2004-07-20 Annie Lennox - Sacred Love Tour With Sting - Target Center - Minneapolis - The USA


Artist : Annie Lennox

Date : 2004-07-20

Tour Name : Sacred Love Tour With Sting

Country : The USA

Town : Minneapolis

Venue : Target Center






Pioneer PressWhen Sting was planning a summer tour for arenas and amphitheaters, inviting Annie Lennox along probably seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, the two Londoners had so much in common: Both hit the early-'80s pop charts in the company of bands washed ashore by the British "new wave" (he the Police, she the Eurythmics) before finding solo success with a more pop-inflected approach. And, coming off a winter theater tour (which stopped at Northrop Auditorium), Sting likely needed a little box-office boost if he was going to attract some of the same fans who dished out the dough to see him earlier this year.

But perhaps Sting didn't anticipate that he was setting himself up to be upstaged. For it became clear during their concert at Minneapolis' Target Center on Tuesday night that Lennox was the more passionate, charismatic and ultimately entertaining of the two. Offering a set that fell short of Sting's in length, but eclipsed it in energy, Lennox was the one who came away from the arena with the 8,000 in attendance in the palm of her hand.

Tuesday night's performance showed Lennox to be an artist reaching the peak of her powers. It now seems clear that during those years spent being queen of clubs with the Eurythmics there was a soul singer longing to burst forth. And Lennox has blossomed beautifully, bringing the house down with a set full of spine-tingling R&B balladry.

The silver-haired diva poured so much emotion into her renditions of the chilling "Cold," a slow and sorrowful "Here Comes the Rain Again" and the set-closing "Why" that she garnered a unanimous standing ovation that went on for minutes.

The challenge Sting faced was clear, but - by the time Lennox joined him for a duet on "We'll Be Together" - he seemed to know that he'd lost the struggle for the audience's affection. That said, he and his seven-piece band didn't give up without a fight. Songs from his latest album, "Sacred Love," that seemed sleepy during his last local stop had considerably more punch this time around, with "This War" bearing a rough, rocky energy ideally complemented by the gentle rendition of "Fragile" that followed.

But large-scale projections of topless hula hoopers and strippers tossing off their evening wear proved a distraction, leaving one to wonder if Sting is as comfortable in the spotlight as he once was. But, if he wants to be upstaged, he's found the perfect partner in Lennox.
Star TribuneConcert review: Rare show of raw emotion
Chris Riemenschneider
Star Tribune
Published July 21, 2004

Sting might have been the king bee at Tuesday's Target Center concert, but Annie Lennox had all the buzz.

From two of the leading U.K. pop bands of the 1980s -- the Police and Eurythmics, respectively -- each singer smoothly made the transition to the adult-contemporary music world as soloists in the 1990s. Their different approaches were on full display Tuesday, though, as Lennox had spunk and verve, while Sting coasted on New Age vibes.

Just slightly less so than his albums, Sting's concerts have become as conventional, numbing and self-serving as all those back-massage chairs on sale at the Sharper Image. Tuesday's 100-minute set did not differ a whole lot from his last Minneapolis performance, in February at Northrop Auditorium. The most noticeable difference was probably Tuesday's elaborate stage and giant video screen, offering oh-so-mystical images of belly dancers, mountains and moonscapes (oh, my!).

Lennox, on the other hand, has only done two tours in the past 10 years, and neither came to the Twin Cities. Sting even called her appearance "a very rare treat" when he came out to introduce his "very dear friend." The two later performed together during Sting's slot, charmingly dueting their way through his jazzy '90s hit "We'll Be Together." But even that wasn't as spirited as Lennox's entire set.

Coming out in torn jeans, stylish shades and short hair as golden as her voice, the Scot looked and acted half her 49 years. Hers was the rare performance -- much less the rare opening set -- that started out mighty with "Legend in My Living Room" and only got stronger and stronger.

Her soulful power-ballad "Cold" couldn't have been hotter, hushing the crowd to pin-drop quiet in some parts and bringing her first standing ovation of the night. And that was only five songs into the 13-song set. She sharply contrasted that with hard-rocking versions of "Missionary Man" and "Sweet Dreams," in which she strutted around the stage with her microphone in hand, coming off like a feminine Steven Tyler (more feminine, that is).

Lennox didn't have to move anything except her wind pipes for "Why," the soaring, tear-jerker of a finale. Even rarer than an Annie Lennox concert were the chills that song provided.

Sting's set simply never rose to those heights, although his legion of 8,000 or so fans (a smaller crowd than in the '90s) was, nonetheless, enamored with his every cocky gesture.

Old favorites like "Roxanne,"Every Breath You Take" and "Synchronicity II" were wheeled out, all carrying the light-jazz baggage of his solo albums.

Maybe this tour with Lennox will convince him to put a little soul and more personality into it, or at least get his friend to tour more often.


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