of the Blue Turtles.
Sting played storyteller giving anecdotes, background and observations on the songs. We learned from Professor Sting (he really once was a teacher) that the origins of Halloween are from medieval festivals on the last day of Autumn, when it was a time for stock-taking and preparation for the cold winter months. Not unlike going around ritzy neighborhoods and lugging home pounds of candy. "It's got fuckall to do with a bloody axe in your head," explains Sting.
Another nice moment was when Sting explained how he'd been with his wife Trudie for 32 years and that she saved him and he saved her but that marriage takes work. (Elbow nudge to my husband.) He then sings "Inside" from his 7th solo album, Sacred Love. The strings in "Inside" led perfectly into the country jam "Love Is Stronger Than Justice" that gave the spotlight over to young fiddler Peter Tickell during a long and inspiring session.The fiddler earned a standing ovation.
The "Back to Bass" band was no frills and excellent. Australian jazz singer Jo Lawry's harmonies, Peter Tickell's electric rock violin, the solos of long time Sting guitarist Dominic Miller and the "drummer's drummer" Vinnie Colaiuta's beats were perfect together. It's a family affair too -- Miller's son Rufus rounded out guitar and backing vocals.
The "Back to Bass" tour celebrates the 25th anniversary of Sting's solo career by taking it back to bass. My favorite part of the show was the last four songs that skewed Police. The sexy "Desert Rose" when Sting's hip swiveling in tight jeans proved he's the hottest, coolest 60 year-old on the planet. Then a flurry of encores including the ubiquitous "Every Breath You Take", followed by "Next To You," where we saw The Police's Sting run, jump and rock like a young lad from Northern England. Then finally, a beautiful solo acoustic version of "Message In A Bottle" that left no doubt that Sting can still hit the high notes and rock a muscle tee.
Sting's "Back to Bass" Tour continues through mid-December in the U.S.