Sting at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 6-5-13 (photos, review)By Kristopher Coe | June 6th, 2013 | 3 comments
Forget the 16 Grammy Awards and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame credentials. How many 61-year-old men can still rock skinny jeans?
Heâ€™s still got it. Stingâ€™s vocals still sound crystalline, his musical chops are uncanny and his catalog is the unabridged manifesto for Rock Theory 101. Heâ€™s the original hipster â€” and the flattery is well-earned.
For his globe-trotting â€śBack To Bassâ€ť tour that hit Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Wednesday night, Sting stripped-down the production value and offered up a no frills, no gimmicks approach show. For the opener â€śIf I Ever Lose My Faith,â€ť Sting strolled out on stage with his bass in hand like he was doing a simple sound check. No operatic stage effects, no pyrotechnics, no fluff. It was a refreshing diversion from the overwrought stage designs that most large acts rely on for theatric spunk. The hits ensued quickly from there with â€śEvery Little Thing She Does Is Magicâ€ť and â€śEnglishman In New Yorkâ€ť working the crowd into a silky web of Sting nostalgia.
If there is one knock on Sting, though, it is that his music does become a bit too self-reflexive, which can sometimes be a buzzkill. After an energized early set, the songs muddied into the lower gear of â€śDemolition Manâ€ť off 1981â€™s â€śGhost In The Machineâ€ť and the dusty â€śHung My Head.â€ť Sting regained his momentum though with vintage Police standouts â€śDriven To Tearsâ€ť and the sublime â€śMessage In A Bottle.â€ť â€śWrapped Around Your Finger,â€ť with its lush chorus and influential ’80s gloss, was stellar.
To kick off the triple encore, Sting unleashed â€śDesert Roseâ€ť and â€śNext To Youâ€ť in a mad fury. Whether you prefer him solo or adore the Police, there is no substitute for seeing a rock luminary live at Red Rocks. It is magic.
Kris K. Coe is a freelance writer, Denver-native and regular contributor to Reverb.
John Leyba is aÂ Denver PostÂ photojournalist and regular contributor to Reverb.