Sting•Joe Sumner•September 23, 2023•USANA Amphitheatre
Reviewed and Photographed by Alisha Gregson
Saturday, September 23rd, was a brisk night at USANA Amphitheatre when the legendary music icon Sting brought his “My Songs” tour to Utah. He drew in a crowd of his most loyal fans for an awesome night of live music. The cool weather was a sign that the outdoor concert season was coming to an end. Sting’s performance was an exciting addition to the incredible lineup USANA had this year.
The English musician, Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting, became famous as the lead singer, songwriter, and bassist for the rock band The Police. As one of the world’s best-selling music artists, Sting has been very successful both with his band and solo career. As someone who grew up listening to his music, this was a concert I was looking forward to. I try not to have expectations before a show, but there were so many songs I was hoping to hear.
I arrived at the venue a few minutes into the opening performance. I was not aware of who would be opening, but my first thought was, “This guy looks like a young Sting.” Their resemblance made more sense to me when I learned the musician on stage was Joe Sumner, Sting’s oldest son.
Joe Sumner played a short but entertaining set for the crowd. He had a great voice and seemed to really enjoy performing. His set included some of his original songs like “You You You”, “Looking for me, looking for you”, and “Jellybean”. A sweet song he wrote for his daughter. He also played a cover of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?”.
Sting stepped onto the stage and wasted no time giving his fans what they wanted. Excitement washed over the crowd as the first notes began to play and they easily recognized his first song, “Message in a Bottle”. Continuing with his strong start, Sting and his band followed with a couple of my favorites, “Englishman in New York,” and “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.” I was surprised to hear such big hits in the beginning. But it was a great way to get the evening started.
When I get to photograph a show, it’s almost always during the first few songs of the set. Selfishly I wish these songs would have come later so I could have been able to sing and dance along with the rest of the crowd without having to focus on shooting. After putting my camera away I made my way to my seat to enjoy the rest of the show with the audience. Upon returning to my seat I found myself sitting next to the Professor of Rock. I have spotted his fedora in the crowd at many concerts. Once had the opportunity to attend a unique concert where he interviewed Kenny Loggins. Make sure to check out his YouTube channel. Here is an example of his great work…
In the most bizarre coincidence, when I turned around I saw the person sitting in the seat directly behind me was my Uncle, but he doesn’t have a music-related YouTube channel or a fedora, so let’s move on.
With each song performed, the audience was transported to different eras, as Sting perfectly curated a setlist that spanned his successful career. From the iconic hits of his days with The Police to his solo tracks, every moment brought a new wave of excitement to the crowd. His ability to connect with the audience added a fun element to the evening. He had a warm and captivating stage presence that captivated the crowd from beginning to end.
Sting began to talk about his home in England, not far from Stonehenge. He extended the invitation that if anyone was ever near Stonehenge they should just walk on down the road and knock on his door for a visit and a cup of tea. His next song was inspired by the barley fields that surrounded this home, “And in summertime, it’s surrounded by a sea of gold. I knew there was a song there.” This was one of the songs I was most looking forward to, and hearing him sing “Fields of Gold” live was incredible.
Sting’s voice, remarkably timeless effortlessly carried each melody. The power and range of his vocals were awe-inspiring, leaving no doubt as to why he remains one of the greatest artists of our time. The middle of Sting’s set was made up mostly of his solo songs including, “Rushing Water,” “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You,” and “Shape of My Heart.” Sting returned to playing his Police songs, starting with “Invisible Sun,” “Walking on the Moon,” and “So Lonely.”
After singing another one of his solo hits, “Desert Rose,” Joe Sumner returned to the stage. Together the father and son duo sang “King of Pain.” It was fun to see them share the stage and they seemed to enjoy performing together. Joe Sumner then joined the background singers as Sting stood center stage for the last song of the main set, “Every Breath You Take.” After walking off stage for a short moment, Sting returned to his energetic crowd for an encore beginning with a crowd-favorite song from his days with The Police, “Roxanne.” followed by “Fragile.”
I left the amphitheater feeling grateful for the opportunity to attend. It was an incredible night full of nostalgia and great music. It was exciting to see an icon as talented as Sting on stage, and the entire evening felt like a celebration of his musical talent.
Message in a Bottle
Englishman in New York
Every Little Thing She Does is Magic
If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
If It’s Love
If I Ever Lose My Faith in You
Fields of Gold
Brand New Day
Heavy Cloud No Rain
I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying
Shape of My Heart
Why Should I Cry For You
All This Time
Mad About You
Walking on the Moon
King of Pain
Every Breath You Take