By Photojournalist Chaz Dykes of Chaz D Photography
Sting performed at the Hard Rock Event Center on Saturday May 21, 2022. I was stoked not only to photograph the show, but to get to see him live again. The last time I saw him perform was more than 20 years ago in Hampton Virginia, with the Police.
I don’t usually mention the opening act in other artist’s reviews, but this time is an exception. The opener was Joe Sumner, Sting’s son. Some may know of Joe’s work from his band called Fiction Plane. If you haven’t heard it, check it out. Joe performed solo with just a guitar. I heard several comments from people who were surprised to learn that was Sting’s son. They were amazed by how much he sounds like his dad.
Sting’s performance included songs from many of his recorded works, spanning from his days with the Police to his newest release, The Bridge. This included a country song that he wrote and recorded with Toby Keith called, “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying.” The whole night had the feel of someone who was truly grateful to be there doing what they love.
Armed with his beloved 1957 Fender P-Bass, hand made by Leo Fender, he put on a master class performance showcasing his life as a songwriter, performer, and his love for all styles of music. He would introduce songs with a funny story behind it or what inspired it. For example, while performing “So Lonely” by the Police, he broke it down in the middle and talked about how he was inspired by reggae music when he wrote it. He then transitioned into “No Woman No Cry,” by Bob Marley and then back to “So Lonely.”
Sting also took the time to make sure his band was featured, from the backup singers to the harmonica player, the drummer, and the father and son duo that were the guitar players.
He performed all the hits and then some. It was truly an experience. Everyone was up dancing to their favorite songs, and the bleachers style seats were rocking back and forth in perfect timing with the music.
The night ended with Sting sitting on a box with only an acoustic guitar and a single spotlight. He said, “I’d like to end my show on a soft note by giving everyone a sense of thoughtfulness for the ride home.” He then performed the title track “The Bridge,” from his new release.
I tried really hard to think of what I would consider the highlight of the night. But I can’t just pick one thing. To be honest, the entire night was one big highlight. I consider myself schooled.