Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, better known by his stage name Sting, illuminated the stage with his performance at the Hollywood Palladium on Feb. 8. The sixth concert of Sting’s world tour, the show promoted his latest album, 57th & 9th.
The crowd waited in anticipation for his appearance after his son Joe Sumner and The Last Bandoleros opened up the house. As Sting took to the stage, hundreds of cellphones and cameras raised above heads as an aura of excitement filled the room. Chants and hollers were met with the instrumental opening of “Synchronicity II” by The Police (Sting’s old band), and the crowd was immediately engrossed by what was happening onstage before them.
Though Sting is technically a solo act, he did not let much time pass before introducing the band that supports and plays with him — Dominic Miller and his son Rufus Miller on guitars and Josh Freese on drums, while Sting is on bass and lead vocals. However the father-son duo between the Millers was not the only one present. Onstage, Sting was accompanied by his eldest son, Joe Sumner, and The Last Bandoleros on backup vocals.
With the crowd warmed up from older songs by The Police, Sting began to thread in six of the 10 tracks on his most recent album.
Sting not only used the audience to fuel the energy on the stage, but he also played off the energy of his bandmates. In the second song of the night, “Spirits in the Material World,” Sting sent the energy to Rufus Miller who hekl a guitar solo following the chorus. Following Rufus was his father, Dominic, in the next chorus, who held his own guitar solo. The energy continued to bounce between Sting and the bandmates for the entirety of the concert.
Multiple times throughout the concert, the lighting enhanced the performance onstage. The color choice not only matched the lyrics — red lights during “Roxanne” were a telling choice — but the drum sequence also matched perfectly during the lyrics, “Now don’t you worry your pretty little petrol head / Pretty little petrol head” in “Petrol Head,” a song on 57th & 9th. Sting also got the crowd involved with the help of lighting design. In “Message in a Bottle,” the white stage lights turned out towards the audience to get them clapping along with the beat.
By the end of the show, Sting had performed five songs by The Police, one song by David Bowie and eleven of his own songs. Closing with “Roxanne,” and remixing it with “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Winthers, Sting fully earned the boisterous demand for an encore. He then performed two more songs by The Police — “Next to You” and “Every Breath You Take” — once again rightfully earning a demand for an encore. Giving in, Sting once again took the stage again, this time for his second encore, and sang “The Empty Chair,” only accompanied by his own acoustic guitar.
Sting is a truly gifted artist. His live songs matched, and even sometimes surpassed, the quality of sound of his studio recordings. He did not falter or become frustrated when audio completely cut out during “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying.” He actively got the audience involved, clapping and singing along to his songs. And he had people, young and old, dancing the entire show. These characteristics set the artists apart from the performers. Sting is not merely a performer who comes to put on a show. Rather, he is an artist that arrives to create art onstage.