|Rocky Mountain News||Lennox no opening act
Commanding set leaves headliner Sting struggling to match excitement
By Mark Brown, Rocky Mountain News
September 22, 2004
Hmmm. Is this double-bill really such a good idea?
Sting, after all, was here just a few months ago at a smaller venue with a smaller ticket price. Annie Lennox also was through here not long ago.
Turns out Tuesday night's show at the Pepsi Center was a great idea, mainly because Lennox delivered a rapturous, glorious set, leaving Sting to try and top - or at least keep up with - one of the finest performances of 2004.
Lennox was fantastic in a show in Boulder last year, but for sheer power, beauty and joy, she simply outdid herself this time around.
Because of her shifting personas in the Eurythmics and her long gaps between solo albums, it's likely much of the public doesn't have a good grasp of just how supremely gifted she is. Her fans do, however; rarely is virtually every seat at the arena filled to see what was technically the opening act.
Lennox delivered in a lively, committed and heartfelt set and a voice that can seemingly do anything, with amazing range and strong emotion. Her biggest, best songs were the biggest and best of the night, with Walking on Broken Glass and No More I Love Yous among them.
But the entire arena was rapt even during lesser-known songs such as Cold and Pavement Cracks; the force of her personality, her voice and her fine songwriting commanded everyone's attention.
She closed with her biggest Eurythmics hit, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) and the solo Why, the latter finding Lennox deep within the song, wrestling with every line as she sang it. She and her crack band basked in the adoration that poured off the crowd, which gave her a standing ovation to the very last row.
In contrast, Sting's set seemed to start with a bit of hesitation; the second song, the Police's Synchronicity II, was still a half-step slow (the same way he delivered it at the Fillmore earlier this year) and thus a half-step less exciting.
Maybe he realized what he was up against, as Every Little Thing She Does is Magic suddenly had more life than it has in years. A -duet with Lennox on We'll Be Together took the set up a few notches.
And whatever you think of Sting's solo career, he does know his strengths.
The song Fragile grows only more poignant as world events unfold, and even the war imagery on the screens behind Sting didn't seem like overkill. Overall it was a solid set with Police and solo hits, but with Lennox on the bill, Sting had knowingly put himself in a no-win situation. You gotta admire that.
Sting /Annie Lennox
Grades: Sting, B
Annie Lennox, A+
When and where: Tuesday night, Pepsi Center.