Live Review: Sting Energizes with Voice, Wit, and Orchestra

Published on July 12th, 2010

July 11, 2010 – 35 years into his diverse musical career, there aren’t too many things that Sting hasn’t tried. But touring across the country with a full orchestra – yes, that just might be one of them. Although the concept may seem foreign at first, the implications of such a show are quite clear – it surely means Sting’s classics reworked with a full instrumental twist. Although the “Symponicity” concert at Bristow, Virginia’s Jiffy Lube Live lived up to those expectations, the performance was not without its surprises.

Singing proud with joyful movement and expressions at the start of the show, Sting was quickly in command of both the crowded stage behind him and the thousands of fans in front of him. He playfully danced and tapped percussion as the orchestra and backup band pumped out the peppy tones of “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You”. The delicate acoustic blend of Sting and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra rippled through the amphitheater, and a great evening of music had begun.

The flavor of each selection ranged from the flirtatious delivery of “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” to the emotion stirring notes in “Why Should I Cry for You”. Like the crowd, at times the Englishman appeared lost in the moment too – it wasn’t uncommon to find the singer locked in a deep gaze while singing reflective lyrics about love and loss.

Without the comforts of his bass guitar, it was pure pipes that were charged with keeping the show alive. Fortunately, Sting’s voice sounded great from the start, with its retained range and power setting in fully during the challenging moments of “Every Little Thing”. Although he may be more suited to sing atop traditional rock guitar, the orchestra brought his unique tone to the forefront.

Harmonizing to Sting’s right was the talented Jo Lowry, who lit up the evening in her own right with contagious energy and a voice that could kill. She worked herself into a downright frenzy during uptempo numbers like “She’s Too Good for Me” and “Next to You“.

The musical arrangement of songs varied greatly, but shared an overwhelming success. Some sounded not too far removed from studio counterparts, while “Roxanne” was unexpectedly stripped down to its core. But from start to finish, the 26 song set was both cohesive and diverse. And it almost goes without saying that the orchestra was skilled, they’re the Royal Philharmonic after all.

Although the Virginia crowd seemed to be enjoying the live performance, it took the familiar strains of “King of Pain” to bring them up on their feet to stay. The consummate entertainer, Sting even brought out matching dance moves for the exotic beats of “Desert Rose“.

If the stunning visual presentation wasn’t convincing enough, Sting clearly arrived with a full arsenal of weapons: his signature, soaring voice to win over the critics and fans alike, his charm to please the ladies of the audience, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra…to cover anything else. Some live experiments work and others don’t, but Symphonicity is certainly a notch in the success column.

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  1. Posted by Todd on July 13th, 2010, 11:03 [Reply]

    Very good photography. I would think the Sting camp would be interested in using some of these great shots.

  2. Posted by Kris on July 13th, 2010, 16:20 [Reply]

    I agree on the photos. Nice work Matt.

  3. Posted by Heidi on October 31st, 2010, 18:10 [Reply]

    We have just returned from Barcelona, a short break to see Sting in concert. A friend of mine did all of the organising for the trip, not being a die hard fan of Sting I no idea that the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra were part of the tour, huge plus number one.

    There were twelve of us travelling from the Canary islands to see the concert and we all agreed that Jo Lowry was an outstanding part of the show. Not only does she have the voice of an angel, every inch of her performance radiated how much she loved what she was doing. This was genius collaboration, just perfect!


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