2004-10-08 Annie Lennox - Sacred Love Tour With Sting - White River Amphitheatre - Seattle - Canada
Artist : Annie Lennox
Date : 2004-10-08
Tour Name : Sacred Love Tour With Sting
Country : Canada
Town : Seattle
Venue : White River Amphitheatre
The News Tribune
Sting, Annie Lennox fire off a hot show on a cold night
By Ernest A. Jasmin; The News Tribune
In the ‘80s, Sting and Annie Lennox were two of the hottest commodities in rock, as they fronted the Police and Eurythmics, respectively, and later as solo artists.
But it’s been a long time since they rode the New Wave to MTV superstardom. Sting long ago ditched the riff-driven reggae rock of the Police’s early days in favor of dabbling in jazz, world music and even a little country. And Lennox has remade herself as an R&B diva, in contrast to the icy, orange haired crooner who burst onto the scene with “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”
But both gave a nearly sold-out crowd at the White River Amphitheatre plenty of nostalgic moments Friday night as they delivered their biggest hits during an impressive show that lasted nearly three hours.
Headliner Sting and his seven-piece band kicked their set off with the more upbeat of the two versions of “Send Your Love,” a track from last year’s “Sacred Love” disc, with images of a belly dancer gyrating on three horizontal screens behind them.
They wasted little time before revving fans up with a flashback to 1982 with “Synchronicity II.” Neither Sting nor Lennox felt obligated to stick to straightforward versions of their songs, and the number had an uptempo, celebratory feel that belied its grim, existential imagery (especially that creature crawling out of the loch.)
Sting followed with the equally crowd-pleasing “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” before addressing the faithful who had braved both torturous traffic and cold, clammy weather to see him.
“It’s very like England,” the artist born Gordon Sumner declared. “I have to tell you that I feel right at home.”
Sting then took the energy level down several notches after introducing his band with another newer number, “Dead Man’s Rope.” Then the crowd – which clearly responded more to the classics – was back up on its feet for a funky rendition of “We’ll Be Together,” for which Lennox, who'd opened the show, re-emerged wearing a glittery jacket and what appeared to be a hair net.
“And I get paid for this,” Sting marveled after the number.
The earlier part of the set included subdued solo hits “Fragile” and “Fields of Gold;” an upbeat reggae flavored delivery of “Englishman in New York;” and “Sacred Love,” for which a voluptuous burlesque dancer emerged from backstage to dance and strip down to her skivvies. (She might have frozen had she not been shaking her rump at sonic speed, a la Shakirah.)
Backup singer Joy Rose had joined Sting to sing Mary J. Blige’s part for a soulful rendition of “Whenever I Say Your Name” as the deadline for this report approached.
This reporter was at the tail end of a painful three-hour, 22-mile trek from Tacoma and arrived with hundreds of other revelers well into Lennox’s set. He arrived in time to catch her solo hit “Broken Glass,” which the 49-year-old Scottish diva followed with a few Eurythmics hits.
“I was born an original sinner,” she sang, pausing between the opening lines of the rocker “Missionary Man” to soak up fans cheers. Her explosive delivery was topped only by snarling rendition of set closer, “I Need A Man.” Her encore began with the familiar synth riff from “Sweet Dreams,” and Lennox finished with a heartfelt version of “Why,” one of her first solo hits, followed by a long ovation.
“Thank you all for coming on such a rough night,” she said as she took a bow. “We appreciate your wetness.”
Lennox, Sting put some sizzle in drizzle
"It's very (much) like England," the British rock icon told the mammoth crowd at the White River Amphitheatre. "I have to tell you that I feel right at home."
When buying tickets days, weeks or even months in advance, one never knows what the weather will be. Friday's was a soggy mess, despite a brief fling with Indian summer the previous weekend. Those seated under the amphitheater's enormous roof stayed fairly dry, but the folks on the upper lawn had to endure drizzle. Mercifully, the rain let up a bit as the show got under way.
Sting and his co-headliner, Annie Lennox of Eurythmics fame, were grateful for the large turnout -- estimated at more than 13,000 -- under less-than-ideal conditions.
"Thank you, all you wet people!" Lennox yelled as she concluded her energetic hour-long set. "We appreciate your wetness."
