Friday, December 21, 2012

Concert Review: Sting enthralls Manila in sold-out show at The Big Dome

Concert Review: Sting enthralls Manila in sold-out show at The Big Dome 
Written by Jamie Ortega

                The “Englishman In New York” invaded Manila last December 9, 2012, performing some of his greatest hits to an enthusiastic crowd of all ages at the Smart-Arena Coliseum.

                Clad in a sheer gray long-sleeved top, black vest, pants and boots, Gordon Matthew Thomas Summer, more popularly known as Sting, kicked off the three hour show with three of his most popular hits, If I Ever Lose My Faith In You, Every Little Thing She does Is Magic, and Englishman In New York. With an opening salvo like that it didn’t take much to drive the audience to their feet, and that’s exactly what happened, with matching cheers, applause, and sing-along action, as the Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter, together with his band, guitarist Dominic Miller, drummer Vinnie Calauita, violinist Peter Tickell, Jo Lawry on backing vocals and keyboardist David Sancious, followed their opening salvo with songs Seven Days, Demolition Man (from Sting’s former band The Police), I Hung My Head and The End Of The Game. Sting also played songs from his former band Police, like Driven To Tears and Message In A Bottle. Despite the romantic nature of nearly all of Sting’s songs, it was the slower, more sentimental tunes like Fragile and Fields Of Gold that really put the audience in a soulful mood as they waved their glow sticks in the dark.

                When a concert promoter casually asked me how Sting was able to pack a huge venue like The Big Dome, I provided this simple answer. “It’s the timeless and uplifting quality of his music.”  Indeed, songs like Fields Of Gold, and King Of Pain are the kind of tunes that one can play on any given day, 10 to 20 years from the height of their popularity, and still sound fresh. The universal appeal of Sting’s songs was more evident during the concert as the crowd, composed of teenagers, yuppies, married couples, and showbiz personalities, all showed their approval and enjoyment of Sting’s music. It didn’t even take an astounding set design to grab their attention, a minimal set design, a black cloth as backdrop along with several well-placed stage lights was more than enough to put everyone in the mood. End of the Game, the fourth song of the night, was followed by crowd favorite Fields Of Gold, and more songs from his former band, Police, like Driven To Tears and Message In A Bottle.

                If there was one thing I also noticed, apart from his amazing talent, it’s how much of a generous performer Sting is. Unlike other vocalists and bassists who simply name the members of their band in one portion of the show, Sting gave each member their time to shine. Back-up vocalist Lawry displayed her vocal prowess during the 12th song The Hounds Of Winter, Miller impressed the crowd with his guitar skills in Shape Of My Heart, Tickell played the violin and even head-banged at one point, etc. Another display of Sting’s generosity was his three encore finale, which doesnt happen a lot in concerts. A tip for those who have a hard time figuring out if the show will have an encore or not? If the house lights arent on yet, there most likely will be an encore. 

The legendary singer-songwriter (at 61 how does he get his energy?)’s first encore consisted of Desert Rose,  The Police’s King Of Pain, and another Police song, Every Breath You Take. The second encore was Next To You, and the third encore was Fragile, which Sting dedicated to the victims of typhoon Pablo. With lyrics that talk about death, violence and war, it provided an unexpected poignant moment in a night filled sentimentality, love, revelry, and loads of captivating music. It was really the perfect way for legendary promoters Ovation Productions to end a successful and fulfilling 2012: by putting a legendary musician like Sting onstage to enthrall us all. Congratulations to everyone involved!

Visit: to see more photos from the concert.

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