Englishman in Chicago

Sting - Lyle Lovett

New World Music Theatre - Tinley Park

July 30, 1996

First Appeared in The Music Box, September/October 1996, Volume 3, #6

Written by John Metzger

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Sting passed through Chicago at the end of July and delivered a fine performance, mixing musical styles while delivering his message. Boldly opening with three songs off Mercury Falling, his latest release, Sting quickly set a playful tone for the evening. The Hounds of Winter crept in slowly before giving way (with Sting howling) to the unusual beat of I Hung My Head. I Was Brought to My Senses closed out the set-opening trilogy with guitarist Dominic Miller locking onto Sting's bass pattern to present a bouncing beat. It was at this point that keyboardist Kenny Kirkland, saxophone player Butch Thomas, and trombonist Clark Gaton broke free for the first jam of the evening.

Throughout the concert, Sting mixed in several of the anticipated Police songs, including a spirited Every Little Thing She Does is Magic. Sting's own Seven Days followed with Thomas providing some lofty saxophone fills to compliment Sting's vocals. The band floated back through Every Little Thing She Does is Magic before landing firmly in You Still Touch Me.

One of the highlights came as Lyle Lovett and his pedal steel guitar player joined Sting on stage for the western-style I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying. It was a wonderful addition that really made this song stand out. Synchronicity II was fierce, with Miller slashing guitar licks like daggers, building the emotional stress of the rush-hour hell. Roxanne started about as true to the original as Sting has performed in years, but later exploded into a jazzy trombone solo and audience sing-along.

Sting kept a tight reign on the band, allowing the group to burst their imaginary boundaries only briefly before being pulled back to the melody. On When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around, the band traveled far and fast, led by keyboardist Kirkland.

Englishman in New York closed out the show, encompassing a one-verse rap from Thomas that smoothly slid in and out of the center of the main song. The rap told the story of Sting from teacher to musician, as Sting drove home his point with an audience sing-along be yourself, no matter what they say. The encores were fairly routine with the exception of a beautiful, acoustic rendition of Fragile.

Lyle Lovett opened the show with an impressive blends of styles. He performed a number of songs off his latest release The Road to Ensenada. His 60-minute set was captivating with Private Conversation providing its most memorable moment.

Mercury Falling is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!

The Road to Ensenada is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!

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Copyright 1996 The Music Box