I've been a Police and Sting fan since the early 80's. The object of my affection and adoration has not changed since I was in seventh grade. Like a fine wine, Sting has aged, well, very very well. I went to see his latest tour 'Symphonicities' last night at the Jiffy Lube Pavilion; a performance in which Sting has re-imagined his favorite songs for symphonic arrangement with a 45-piece orchestra.
Backed by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Sting performed a mix of his most notable and some more obscure songs. Dressed in what I refer to as a "sextux" (fitted black jeans and black jacket/shirt number) Sting kicked off the evening with "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You." The crowd was older, subdued and seated. I desperately wanted to get up and dance during the fourth song, Roxanne, but the people in front of me and in back were all seated. Lots of older married couples on dates -- dressed for comfort, not for sex.
Sting kept his audience engaged with some pithy, interesting banter between songs. He explained there are two types of love songs: "I love you, you love me. Boring." Or, "I love you, you love someone else and that is much more interesting." He then performed "When We Dance." I found myself daydreaming about those lyrics: 'I will love you more than life if you'll come and be my wife." Big sigh. His lucky wife! Add the infamous tantric sex and it's just outrageously unfair. I find myself hoping that Sting leaves the toilet seat up, paper roll empty, forgets to take out the garbage, passes noxious gas and generally annoys his bride.
Sting spoke about being brought up in the shadow of the Cold War, "like most of you..." Amidst the throngs of boomers, women wearing Land's End Capri pants, Fit Flops and headbands and the men in golf shirts and slacks, I suddenly felt sassy and young in my red heels and white stretch jeans. Maybe if I leaned a little bit towards the aisle, he'd spot me? Sadly no such luck.
Sting launched into "Russians" which seemed made for the Royal Philharmonic with dramatic percussions, horns and strings. Sting politely and reverently stepped aside to showcase the orchestra, which is on loan this summer from The Queen of England. He was by then a mere 10 feet from me. He didn't look 58. That perky little bottom...I made a mental note to take up yoga and instantly deeply regretted giving up the violin after nine years of Suzuki training.
"Whenever I Say Your Name" is beautifully reworked to include a moving violin solo by Gerald Gregory, first violinist of the RSO. This amazing love song fell a bit flat when the backup singer, a much too bouncy, Kate Gosselin doppelganger, sang the female lead. Oh, I miss Mary J. Blige!
Maestro Steven Mercurio was clearly enjoying the performance and bathing in the glow of a white-hot rock star. Mercurio is a reputable composer; arranger and conductor in the symphonic and operatic worlds but his "conduct-dancing" reminded me of Elaine's hop from that infamous Seinfeld episode. Where is Gustavo Dudamel when you need him?
After intermission, Sting explained this tour let him "rediscover songs I've forgotten about" and he tackled some of his lesser known works. He launched into "All Would Envy" a song about an older man and a much younger girlfriend. Or in Washington, DC, what we call "The Senator and his niece." Sting's signature shimmying began and continued through the sultry "Mad About You." The orchestra then launched into "King of Pain." Despite the morose lyrics the boomers put down their swirly margaritas and began to dance. The rowdiness persisted through the sultry "Desert Rose" when Sting shook what God gave him. I was briefly inspired to throw my Playtex 18 hour bra onstage as a token of my "veils, a secret promise." Snap out of it, married mother of three!
After three encores that included "She's Too Good for Me," with background photos of a beautiful Trudie from her modeling days and "Fragile" dedicated to Gulf Coast residents suffering from the BP oil disaster, Sting called it a night. I got a very close peek during his final bow and wondered: Would my husband look as hot in tight black jeans, holding a guitar, surrounded by smoke and buffeted by a wind machine? Hell, yes! I began the long drive home to tell him so.
But I'm still going to take up the violin again. Just in case.