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We could quibble that Sting played it safe Saturday night at the Winspear Opera House. We could complain that he and his stellar three-piece band - drummer Josh Freese, keyboardist David Sancious and guitarist Dominic Miller - pandered to the 30-and-up audience by giving them many familiar solo and Police tunes as well as a few album cuts from that hit-making era.

But that would be dismissing a fabulous show of musicianship, stage presence and song selection. Sting, whose performance was part of the Super Bowl XLV Kick-Off Concert Series, was in stellar artistic form. He was so good that he made us forget how coy those North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee bigwigs were about the headliner of the Sept. 10 gig dubbed "XLV Countdown Live From Cowboys Stadium."

All we know is this person is a Grammy-winner and has sold more than 40 million albums. "Contractual obligations" prohibit them from saying anything else. Instead we got banter from hosts Troy Aikman and Daryl Johnston as well as Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson and Tony Dorsett.

Sting commanded undivided attention for 90 minutes. Looking and sounding most youthful at 58, the Englishman born Gordon Sumner opened with a loosely R&B rendition of "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You." He would effortlessly travel through gems showcasing his grasp of melodies, rhythm and memorable lyrics.

The highlights were the unexpected numbers such as the sauntering "Walking On the Moon" segueing into the moody "Tea In the Sahara," or the solemn, spare "Shape Of My Heart" and the rocking "Driven to Tears." But there was also no ignoring the punk-rock energy of "Message In a Bottle," the stunning beauty of "Fields of Gold" and the sinewy, sexy allure of "Wrapped Around Your Finger."

By the time he reached the end of two encores, Sting had touched on every significant turn of his career. Closing with "Fragile," one of his most covered solo compositions, reminded us just how accomplished his repertoire has been.

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Label:  Deutsche Grammophon
Genre:  Pop, Rock, Classical
Release Date:  July 13, 2010
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review by . July 15, 2010
Oh, Sting. My affection for the man and his work gives me the courage even now to pronounce that he was the first popular artist I ever loved, first via the Police and shortly thereafter through his zany body of solo work. Then he'd fallen out of the "Artists to Take Seriously" category, but he hadn't become a joke, yet. Now Sting is one of the rudest jokes in music: it would be hilarious if it weren't such a travesty. He embodies the stereotypical "maturation" of …
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