Sting 3.0

Suffolk, GB
Thetford Forest

Sting showcases stunning career with Thetford Forest gig - Sting High Lodge gig in Thetford Forest offers fabulous set...

It's fair to say that Sting and I have a bit of history.

Back in July 1983 I stood in Andy's Records in Norwich with six 20p coins burning a hole in my pocket as I'd decided to buy my first record.

It was a toss up between two - Depeche Mode's tales of corporate greed, Everything Counts, or a Police record about servants and masters with a sleeve featuring Sting's piercing eyes staring back at me.

Pretty heavy stuff for an eight-year-old to weigh up.

Within a month The Police had split up, but not before I'd spent Christmas 1983 Record Tokens on the Synchronicity LP. It was Sting and The Police's last album, but my first.

And here we were four decades later reunited at High Lodge in Thetford Forest as an incredibly toned Sting enters the stage in a tight white T-shirt, with bulging biceps, fronting a three-piece outfit. Nothing much has changed.

"I've never been to Suffolk," he tells the crowd before launching into Fields of Gold, a song that seemed apt on a steamy night in the forest in which he went through plenty of old and new material.

Sting had hit shuffle on a career playlist that darted around the decades and eras from surfing the new wave of cool with the white reggae jams of Can't Stand Losing You to the quirky solo hit about cultural differences across the pond, Englishman in New York.

It worked though.

One minute we were Walking On The Moon from the final months of the 70s, the next we were taking in the Shape of My Heart from the early 90s when Sting's output was more middle of the road than a row of cat's eyes.

Sting was funny, chatty and relaxed and seemed to be having the time of his life. All The Police material was, of course, well received but it's perhaps important to remember that he was all but done with the band by the time he was in his early 30s and has a wealth of solo material to include in a 90 minute set.

So the slower, more introverted songs such as Mad About You, Why Should I Cry For You? and Desert Rose are included to drop the mood down a tad, but Sting is soon ready to pick it up towards the end.

There's couple of tracks to keep us Synchronicity fans happy, the superb King of Pain, for me his best song of the night, before it launches straight into Every Breath You Take, a song I thought he would have given more time to and made a bigger deal of, but it felt a little buried among the sing-a-long nature of The Police's better songs.

Sting, you were magnificent. We ay-ohed with you in the all the right places, we were your backing singers to Roxanne in the fabulous encore and it was all down to you that this largely middle-aged crowd dad-danced and mum-moved to your brilliant career-spanning songs.

Just like my first vinyl purchase, you had us Wrapped Around Your Finger.

(c) Norwich Evening News by Nick Richards

Sting at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, and his ‘effortless and faultless’ performance...

Following lively performances by Nottingham group Girlband! and Aussie sisters Germein, last night’s sell-out High Lodge, Thetford Forest crowd was eager to see its headline act.

And shortly before 9pm, he appeared. There were no frills or surprises, just an hour and a half of hits from legendary singer Sting, who could easily have been mistaken for a man 10 years younger than his 72 years.

In fact, watching as he effortlessly played bass guitar and delivered faultless vocals with the same distinctive voice of his youth made me wonder if there is something to be said for his much-publicised daily yoga routine after all!

As former frontman of The Police, Sting kicked the night off with the band’s Voices Inside My Head, which quickly segued into Message in a Bottle, with audience members happily singing along to the repeated lyric “sendin’ out an SOS”.

After short introductions to his guitarist Dominic Miller and drummer Chris Maas, the Grammy and Brit award-winner went on to perform hit after hit, with crowd-pleasers Englishman in New York, Fields of Gold, Walking on the Moon, Desert Rose and Every Breath You Take among the songs that followed.

The delivery was such the Wallsend-born star, who grew up in Newcastle, was quickly forgiven for telling the Brandon-based audience he had “never been to Suffolk before”.

There was little talk between songs, so disappointedly few opportunities to gain an insight into the musician’s life or character, but I did find a renewed appreciation for Shape of My Heart.

Learning it was a song about a professional gambler meant I heard it, as if for the first time, and was able to admire the cleverness of the lyrics. I also really enjoyed the medley of So Lonely with classic reggae song Three Little Birds, a reminder of Sting’s fondness for different music styles.

Although lacking the infectious atmosphere I have experienced at previous Forest Live gigs, Sting put on an enjoyable performance and his encore of Roxanne and Fragile was met with thundering applause.

(c) Suffolk News