Both artists offered stellar performances, mixing their most popular songs with lesser-known material from their respective new albums. The concert was part of the "Sacred Love" tour, named for Sting's current album.
Lennox took the stage after a 30- minute opening set by Sting's longtime guitarist, Dominic Miller, who played a mellow, acoustic version of "The Star-Spangled Banner," inspired by Jimi Hendrix's famous interpretation. Sting, bundled up in a tight gray jacket, joined Miller for "Shape of My Heart," a song they wrote together.
Lennox took the stage shortly after 8 p.m., dressed in a purple jacket and torn jeans, backed by a seven-piece band. She kicked off her bold, confident set with the powerful "Legend in My Living Room," in which she sang about running away from home at 17 with a "suitcase full of dreams," and with "Little Bird."
Her background vocalists offered sweet backup for "No More I Love Yous" and "Cold." Lennox noted the aptness of "Here Comes the Rain Again."
Lyric phrases from Sting's current album, "Sacred Love," were projected on a scrim as the singer-bassist and his seven-piece band took the stage. They opened with the powerful techno-rocker "Send Your Love," bringing the crowd to its feet. In addition to the venue's two fixed screens, Sting had a multiscreen backdrop displaying animated videos and film clips of dancers from many cultures.
The soaring "Synchronicity II" and "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" thrilled the crowd. From there, Sting settled into the haunting "Dead Man's Rope," while eerie images of a solar eclipse and a dancer with a hula hoop played on the video screens. The R&B-flavored "We'll Be Together," a duet with Lennox, offered a dramatic contrast. As it closed, Lennox put her head on Sting's shoulder.
The delightful "Seven Days" preceded the melancholy "Fragile," accompanied by video depictions of oil derricks, World War II bombers and ominous imagery meant to highlight the earth's fragility. The gorgeous, romantic "Fields of Gold" preceded "Sacred Love," which Sting described as "a song about religion and Victoria's Secret."
Lennox, not Sting, provides the zing
In a classic case of stealing the show, Annie Lennox made Sting look like a tired old dilettante Friday night at the White River Amphitheatre.
While she had the big audience in the palm of her hand throughout her hourlong set and earned several standing ovations for her exciting, rapturous, soulful performance — one of the best I've seen in years — he came off as pretentious, bored and on automatic pilot.
An attempt to liven up his set with a stripper, who got down to almost nothing but goose flesh in the cold night air, wasn't sexy so much as it was cheap, awkward and out of place, coming as it did during the title song of his new album, "Sacred Love." You could almost feel some of the many women in the audience losing interest in him at that point.
The songs from the new disc were even more boring than they are on the recording, especially those that were extended with pointless jams. The weirdest moment of the show came at the end of the main set, before the encore, when Sting and his seven-piece band managed to drain all the life and fun out of "Roxanne," which he oddly pronounced "Roxanno," and had the audience chant that back to him.
It went on and on. When he left the stage at the end of it, all you could think was: What the heck was that?
Sting used to be an entertaining, lively performer who could make audiences dance, think and be moved. There were hints of that during a lively but too short "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" and a sweet, unaffected "Every Breath You Take," one of the encore songs. Other than that, it was pretty much a bust.
But, oh, that Annie Lennox! She came on like gangbusters, looking mighty good for someone who's approaching 50. Dressed in a tight, sequined-jeans outfit with holes in the knees, and with her blonde hair cut short, she swayed, glided and rocked across the stage as she sang with fire and purpose, in a voice richer and warmer than ever.
Her heart seemed to be in everything she did, from the determination of "No More 'I Love You's' " to the soulfulness of "Missionary Man" to the rocking "Walking on Broken Glass."
Bob Marley's "Waiting in Vain" was beautifully sung and very emotional. "Cold" was equally shimmering and beautiful. The Eurythmics' "I Need a Man" was lots of fun, and she managed to invest "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" with swagger and sass, just as she did two decades ago. She ended with a sweetly swaying "Why" sung to perfection.
More! More! Lennox has got to capitalize on this triumph with a tour of her own, the sooner the better.
The usual hellish traffic jam developed on the freeways to the venue, made worse by the rain. It took three hours to get there from Seattle. But it was more than worth it, thanks to Annie Lennox.