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Style, confidence is Sting’s base in Vegas premiere

Updated October 31, 2021 - 6:37 pm

Sting is a man clearly comfortable in his own skin. He’s comfortable in his attire, too.

The rock star arrived in a canary (in a coal mine)-yellow suit, a black T-shirt and black work boots on Friday night to open his “My Songs” residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Conscious of his stage appearance, Sting asked if we liked the suit. Cheers. He was worried it might be “too yellow.” Never. The bumble-bee color scheme fits the name of the man born as Gordon Sumner.

Of course, a suit style has hardly anything to do with musicianship, how well the front man sings or what songs are played. He later joked that he’d seen Lady Gaga on Thursday night at Dolby Live, was “blown away” by her performance. However, he did notice she “changed costumes after every song.” He then took off his jacket and said, “This is my costume change.”

But through all of it Sting showed you can still look like a mature rock star at age of 70 while delivering hits dating 45 years. And he owned this show, a completely confident and stylish Vegas headline production.

Establishing a mood that was spirited and a tempo consistently “mid,” Sting and his crisp backing band performed most of the hits of his solo career and time with The Police. He never did mention that band specifically, but did open with a chic, unhurried take of “Roxanne,” with “Paris 1979” displayed on the screens. The curtains dropped for “Las Vegas 2021,” drawing a grateful cheer.

“Thank you for your patience,” Sting acknowledged, remarking that the residency was more than two years delayed. He later said he’d been advised that, in Vegas, you play “just the hits.”

“That’s all I have are (expletive) hits,” Sting said, drawing more cheers. It’s not far from the truth. “Every Breath You Take” was awarded by Broadcast Music Inc. as the most-played song in radio history. But he did perform a couple of selections from his latest album, “The Bridge,” including “Rushing Water” and “If It’s Love,” in which he sings several segments.

He explained that he has often heard folks whistling his songs during day-to-day activity, washing windows and such.“When you hear someone whistling your song, you know it’s a hit.”

The superstar made judicious use of his surroundings. “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” featured video of pinwheeling fireworks. A starry night flourished in “Walking On the Moon.” A sea of vintage, black-and-white TV screens backs “Every Breath You Take.”

But primarily, its the front man and his band, working together through his deep catalog of hits. Throughout, Sting plays his favorite instrument, a scarred but trusty 1957 Fender Precision Bass he’s owned for a quarter-century.

The headliner is casual and confident in his dialogue with the crowd. He described moving from the city to the English countryside, “Into a little house … OK, more like a castle.” The estate is surrounded by rolling barley fields. “Fields of Gold” is that ballad. The artist dedicated the song to his wife, Trudie Styler, who was in the audience, a moving touch to the residency premiere.

The team of players included the father-son tandem of veteran guitarist Dominic Miller and his son, Rufus, who is new to the band. The familiarity is evident. For “Brand New Day,” Shane Sager plays the familiar harmonica licks, performed by Stevie Wonder in the studio. Sting reminds the crowd of Wonder’s contribution and said, “You have some big shoes to fill. Are you up for it?” Sager gave a quick grin and performed the pieces perfectly.

The show ended with a return to “Roxanne,” the familiar original version; “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” “Next To You” and a soft landing with the acoustic “Fragile.”

At the close, drummer Josh Freese hustled over to Sting’s side for the final bow, and energetically slapped his outstretched hand. It was a sign of excitement, something a teammate would do after a score. It was the right move. Looking like a champ, the man in yellow won the night.

The Bev!

We had a drop-in from the actor who portrays Bébé François in “Mystere,” music from Raiders’ band leader David Perrico with Las Vegas Academy students, a quote from fabled Las Vegas arts supporter John Quincy Adams, and a parting gift of … dirt.

All of it from Friday’s “GroundTaking” at the Beverly Theater, next to The Writer’s Block at The Lucy in downtown Las Vegas. The 14,000-square-foot arts haven is set to open mid-to-late 2022. Those who took part in the event were given glass jars of soil, as original “Groundskeepers” of the project

The theater is named for Beverly Rogers of The Rogers Foundation, who was married to Vegas media mogul and passionate philanthropist Jim Rogers. Those who helped enliven the event were The Beverly Creative Director Kip Kelly, ex-Clark County Commissioner and The Rogers Foundation co-trustee Rory Reid, and RJ Owens of “Mystere.” The venerable Cirque performer showed up as an unbilled construction worker to needle Kelly, and also to recite a bit of poetry.

A sample: “Those moments are priceless … when the audience is moved to silence; stirred by something so deep, so profound — a legitimate presence, that they respond with an absence of words or even movement.” The man with the hammer nailed it.

Anyway … Expect independent film, Vegas-bred music, artistic performances, literary experiences, and educational programming every day and night of the week (Rogers has said to expect matinees, as she is not such a night owl). Also, we are interested in the CineVegas Film Festival title one day being tied to the Beverly Theater programming.

Suffice to say, we are all in with this team. As Reid quoted the esteemed JQA (John Quincy Adams), “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” The Rogers Foundation is filled with such.

A tiger in the tank

The parody musical based on “Tiger King,” starring Enoch Augustus Scott of “Zombie Burlesque,” is planning to open by Christmas at V Theater at at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. The project was originally dubbed “Tiger Thing,” and might be “Tiger Party” when it’s ready for action. Whatever the case, Scott has been working on this show for about a year, and the timing is optimum as “Tiger King 2” is set to premiere on Netflix on Nov. 17. Our only question is, what took so long?

Cool Hang Alert

The sizzling Alli Starr and the Allikats (no relation) head up the 80s-themed “Supersonic Tuesdays” party at 9 p.m.-11 p.m. Tuesdays at Cork & Thorn, 70 W. Imperial Avenue. The band’s title hints to Starr’s first name, yes, and also the alley entry into the venue. A very cool hang, and no cover, at owner Randi Garrett’s Arts District haunt.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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