Musical heavyweights and all-round song-writing legends Sting and Paul Simon have just revealed that they plan to embark on a joint tour together next year, and their fans are losing their Fruit Loops.
Apparently, the pair weren’t always on the best of terms, living in the same apartment building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan back in the day. They recalled to The New York Times,
“For 20 years, this guy would be borrowing things all the time,” Sting said, “Then I heard he was a songwriter.”
Mr. Simon responded similarly, saying, “As soon as he got a chance, he moved up, hierarchically, into more elite buildings.”
Anyway, the passage of time seems to have healed all wounds with the duo finding themselves sitting side-by-side on the same stout bill.
“Paul and I both share this abiding curiosity about music and where it’s going,” Sting said. “We don’t really know where this is going. We don’t really have a clue how this is going to pan out.”
Fans have already had the opportunity to sample the joint delights of the pair’s musical stylings when Simon and Sting appeared together in May at a benefit for the Robin Hood Foundation, where they performed acoustic versions of “The Boxer” and “Fields of Gold.” “After we finished it,” Mr. Simon said of that set, “we both looked at each other and said: ‘Wow. That’s pretty interesting.’ ”
“Paul Simon & Sting: On Stage Together” is set to kick off on February 8th in Houston, and includes stops in Dallas, Seattle, Chicago, Detroit and New York City, among others, before wrapping up on March 16th in Orlando. More dates are expected to be announced soon.
Sting will undertake a 10-night residency in New York later this year to preview songs from his upcoming album, which will be his first record of new material in a decade.
The concerts will take place September 25-October 9 in the 260-seat Anspacher Theater in the Public Theater in New York City. The benefit concerts will raise money for the Public Theater in addition to becoming what is billed as the first and only time Sting will perform the songs from his new album, The Last Ship.
The album features songs from a musical of the same name Sting has been working on, and the shows will feature insights to the creative process of writing the musical in addition to the performances. The album will be released the same week the residency begins, and producers are hoping to stage a Broadway version of the musical in fall 2014.
The inspiration for the musical comes from the shipbuilding community of Wallsend, Newcastle, near where Sting grew up.
“The Last Ship is shaping up to be a masterpiece, both an elegy for and a celebration of the working-class life of the Newcastle shipyards,” said Oskar Eustis, artistic director of The Public Theater, according to Billboard.
Sting also spoke of the importance of the Public Theater.
“The Public Theater, a New York institution committed to supporting all of the city’s distinct communities, was a natural fit to perform this material that is, at its core, about the importance of community,” he said.
Tickets for the shows will range from $250 to $2,500, and a limited number of free tickets will be released the day of each show in the form of a lottery. Additionally, Sting will perform an additional show at the Public Theater on October 2 to celebrate his birthday. For that show, 100 free tickets will be given to Sting.com fanclub members.
The Final Four was officially in the books, but the music had just begun to play Sunday afternoon at the Big Dance Concert Series in Atlanta’s Centennial Park. The Capital One JamFest was a free concert for anyone who could pack their way into the park featuring heavyweight performances by acts like Dave Matthews Band, Sting and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. It was a beautiful spring day in Atlanta. Temperatures hovered in the 70s as the first dusts of pollen began swirling about. The crowd started to stack up on the muddy lawn to get a prime spot for what promised to be a long day of music.
Blind Pilot took the stage first. The Oregon indie folk group were an eleventh hour addition to the line-up and weren’t even listed on the NCAA’s site a couple days ago. Needless to say, we came in on their last handful of tracks. The first artist of our day was the beautiful Grace Potter. She and her band of Nocturals hit the stage around 4 and kicked their set off with “Hot Summer Night” from their self-titled album. They were last in town a few month’s back at Star 94s Jingle Jam and were the highlight of the evening. They’ve been on the road constantly since, recently wrapping a European tour. The band has a busy summer planned. They have nine festival dates on the calendar as well as supporting fellow JamFest players, The Dave Matthews Band, on select dates.
Potter spent her day trading turns behind the piano and manning the electric guitar. Its rare to see a musician so comfortable at both. The setlist spanned the spectrum of the band’s four albums, not showing any favoritism. Potter’s soulful voice added body and umph to great tracks like “Paris (Ooh La La)” and “Never Go Back.” The band even got a little nostalgic, pulling out Tom Petty’s “American Girl” to charge up the crowd. Grace Potter was having a blast onstage, dancing around and was barefoot by the end. The hour long set was pure emotion and the perfect introduction to Sting.
