Sprightly Sting gets standing ovation from 9,000 sold-out crowd

Singer-songwriter and musician Sting may be 61, but the veteran entertainer has more in him than even people half his age. (Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures)Singer-songwriter and musician Sting may be 61, but the veteran entertainer has more in him than even people half …

The only things that betray English singer-songwriter-musician Sting's age are the wrinkles and lines on his skin.

Apart from that, one wouldn't have been able to tell he is 61-years-young.

His stamina, strength and vocal power never flagged once throughout his two-hour concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Thursday night. By the end of the night, the legendary bassist had the crowd -- all 9,000 of them -- up on their feet and eating out of his hands.

"It's good to be back in Singapore after four years!" he crowed as he kicked off the show  with classics If I Ever Lose My Faith In You, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic and Englishman In New York.

Right from the get go, he got sections of the crowd -- a good mix of locals and expats in their 30s and above -- on their feet, clapping, cheering and singing along gamely to his hit songs.

With some 30 years of experience under his belt working the music circuit, Sting knew exactly how to work his 9,000-strong audience. (Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures)With some 30 years of experience under his belt working the music circuit, Sting knew exactly how to work his 9,000-strong …

In the classic manner that comes with pre-Auto-Tune-era performers, Sting's voice rang strong and true right through a repertoire of 16 songs.

All this excluding an impressive three rounds of a total of five encore songs, possibly because the crowd's cheering and calls for more were too overwhelming and thunderous to be ignored.

Moving a 9,000-strong crowd isn't the easiest thing to do, but Sting proved himself to be every bit of the veteran entertainer he is, keeping the energy up and sustained even as he mellowed the crowd down for slower numbers like Fields Of Gold and Shape Of My Heart.

Dressed in a skin-tight sweater that showed off his still-sinewy physique, he cajoled the audience to sing along in Heavy Cloud No Rain, and cracked jokes about the rainy weather, thanking the audience for "making me feel at home".

At one point during All I Want Is To Be Next To You, a man wearing a giant bear mascot head ran up on stage and joined in the show, and Sting gamely danced and sang alongside him.

Sting fronting his band on stage at the Indoor Stadium. His band included a lead guitarist, a drummer, a keyboardist, a backup vocalist and a mandolin/violin player. (Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures)Sting fronting his band on stage at the Indoor Stadium. His band included a lead guitarist, a drummer, a keyboardist, …

Not to be outdone, his back-up band was no less gifted.

From his sole back-up vocalist Jo Lawry to Dominic Miller, his lead guitarist, who masterfully performed the trademark solos in Fields of Gold and Driven To Tears, Vinnie Colaiuta, his skilful drummer, as well as keyboardist David Sancious, who carried the band through a brilliant jazz jam segment, all were technically gifted musicians in their own right.

Deserving of special mention, though, is Peter Tickell, who played the violin both arco and pizzicato, and performed a number of wicked solos, particularly during Driven To Tears, with alarming speed and intensity. If all that wasn't enough, he also played the mandolin to accompany Sting's initial songs.

But what ultimately stood out on the night was Sting's consummate showmanship, no doubt developed over his expansive 30-year career, starting from his days helming The Police.

It's rare these days for a musician to earn a post-concert standing ovation -- during the encore song Every Breath You Take -- but that Sting did with ease, a true testament to his sheer eminence as a gifted musician and entertainer.

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