Stung into action...
Sting's homecoming as the son of a Wallsend milkman elevated to the top of the Christmas tree in the tinsel world of rock is the stuff fairytales are made of.
Unfortunately the sun, which can do so much to make an outdoor concert a success, hid behind the clouds, and the date at Gateshead wasn't the hoped for triumph.
The 15,000 plus crowd was treated to a set full of verve, enthusiasm, immaculate musicianship and lots of smiles. The Police were glad to be back.
Sting was an arresting sight in his yellow jacket - bringing back memories of Mick Jagger at St. James Park - white trousers and tiny bass that looked like it had been cut off in its prime.
His playing, along with that of Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland, was of a consistently high standard and he pumped out those sensual bass lines with emphatic authority.
The other two were on top of their form as well, and the band, as Stewart Copeland had promised, were red hot on the night, playing better than I have ever heard them. Their distinctive, fluid sound was augmented by a small brass section of two saxophones and a trumpet.
They played against a background of a grey Gateshead skyline on a cool, overcast evening with the wind blowing their hair about, but there was nothing dull or drab about the music. It sparkled.
The band seemed to relish the opportunity to show they had lost none of their vitality or hunger. Everyone was firing on all cylinders and it was a set to savour from the spine-tingling opening of 'Message In A Bottle' to the climactic starins of the final encore. From the evocative, atmospheric 'Bring On The Night' and 'The Bed's Too Big Without You' to the raw excitement of 'Spirits In The Material World' and 'Demolition Man' was a gap they spanned effortlessly.
If this is the result of a spell out of uniform, perhaps the Police should take more breaks away from live concerts. Ernie has every right to be proud of his son.
© Newcastle Evening Chronicle by Simon Mills
Image courtesy of Dietmar