It is baffling that Sting wasn’t the headliner of this event. That comment is certainly no knock on the Dave Matthews Band, but just shows how stacked this mini-line-up was. Sting hit the stage at 6pm. He may be 61, but he certainly doesn’t look it. All that healthy living he’s become known for (yoga, running, Macrobiotic diet) seems to suit him. The Brit rock star wasted no time with introductions, biting right into “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You.” The man just personifies rock star, walking out on the stage in tight jeans and a ratty t-shirt that he could have just finished painting the house in. He was also remarkably tan.
The set moved on into some lesser known Police and solo tracks before he started reeling off the hits. He played “Fields Of Gold” which he says was inspired by his castle. The crowd really got charged up when he teased out the first few notes of “Message in a Bottle.” At once, the Police had come to Atlanta even though Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland were no where to be found. Once he riled up the crowd, he never really let them settle back down. He played the Police’s Greatest Hits from “Roxanne” and “Walking on the Moon” to “King of Pain” and “Every Breath You Take.” While it was great to hear all of these 80s masterpieces, they weren’t quite as sharp as when he toured Atlanta with the group on their reunion tour a few years back.
The park was comfortably packed by the end of Grace Potter, but it was beyond overflowing by the time Sting finished digging into his guitar. Someone really needed to shut off the tap of people as even the walking lanes were hopelessly bogged down with bodies. The announcer said there was 60,000 people filling the park, but that had to be grossly underestimated. At some point, the fire marshal did intervene, shutting down the park. You could see the crowds start stacking up outside the gates, filing up the sidewalks and taking over the streets just to get a taste of the sweet nectar of Dave Matthew’s sound. DMB sold out Piedmont Park by himself a few years back. A free show with Sting in a much smaller expanse was a recipe for disaster.
After much anticipation, Dave Matthews and company took the stage at 8pm. Dave entered the stage flailing about making crazy faces. He owns one of the most expressive faces in music almost like his facial contortions are the only way the notes will get out. The band’s set started with “Don’t Drink the Water.” The seven-man ensemble sounded fluid and tight as they found their way into the groove.
The band seemed to be using the Centennial Park show as a warm-up for the massive 47-date summer trek that kicks off at the end of the month. They are set to tour on their 2012 release Away From the World which got its fair share of love in the setlist. They confirmed their reputation as one of the premiere jam bands by stretching songs to their limits as Dave spent time dueling with violinist Boyd Tinsley and sharing the beat with drummer Carter Beauford.
DMB sampled tracks across their extensive album catalog for the Centennial Park set ensuring their was a little something for everyone. Matthews even started playing “Message in a Bottle” as a tribute to Sting before he broke off and set sail into “Crush.” The crowd was loving every minute of their set framed against the lights of the beautiful Atlanta skyline.
I don’t know that you could have asked for anything more from the Capital One JamFest. Huge kudos go out to the NCAA and Capital One for putting on this free event. I know this concert series has become mandatory event for host cities of the Final Four, but they pulled out the big guns to really give this weekend concert series national significance. The only gripe I had was just having something of this magnitude at Centennial Park. I understand that the series had to be within walking distance of the Dome, and I do miss concerts in the park. Its just the footprint of the park couldn’t possibly accommodate the masses that descended upon it. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that many people on the streets of downtown Atlanta before. It was like a Falcons game times two maybe three.
Space concerns aside, this was a great event for Atlanta natives, visiting Final Four fans and even those streaming it from the comfort of their home. Maybe its time to start booking flights for Dallas in 2014.
Grace Potter Centennial Park Setlist
Atlanta, GA : April 7, 2013
Hot Summer Night
Never Go Back
Stop the Bus
Nothing but the Water (I)
The Lion The Beast The Beat
Paris (Ooh La La)
Sting Centennial Park Setlist
Atlanta, GA : April 7, 2013
If I Ever Lose My Faith in You
I Hung My Head
Driven to Tears
Fields of Gold
Message in a Bottle
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
The Hounds of Winter
Walking on the Moon
King of Pain
Every Breathe You Take
Dave Matthews Band Centennial Park Setlist
Atlanta, GA : April 7, 2013
Don’t Drink the Water
Funny the Way It Is
Belly Belly Nice
Shake Me Like a Monkey
Why I Am
What Would You Say
Pantala Naga Pampa
Dave Matthews Band, Sting, Muse, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals and Zac Brown Band will be among the performers for the 2013 NCAA Big Dance Concert Series in Atlanta presented alongside the NCAA Men’s Final Four tournament.
While the basketball games will be played in the Georgia Dome, the concerts will be held down the street in Centennial Olympic Park April 5-7. Additional performances will come from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Ludacris and Flo Rida.
Dave Matthews Band will be the headliner of the overall event, closing out the festivities on the night of April 7. The group will head out on the road this summer for an extensive tour, as they usually do.
