Sting has the audience in the palm of his hand at the Dresden Music Festival

GermanyGermany Dresdner Musikfestspiele 2024 [7]: Sting (vocals, bass guitar), Dominic Miller (lead guitar), Chris Maas (drummer). Halle 1, Messe, Dresden, 25.5.2024. (MC)

Sting and band at Dresden Messe © Oliver Killig

Each year internationally famous soloists and orchestras are invited to the Dresdner Musikfestspiele primarily from the classical music world. There are also several concerts from performers of other genres. In the last few years jazz singer-songwriter Gregory Porter has appeared and Eric Clapton the rock/jazz guitarist and singer song writer.

Sting and his band had a full house for their concert at Halle 1, Messe, Dresden. This was the first date of his ‘Sting 3.0’ tour to Europe and the USA. Fusing a range of styles The Police was formed in 1977 in London, consisting of frontman Sting (lead vocals, bass guitar, principal songwriter), Andy Summers (lead guitar) and Stewart Copeland (drums, percussion). My admiration for The Police goes back to its debut album ‘Outlandos d’Amour’ released in 1978. At the time of its disbanding in 1986 the line up hadn’t changed through five studio albums through to ‘Synchronicity’ a massive hit in America.

The split came at the height of the band’s popularity and receipt of album industry awards. At this time some music writers acclaimed The Police as ‘the biggest rock band in the world’. Although Sting had been appearing with other singers and bands, he released his first solo album ‘The Dream of the Blue Turtles’ a collaboration with several jazz artists in 1985. Up to 2021 Sting went on to record fifteen solo albums, many of which I don’t know too well.

Sting’s band members comprise lead guitarist Dominic Miller a valued sideman since 1991 and drummer Dominic Maas. Sting himself provides vocals and plays bass guitar, occasionally swapping for an acoustic guitar. By my counting Sting and band played an ambitious programme of twenty-two songs mainly thrilling rock anthems and one or two intimate ballads on acoustic guitar. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sting was the writer or involved in the writing on all the songs.

The mix of songs was several of The Police classics including ‘Message in a Bottle’, ‘Fields of Gold’, ‘Walking on the Moon’, ‘Roxanne’, ‘Every Breath You Take’, ‘So Lonely’ and ‘Can’t Stand Losing You’. From his solo career Sting’s hits included ‘When the Angels Fall’, ‘Never Coming Home’, ‘The Hounds of Winter’, ‘Englishman in New York’ and ‘Desert Rose’. Clothed all in white, a slim, fit looking Sting, always the professional, didn’t appear his age and his voice was in good condition. These songs are timeless and sound as fresh today as when I first heard them. Taking the lengthy programme in his stride, singing the lyrics on every song whilst playing bass guitar, Halle 1 was full to bursting and Sting had the audience in the palm of his hand.

Michael Cookson

Featured Image: Sting at Dresden Messe © Oliver Killig

Sting setlist:
‘Voices Inside My Head’
‘Message in a Bottle’
‘Synchronicity II’
‘Driven to Tears’
‘Fields of Gold’
‘Never Coming Home’
‘When the Angels Fall’
‘A Thousand Years’
‘Tea in the Sahara’
‘The Hounds of Winter’
‘Mad About You’
‘Fortress Around Your Heart’
‘Can’t Stand Losing You’
‘Englishman in New York’
‘Shape of My Heart’
‘Walking on the Moon’
‘So Lonely’
‘Desert Rose’
‘King of Pain’
‘Every Breath You Take’

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