Sting enthralls an intimate Fillmore crowd with a career-spanning set

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Sting | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN | <a href="http://moonloopphoto.com/" target="_blank">moonloopphoto.com</a>
Sting | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN | moonloopphoto.com

Kudos to whoever was able to convince Sting to play The Fillmore in Philly, what a great booking. Packed with a crowd of just over 2000 enthusiastic fans, I expected the smaller show to be driven by new material by Sting’s recent 57th & 9th release from last year, or something more experimental. He clearly had other plans. Sting came out promptly at 8 p.m., and sat down for a solo acoustic version of “Heading South on the Great North Road.” He then left the stage for a brief warmup set from his backing band the Last Bandoleros as well as his son Joe Sumner. It has something of an old R&B feel to it with the young band just getting the crowd ready.

Sting | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN | <a href="http://moonloopphoto.com/" target="_blank">moonloopphoto.com</a>
Sting | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN | moonloopphoto.com

With the Fillmore lights spinning in full color, Sting’s opening salvo was tough to top. Coming right out with “Synchronicity 2” and following with “Spirits In the Material World,” Sting got everyone engaged for a night that was not simply going to be new material. He talked about his first time in Philly, at a place called Grendel’s Lair (an old South Street location), that he said we were all “way too young to remember.” With a 90-plus minute set that wove new tracks from 57th & 9th within a greatest hits of Police and solo tracks, and even the obligatory Bowie cover (a spirited “Ashes To Ashes” duet), he paced the crowd the like a true professional. “Message In A Bottle,” “Englishman In New York,” “Walking On The Moon,” “So Lonely,” “Every Breath You Take,” and “Fields Of Gold”…all on point and beautifully presented in the Fillmore frame.

Sting | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN | <a href="http://moonloopphoto.com/" target="_blank">moonloopphoto.com</a>
Sting | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN | moonloopphoto.com

Even after over 40 years of performance, it’s nice to see Sting clearly having a good time, backed by a much younger band but still with staples like Dominic Miller on guitar and Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails) on drums. And musically he’s lost nothing – his voice, stage presence and enthusiasm show him still at the top of his game, leaving 2000 very lucky fans with something very special. Perhaps not as special as seeing The Police in 1978 at Grendel’s Lair, but special nonetheless.

Below check out a gallery of scenes from the show, as well as the setlist and an assortment of videos from YouTube user Jim Powers.

Setlist
Heading South on the Great North Road
Synchronicity II
Spirits in the Material World
Englishman in New York
I Can’t Stop Thinking About You
She’s Too Good for Me
Down, Down, Down
I Hung My Head
Fields of Gold
One Fine Day
Petrol Head
Shape of My Heart
Pretty Young Soldier
Message in a Bottle
Ashes to Ashes
50,000
Walking on the Moon
So Lonely
Desert Rose
Roxanne / Ain’t No Sunshine
Next to You
Every Breath You Take
The Empty Chair




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