Uprooting fields of gold: Sting in Police form during Monday’s concert

It might be a good idea for Sting fans unlucky enough to have missed the legend’s Monday night performance at the Delta Center to cover their eyes now: In a gig eerily reminiscent of his “Roxanne” heyday, Sting did more than just prove he is capable of wowing audiences like he did as a younger man-he made it vividly clear his appeal is broader than ever.

The Brit stripped down his set and the number of members in his backing band-it was just Sting on bass, two guitarists and a drummer-for his “Broken Music” tour. The result was an inspiring “Message in a Bottle”-A performance that was both intimate and epic, harkening back to the past as much as giving fans hope for the future of their favorite artist.

“I’m doing this tour to get back to my roots,” Sting said, and his set list proved it.

While he played some of his biggest hits, such as “Fields of Gold” and “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You,” Sting also reached back into the depths of his discography, pulling out many songs from The Police’s library, including “Message in a Bottle,” “Roxanne” and “Every Breath You Take.”

Many in the audience sang along, with the college-aged crowd joining in on some of the more recent numbers and their parents piping in on the older stuff.

Symbolic of Sting’s transgenerational appeal, Monday’s show was set up to entice audiences both old and young. Opening act, Phantom Planet (of “O.C.” theme-song fame) kicked-off the night with much more adolescent, sunshine-pop sensibilities than Sting’s refined, lyrical style, but never seemed out of place sharing the stage with such an established musician.

At the end of Phantom Planet’s set, as the band played “California,” lead singer Alex Greenwald asked audience members to hold up their cell phones in place of lighters. The Delta Center veritably glowed with 20-something joy.

When the younger crowd cleared out and the 50-somethings walked on, cell phones went away and the majority of the audience stayed on its feet for the remainder of the night.

Sting chalked up such enthusiasm to Utah’s population.

“I know what you guys do to stay warm,” he said as he introduced his band by number of children each member had.

The loudness of contribution seemed to follow suit with virility, as Dominic Miller’s riffs were easily heard while guitarist Shane Fontayne’s harmonica work was lost in waves of Josh Freese’s drums.

Vocally, Sting was strong-which has come to be expected of the notoriously passionate performer-the whole night through.

He said he was in a good mood because he had spent the morning in the mountains of Utah.

“I was at Snowbird. I was boarding. I fell on my ass so many times, it really hurts, but it was a great day,” he said.

And it wasn’t just the artist who had such a blast-as his 80-minute set whisked by, complete with a double encore, not one face, regardless of generation, could resist the infectious ambiance of the evening.

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