Photos: Sting at Red Rocks for his "Back To Bass" tour - Reverb

Sting at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 6-5-13 (photos, review)

Forget the 16 Grammy Awards and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame credentials. How many 61-year-old men can still rock skinny jeans?

He’s still got it. Sting’s vocals still sound crystalline, his musical chops are uncanny and his catalog is the unabridged manifesto for Rock Theory 101. He’s the original hipster — and the flattery is well-earned.

For his globe-trotting “Back To Bass” 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 “If I Ever Lose My Faith,” 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 “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and “Englishman In New York” 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 “Demolition Man” off 1981’s “Ghost In The Machine” and the dusty “Hung My Head.” Sting regained his momentum though with vintage Police standouts “Driven To Tears” and the sublime “Message In A Bottle.” “Wrapped Around Your Finger,” with its lush chorus and influential ’80s gloss, was stellar.

To kick off the triple encore, Sting unleashed “Desert Rose” and “Next To You” 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.

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Kris K. Coe is a freelance writer, Denver-native and regular contributor to Reverb.

John Leyba is a Denver Post photojournalist and regular contributor to Reverb.

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  • DG

    These are great photos, but you’d think the band was made up solely of Sting and Vinnie. Peter, Jo, Dominic, and David play huge roles in these performances…at least a single close-up of each would have been nice.

  • test

    It sounds like the author didn’t like the slower songs. “I Hung my Head” was incredible. I didn’t find it “dusty” at all. I like to hear some of the lesser known songs. Part of Sting’s genius is taking odd metered songs and making them feel natural. His talent is incredible.

  • Linda bear

    Great piece on Stinng. wish I could have been there with you