Review: Sting

The Englishman in Manchester, 7 April

Hero image

Sting, a man who needs no introduction, comes onto the stage of the Manchester 02 Apollo at 8pm sharp to introduce himself. He tells the crowd what a pleasure it is to play in Manchester again and what a great show he has for us tonight.

Picking up an acoustic guitar he plays though a new song, Heading South on the Great North Road. Half way through, a man walks on to the stage, guitar in hand, and starts singing along with very similar distinctive vocals. It’s Joe Sumner, Sting’s eldest son. It’s now evident that the early start to the show was less a sign of the singer’s age and more a clever tactic to ensure the support got a decent crowd. Sting makes a second introduction for the audience members unfamiliar with his son and leaves, letting Sumner play his solo material. Audience members overlook the duplicity when Sumner proves himself worth their time. He has an arguably greater vocal range than his dad and he flaunts it with personal refrains, such as in Jellybean, written about his own children.

The stage is graced by more musicians to help harmonise on Sumner’s final song. They are the main support act, The Last Bandoleros from Texas, and they move swiftly into their rock/country soundtrack. Playing through last year’s self-titled EP, they gain new fans with their strong vocal performances, a reoccurring theme for the calibre of talent here tonight. Each member has lead vocals on at least one song as they blast through the set before introducing their own guest on the squeezebox. Sting helps them finish off their set before announcing a 15-minute break.

Sting comes back with his band, popular session drummer Josh Freese, another father-son combo – Dominic and Rufus Miller – on guitars, and backing vocalists Joe Sumner and Diego and Jerry from The Last Bandoleros. Opening with The Police’s Synchronicity II they transport the audience, with a mean age of 55, back to their youth, sending them into a nostalgic frenzy as the concert quickly becomes sing-alonga-Sting. With his solid set list of his new material, hits and Police material, the crowd is happy to chant and clap from start to finish. He has the balance between repartee and playing down to a fine art after years of practice but the years don’t show elsewhere. At 65 years old, Sting’s voice hasn’t aged and he’s still producing material that sounds fresh. His fitness hasn’t waned either – he barely breaks a sweat and even treats the crowd to some rock star jumps to finish.

Interact: Responses to Review: Sting

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.