Sting’s performance will also serve as a prelude to his summer tour. The Back to Bass tour will take him around both North America and Europe this summer. The shows on the tour will more intimate affairs than some of his recent treks, which included the former frontman of the Police playing with a symphony orchestra..
The shows at Centennial Park are free and open to the public.
“The Big Dance Concert Series is one of the most popular fan events that takes place during the Men’s Final Four weekend, and I want to take this opportunity to thank our corporate champion Capital One for its support in bringing great musical acts to the city,” said Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president for championships and alliances, in a statement. “The Big Dance is free to the public which enables everyone the opportunity to enjoy the Final Four weekend excitement regardless of whether or not they have a ticket for the games. We hope everyone has a great time at Centennial Olympic Park and the entire weekend in Atlanta.”
Last year’s Final Four was held in New Orleans, and performers during that weekend include Jimmy Buffett, the Black Keys and KISS.
2013 Big Dance Weekend Concert Schedule
FRIDAY, APRIL 5
3 : Gates Open
4:45 pm : Saints of Valory : Centennial Olympic Park
7 pm : My Morning Jacket : Centennial Olympic Park
9 pm : Zac Brown Band : Centennial Olympic Park
SATURDAY, APRIL 6
Noon : Gates Open
12:15 pm : Yacht Rock Revue : Centennial Olympic Park
1:45 pm : Macklemore & Ryan Lewis : Centennial Olympic Park
3:15 pm : Ludacris : Centennial Olympic Park
4:30 pm : Flo-Rida : Centennial Olympic Park
8:30 pm : Muse : Centennial Olympic Park
SUNDAY, APRIL 7
2 : Gates Open
4:15 pm : Grace Potter & the Nocturnals : Centennial Olympic Park
6 pm : Sting : Centennial Olympic Park
8 pm : Dave Matthews Band : Centennial Olympic Park
This year’s Chastain Park Concert Series in Atlanta will feature a slew of big name artists, including Josh Groban, Harry Connick, Jr. and Sting.
This year’s series is scheduled to kick off on April 26 with an appearance by Alan Jackson, with special guest Tate Stevens. Groban currently is the last scheduled performer, and his show will be August 18.
Other artists that will appear at the Chastain Park Amphitheatre are Willie Nelson with Aaron Lewis of Staind (May 4), Smashing Pumpkins (May 10), Daryl Hall & John Oats (May 30), Joan Baez & Indigo Girls (June 14) and Heart with Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience (June 20).
Chastain Parks’s website points out that there are typically around 24 shows each season, so we can likely expect more acts to be added in the near future.
The Chastain Park Amphitheatre is divided into different sections with different types of seating. Directly in front of the stage are a series of tables, which are surrounded by orchestra seating. In the very back of the venue is lawn seating. Certain shows will be designated as “No Table Setup,” in which case the tables in front will be replaced by traditional concert seats.
Most shows allow concertgoers to bring small coolers with outside food and drink, though there is also food available at the venue at concession stands and through caterers.
The summer concert series kicks off with a hometown show of sorts for Jackson, who was born in Newnan, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta. Jackson put out his last studio album, Thirty Miles West, in June of last year. The album is his 17th studio album.
Before Jackson’s appearance at Chastain, he is scheduled to release Precious Memories Volume 2, his second collection of traditional gospel songs. The first Precious Memories collection was released in 2006.
Sting will bring back his “Back to Bass” tour for the third year in a row later this year.
The tour will being with a North American leg that starts May 30 at the Prospera Place venue in Kelowna, British Columbia. That tour leg lasts until a June 26 performance at the Mile One Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Other cities on the continent he will visit include San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Chicago, Atlantic City, Boston and Summerside, Prince Edward Island.
After the first leg, Sting will travel to Europe for a handful of festival dates starting at the Life Festival Oswiecim in Oswiecim, Poland. Over a two week span, he will perform in Ireland, France, Germany and Norway.
More dates are expected to be announced soon for the upcoming tour.
Each night, Sting will play stripped down versions of songs from throughout his 25-year solo career, going back to his 1985 solo debut, The Dream of the Blue Turtles. His backing band includes guitarist Dominic Miller, keyboardist David Sancious, vocalist Jo Lawry, fiddler Peter Tickell and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta.
Prior to the stripped down “Back to Bass” performances in 2011, Sting had spent two years on the road reunited with the Police, and then spent a year playing solo along with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The stripped down performances typically find the singer visiting smaller cities not on the itinerary of those massive tours.
Sting’s last studio album was 2010′s Symphonicities, which featured many of the artist’s hit songs played with the classical symphonic arrangements used on the aforementioned Orchestra tour.
