Sting just finished his two-night stint in Manila at The Theater in Solaire, and clearly the Englishman still has got it.
While his show in Solaire is something of a 180 degree turn from his last Manila performance at the Big Dome 10 years ago, a few important things have remained the same: Sting's artistry, his command, and sensual appeal.
He brought the house down, lifted the crowd up, buttered us up with his music, and soothed whatever frayed nerves was present.
Joe Sumner opened for Sting with an easy seven-song set. On Friday, he took the stage late at 8:05pm but very much made up for the slight delay with his eagerness, his clear appreciation for being here, and his music.
He ended his set at 8:30pm and by 8:50pm, the lights turned down low and everybody knew: It was time. Below are seven highlights that won't make us soon forget this show.
1. That's how you open a concert. Sting entered the stage in an outfit that emphasized his incredible physique: a grey tiny tee that let his muscles make themselves known, super slim black jeans and boots.
Before we could get lost in his appearance, the rockstar strapped on his bass guitar and quickly went down to business, and boy did he mean business. He opened strong with three of his most popular hits: "Message in A Bottle," "Englishman in New York" and "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic."
2. What an intimate show. Sting greeted the crowd between his third and fourth songs and made everybody feel special. He apparently kept count of his visit to the Philippines, saying this was his fourth, and then notices a little boy sleeping in one of the front rows.
This was a sign that the concert is going to be an intimate one, a complete turn around different from his last Manila show in Araneta where everything was so big and so loud, each number ending in thunderous applause.
The next three songs had Sting sitting on a stool, looking ever so cool, taking everybody out for a mellow ride.
Here you see the artist confident in his skin and in his talent. There was no extravagant set, no dazzling effects, no extra palabok, just Sting and his incredible songs.
3. Some humor and a few jokes. "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" had the well-dressed, well-heeled crowd go as wild as it can, which isn't really saying all that much.
But when Sting got to the line, "You could say I'd lost my belief in our politicians," emphasizing the last word, the crowd got it, hooting and laughing. There were not a few politicians present that evening, along with ambassadors and business tycoons.
The sleeping little boy will become a recurring theme, something of an anchor that Sting will use to ground everybody back to earth.
4. Ethereal, dreamy, and lakas maka-high! After pulling everybody back together by noticing the little boy, Sting took us to church: He begins the ethereal "Fields of Gold" with background lights making it seem like we were inside a cathedral.
On "Brand New Day," and with so much gusto, he jammed with the youngest member of his band, the harmonica player Shane Sager, playing licks originally done by Stevie Wonder.
He followed it up with "Shape of My Heart," and then with "No Rain," and by the time Sting got to "Seven Days," the crowd was already riding high on the music trip.
5. A most importance balance. Who knows how Sting does it but the evening was a careful balance of excitement and steady mellowness. At one point, the show felt like an elevated version of MTV Unplugged, where it's just the musician, his songs, and a few of his closest friends.
He does "Walking on the Moon," an unbelievable medley that included "No Woman No Cry," and in ascending to another level with "Dessert Rose," he took everybody with him. Insane.
He calls in Joe Sumner to do "King of Pain" and then he ends with "Every Breath you Take."
6. Sting's candid demeanor is so endearing. Toward the end of the Friday show, the rockstar gamely photobombed a couple's selfie, shook some lucky hands, and when the handshaking became a little too much, he comfortably made it known.
Depending on the time latecomers entered, Sting would greet them with an easy "where have you been?" or "You didn't miss much," or "you missed the entire show!"
At one point, he caught the sleeping little boy awake and introduced himself with an endearing "Hi, I'm Sting!"
7. The encore. When he left after "Every Breath You Take," the crowd, clearly big Sting fans familiar with his set list, knew the night isn't over yet. Nobody left, everybody shouted "more" and Sting relented.
He opened his encore with a smashing performance of "Roxanne" only for him to gracefully land the crowd back to earth — or take us back to heaven, we're no longer sure — with the delicate "Fragile."
Sting finished his last of two shows on Saturday at The Theater in Solaire, after which he will fly to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore for his short My Songs tour. — GMA Integrated News