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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 29, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 31
Sting and Peter Gabriel together make for a very memorable night at Key Arena
Arts & Entertainment
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Sting and Peter Gabriel together make for a very memorable night at Key Arena

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

STING AND PETER GABRIEL
July 21 @ Key Arena


An evening with two music legends, Sting and Peter Gabriel, had all the expectations of being amazing. It was certainly that and much more.

Each a respected rock group frontman, Sting of The Police and Gabriel of Genesis, as well as acclaimed solo artists, the men shared the stage for nearly three hours, performing some of their bigger hits in front of a capacity crowd at Key Arena last week, not to mention the additional appearance of a very special local guest.

Gabriel opened the show on a quiet note, singing 'The Rhythm of the Heat' from his self-titled 1982 album, but the energy level rose sharply when Sting followed with 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You,' a Grammy-winning track from his fourth solo release, Ten's Summoner's Tales. The crowd responded with cheers and claps when he landed on the time-appropriate lyrics 'You could say I'd lost my belief in our politicians/They all seemed like game show hosts to me.'

A balding, gray-bearded and fuller-bodied Gabriel, at 66, showed physical signs of aging, yet his voice was still in tact for the most part. Meanwhile, Sting looked as fit as a teenager, wearing tight jeans and form-fitting V-neck shirt with cropped, spiked hair, and sang outstandingly throughout the concert, even picking up the slack from a slow-paced, almost too-mellow Gabriel.

The two men dueted on a dramatic version of Gabriel's 'No Self Control' and then Sting performed 'Invisible Sun,' backed by a full band that supported both artists. While Sting played several numbers from his days with The Police, Gabriel barely touched his work with Genesis; the lone entry was a cover of the group's 'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight.'

Interestingly, Sting sang lead on an uninspiring delivery of Gabriel's '80s hit 'Shock the Monkey,' but Gabriel was more present and fared better on the next tune, 'Secret World.'

The audience was in for a surprise during Sting's performance of 'Driven to Tears' when in the second verse Eddie Vedder suddenly appeared at a microphone, joining him for the remainder of the song. Vedder also dueted with Gabriel on a spine-tingling rendition of 'Red Rain.'

An enthusiastic version of 'Message in a Bottle' got the entire floor level of fans on their feet, clapping and dancing along. When Gabriel was on, he was really on, such as a perfect run-through of 'Solsbury Hill,' which is perhaps his most beloved piece of music. Many people sitting in the stands throughout the arena stood up immediately when the first chords of the 1977 gem were strung. Sting further delighted concertgoers by playing a huge fan favorite, 'Englishman in New York,' from his second solo album, Nothing Like the Sun. He kept the upbeat momentum by performing a big hit from The Police vault, 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.'

An emotional tribute to Jo Cox, a British Labour Party politician murdered a month ago, was offered in song, 'Love Can Heal,' by Gabriel. Later, he led the arena in a memorable sing-along to 'In Your Eyes,' most commonly recognized as having been featured in the 1989 film Say Anything... Sting pulled out a couple more oldies but goodies, 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free' and 'Roxanne,' as audience members cheerfully bobbed their heads and swayed their bodies to the sounds of the music.

An encore included the pop classic 'Every Breath You Take' and a rousing, climactic rendition of Gabriel's 'Sledgehammer,' in which the band and backup singers danced and kicked their feet in the air uniformly during the lyrics 'I kicked the habit (I kicked the habit)/Shed my skin (Shed my skin)/Oh won't you show for me (Show for me) I will show for you (Show for you).'

These are the concerts you just can't miss. The ones you'll be talking about years from now. The ones that, despite coming up short on rent, you'll be very glad to have seen and heard in person. They just don't make musicians like Sting and Peter Gabriel anymore; those who witnessed their remarkable joint performance last week can unquestionably attest to this. The Seattle date on the duo's 'Rock Paper Scissors' tour was the only Northwest show of their world itinerary.

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