Midway through Saturday’s Constitution Hall performance, Sting announced he’d recently turned 60 years old. He was about to explain how little passing that milestone meant to him when a fan in the back of the hall interrupted to yell, “You look great, Sting!” as if the star were seeking pity.
Sting doesn’t want your pity, kind sir.
It can’t be easy being saddled with a schoolboyish nickname so far into middle age. Yet for all his years — the former Police frontman played his first solo gig 30 years ago last month — he still manages to look and carry himself more like a “Sting” than a “Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner.”
Glimpses of preciousness were only occasional, as during the Jackson Browne-ish “All This Time,” which had him crooning, “Better to be poor than a fat man in the eye of a needle.”
Sting’s hardly poor, and he’s got less body fat than the G string on the bass he plucked and danced with all night; his hip-swing interlude with his instrument on the Middle Easternish “Desert Rose” was particularly sultry. His jeans and short-sleeve T-shirt gripped his form like a sausage casing. And for anybody wondering about his fiscal fitness, before “Fields of Gold,” Sting explained that he came up with the song after buying a “house,” then stopped the tale to add a clarifying humblebrag: “It was a castle, really.” (He also confessed that life on the estate has caused him to grow less opposed to the sport of the gentry in his native U.K.: fox hunting.)
His voice shows no signs of aging, either. He stretched out the vocal cords whenever he asked his backup quintet to travel back to his vintage Police blotter: “Demolition Man” and “Next to You” were harder, faster and louder than ever. “Every Breath You Take,” a piece of pop brilliance released in 1983, has aged as invisibly as its singer.
Sting turned young fiddler Peter Tickell loose during a long jam on “Love Is Stronger Than Justice,” described as a tribute to movie westerns. Arena-rock violin solos are typically no more musically interesting than arena-rock drum solos, and they get the crowd just as fired up. Tickell’s fleet-fingered fretboard run, and the audience’s reaction, were typical.
The crowd got most kinetic when Sting came to the stage accompanied only by his acoustic guitar for a final encore of “Message in a Bottle.” As Sting sang, “Seems I’m not alone in being alone,” he had the whole room singing with him.