In other Sting news, he will be on hand to honor Bruce Springsteen as the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year next month. Other tribute performances at the event on February 8 include Elton John, Neil Young and Mavis Staples with Jon Stewart hosting the event.
Elton John, Neil Young and Sting will be among the many artists on hand to honor Bruce Springsteen as the MusiCares Person of the Year.
These artists and more will appear at a tribute for Springsteen on February 8 in Los Angeles, two days before the Grammy Awards are held in the same city. The MusiCares honor is presented by The Recording Academy, which is also responsible for the Grammy Awards. The award honors “exceptional artistic achievement and philanthropic work,” according to The Recording Academy.
“The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will host the tribute event, and other performers include Alabama Shakes, Jackson Browne, Kenny Chesney, Ben Harper, Emmylou Harris, Faith Hill, Jim James, Juanes, John Legend, Natalie Maines, Tim McGraw, Tom Morello, Mumford & Sons, Patti Smith, Mavis Staples and Eddie Vedder, according to a press release. The performers are expected to perform songs from Springsteen’s catalog.
In addition to the tribute concert, the sold-out event also will include a silent auction, reception and a gala dinner with a live auction. Proceeds from the event go to struggling musicians with financial, personal and medical needs.
This year marks the 23rd year the MusiCares Person of the Year Award has been presented to some of music’s biggest names. Previous winners are Tony Bennett, Bono, Natalie Cole, Phil Collins, David Crosby, Neil Diamond, Gloria Estefan, Aretha Franklin, Don Henley, Billy Joel, Elton John, Quincy Jones, Paul McCartney, Luciano Pavarotti, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Simon, Sting, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder and Neil Young.
The tribute is part of Grammy Week, which will culminate with the 55th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 10, 2013. That event will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and will be broadcast live on CBS from 8-11:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
Sting has announced he will join a multitude of other artists including Adele and Dave Matthews that are contributing songs to “Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International”. All songs will be Dylan covers by some of the most high profile artists working today, and proceeds from the album will benefit the human rights group.
Sting announced that he will join the Dave Matthews Band and indie rock group My Morning Jacket for a cover of “You’re a Big Girl Now,” off Dylan’s 1975 masterpiece Blood on the Tracks. Another collaboration will find alt-country singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams teaming up with Los Angeles punk band Bad Religion to cover “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven” from 1997’s Time Out of Mind.
Although it may not be too much of a stretch to imagine Adele performing a Dylan cover—in this case “To Make You Feel My Love,” also from Time Out of Mind—Ke$ha could seem like a stretch due to the stylistic difference between her music and Dylan’s, though she says this is not necessarily the case.
When the Nashville pop singer recently spoke to Rolling Stone about the project she said, “When you think of me, you wouldn’t think of Bob Dylan. My music is more about going crazy than politics. But he’s a huge influence—he writes his own music and means what he says. I write my own music and I…mean every word I sing.”
Patti Smith will contribute “Drifter’s Escape,” from 1967’s John Wesley Harding, and punk/hardcore band Rise Against will cover the protest classic “Ballad of Hollis Brown.”
The album is set to be released in the United Kingdom on November 21 and the following day in the United States. Amnesty International was formed in London in 1961 and has grown into one of the largest and most well-known human rights organizations working today.
On Monday Sting, the British singer-songwriter, announced plans for a concert tour of North America to celebrate his solo career’s 25th anniversary.
According to Live Nation, The Police’s former frontman will be launching “Back to Bass Tour” in Boston at Citi Performing Arts Center’s Wang Theatre on October 21. It is expected that the pop icon will be playing his hits in stripped-down versions during the shows, with backing from his five piece band.
On his tour Sting will be stopping in Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto, Washington and Philadelphia. According to Live Nation, an announcement of additional dates will be made in upcoming weeks.
Starting on September 19 tickets will be going on sale via LiveNation.com and Ticketmaster.com.
“Sting: 25 Years,” a box set collection, will be released on September 27.
Sting on October 1 will be gathering in NYC with friends to celebrate his 60th birthday.
As expected, the event for the former singer of the Police isn’t going to be a small one. He will be hanging out with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Branford Marsalis, Rufus Wainwright, will.i.am, Vince Gill, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Herbie Hancock, Robert Downey, Jr., Mary J. Blige and Lady Gaga at Beacon Theatre. Most certainly at least some or maybe all these guests will be taking to the stage to perform a few songs.
Sting’s birthday party is private, however members of the Sting Fan Club can buy tickets for $270. For those who are not members of the fan club, a donation can be made to Robin Hood Foundation for those really want to go. The bash is acting as a fundraiser for the foundation. Orchestra tickets can be purchased for approximately $1000.