Unlike his old buddy, Phil Collins, who now claims to be considered the “Antichrist of Music”, public consensus on Sting seems elusive. His popularity in the States has never wavered, but back home, it’s difficult to tell if the "tantric" one is generally considered to be something better or worse than a guilty pleasure. Last night, however, Sting was not suffering from any self-doubt. Nor lack of stamina. It was two and a quarter hours of flat-out “back to basics”. Or "Back to Bass", as he’s called this tour.
The stage was bare save for a drum kit, some cables and five mic stands. It was probably the most minimalist stage he had inhabited since his 2008 Police reunion. And there was no support act. Despite having the guitarist’s son performing on stage, Sting’s daughter’s band wasn’t invited to play this time. Everything was simplicity. On one side of the stage was a capacity crowd of well-heeled AOR fans, including actor Richard E Grant. And on the other was an impressively built 60-year-old in a tight T-shirt, looking like Stephen Berkoff with a bass strapped to him.
His various attempts at being a renaissance man – including literally playing renaissance music – have often felt a bit thin