A mirror across the pond – Sting brings it to BeachLife

Sting performed as if each hit song was written yesterday. Photo by Ron Vasquez/BeachLife

by Gavin Heaney

Before Sting was a musician, he was a school teacher, and before he was a rock icon, he was in a jazz band. He is a blend of classical arts and street smarts, combining academia, literature and classical music with garage rock, punk and especially Jamaican rhythm.  

Sting has his own sound, fusing his influences into a style that continually seems fresh. He stirs up rock and reggae and it comes together like Bob Marley joined The Beatles.

Friday night at BeachLife Sting stunned the crowd with a seemingly endless procession of songs that are woven into the fabric of modern rock. He opened with “Message in a Bottle,” which instantly set the crowd moving and singing, signaling that they were being pulled over by The Police. He powered out classics “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” “Can’t Stand Losing You,” and “King of Pain,” as well as “Walking on the Moon” and, by fan request, “Roxanne.” 

“I don’t know if I want to play that,” he said sardonically before putting out the red light and delivering Roxanne from prostitution one more time.

If Sting is weary of playing “Roxanne” or “Every Breath You Take,” which is the most radio played song in history, it did not show. The energy he brought to each song felt like it was written yesterday. He paid homage to Bob Marley, the sacred source of his chanted call and response hooks, medleying “No Woman No Cry” with the dance frantic “So Lonely.”

Sting’s elegance is both old world and other world. 

“My wife and I have a little cottage in the English countryside. Well it’s more of a castle, right by Stonehenge.If you’re ever in England, stop by and I’ll make you a cup of tea.” You had the feeling he was sincere. 

Decades of fame, knighthood and nobility have not snubbed out his quaint English charm. He told of the barley fields by his house that inspired his solo hit “Fields of Gold.” Then he delicately sang it, drawing the heart to that heavenly, otherworldly place. 

Playing bass, and singing require performing different melodies and rhythms simultaneously. Sting is musically ambidextrous, which is a profound yet subtle skill. He delivered his iconic bass lines with a unique, up and down thumb strum, with opposing forefinger, a departure from the traditional anchored thumb and two finger technique. His effortless precision on the Fender P Bass was matched by his symphonic vocals, which soared out high above his running rhythm. 

Sting was backed by a proficient band with guitar, drums, keys and harmonica, which made more sound than seemed possible. He duetted with his back up singers on “Heavy Cloud” and “Shape of My Heart,” going toe to toe when other singers his age tend to hide behind them. 

He sang “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You” and the message hit home ever so clearly in these trying times.

Sting plays off the crowd during a call and response during “No Woman, No Cry.” Photo by Ron Vasquez/BeachLife


Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world

You could say I lost my faith in the people on TV

You could say I’d lost my belief in our politicians

They all seemed like game show hosts to me


I never saw no miracle of science

That didn’t go from a blessing to a curse

I never saw no military solution

That didn’t always end up as something worse, but

Let me say this first

If I ever lose my faith in you

There’d be nothing left for me to do


He raised an eyebrow on the word “politicians,” wordlessly commenting on the state of American politics, eliciting a cheer of agreement from the audience. Sting brings a valuable outsider view of our country. He is an Englishman in America, not unlike Quentin Crisp, the subject of his song “Englishman in New York,” or John Lennon when he lived here. Sting gave us a reflection from across the pond. But far from being critical, he was hopeful and his songs universal. Put your faith in the spirit, not in technology, or institutions, he sang. ER


comments so far. Comments posted to EasyReaderNews.com may be reprinted in the Easy Reader print edition, which is published each Thursday.