Sting Wraps up North American Leg of '57th & 9th' Tour on Winteriest of Nights

Sting went back to rock on his latest album. His enjoyable tour covers the entirety of a phenomenal musical career.

City: New York
Venue: Hammerstein Ballroom
Date: 2017-03-04

Although many fans expressed displeasure that the Sting show wasn't postponed and winter road conditions made travel to the NYC difficult, sometimes the show must go on. Sting concluded the North American leg of his 57th & 9th tour at the Hammerstein Ballroom on the winteriest of nights in New York City. Snowfall resulted in the closure of many public transit options and roads into NYC were made difficult to traverse. Tickets must have swapped hands though as the venue didn't seem to have an extra nook or cranny of space to spare.

And for those who made it, Sting put on a superb performance that mixed both old and new solo material as well as classic hits from The Police into a two-hour set. Though the show was not nearly as intimate as his album release shows at Irving Plaza, it was far smaller a venue than Sting had performed in last summer on his co-headlining tour with Peter Gabriel. Being a warm retreat from the get go, the show also had a family vibe -- the elder Sumner introduced his son Joe, also a musician, early in the night. (Another of Sting's children, Eliot, is a musician as well and it is uncanny how similar all their voices sound.), Joe performed a couple of tunes before The Last Bandoleros performed a short set of their own.

Sting, having already performed with the opening artists, began his proper set with two Police songs before kicking into 57th's lead single "Can't Stop Thinking About You" -- a song he had previously mentioned he wrote in a self-imposed writing prison, locked out on his balcony on a cold night (but probably warmer than this one).

StingHe performed several other new tracks and introduced many of them, including the environmental themed "One Fine Day", "Pretty Young Soldier" a rather provincial tune about a lady cross-dressing to join the army and then facing advances from a superior, and "50,000", his tribute to the music giants who had passed on in 2016. To avoid overlooking the meaning of the latter, "50,000" had a lead in from Joe Sumner singing a particularly resonant cover of David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes".

Joe Sumner was gained the spotlight again at the end of "Message in the Bottle". Before Sting began the classic Police song, he noted "I wrote that song almost 40 years ago in a little flat in London, with no one there but a cat who wasn’t interested in what I was doing. And to think 40 years later I’m here, with you, and you seem to know all the words - it means a lot to me." After the song, Sting continued expressing his heart by admitting he lied, before confessing there was a tiny baby in the room too -- Joe.

After many more great hits like "Desert Rose" (which had some random person on stage belly dancing), "Roxanne" and "Every Breath You Take", Sting finished the night with the reflective "The Empty Chair", a song featured in the documentary Jim: The James Foley Story, about a journalist killed by ISIS in 2014, and later reworked for 57th & 9th. Sting had been devastated after watching an early version of the film and was asked to write a song. With just his acoustic guitar, he performed "The Empty Chair" and left the audience in a more introspective state. It was a potent moment, and a fitting come down from his phenomenal set.



Spirits in a Material World

Englishman in New York

Can't Stop Thinking About You

One Fine Day

She's Too Good

Hung My Head

Fields of Gold

Down Down Down

Petrol Head

Shape of My Heart

Pretty Young Soldier

Message in a Bottle

Joe Sumner - Ashes to Ashes (David Bowie)


Walking on the Moon

So Lonely

Desert Rose


[encore break]

Next to You

Every Breath You Take

The Empty Chair

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.