July 8, 2010 – 10:02 am

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Hollywood Bowl 2010 [no label, 2CD]

The Symphonicity Tour, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Steven Mercurio, live at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA, June 15, 2010. Very good audience recording.

Is Sting going through some sort of a crisis of faith? He opens his Hollywood Bowl show with If I Ever Lose My Faith In You (surely not a typical show opener), especially with the line “You could say I lost my belief in the holy church” or was he referring to more secular matters: “You could say I’d lost my belief in our politicians/They all seemed like game show hosts to me”?

Leaving such weightier matters aside, Gordon Sumner has continued to keep faith in rock ‘n’ roll, so much so that he has elevated his pop/rock to symphonic pop/rock this time around.

As Ann Powers commented in the Los Angeles Times, “Sting’s collaboration with conductor Stephen Mercurio should give pause to the many rockers lapping up the current trend for hooking up with a string section (or more). These efforts can be exciting but just as often come off as under-rehearsed and conceptually half-baked.

“Not so this show; an all-star cast of arrangers reworked the songs, and time clearly had been spent making sure the pop musicians and orchestral players onstage would work together to create a genuinely hybrid sound. Sometimes, the drums and percussion overtook everything. But I feel that’s appropriate, since rhythm is a central element in Sting’s songwriting, even when he’s reeling out a ballad.”

The question remains - does the combination work? Some other acts may falter under such a strain but not for Sting. His solo works do have an orchestral feel so having a 45-member orchestra backing him seems most natural. The idea of a symphonic Sting can be glimpsed as far back as 1987 when he sang Gabriel’s Message on A Very Special Christmas.

The more pertinent question is whether the Police songs can bear a symphonic reading. Again, the answer is yes, simply because while the tunes have strong melodies, they are all driven by Sting’s vocals and he is on fine form here. Imagine, if the quintessential raw-powered, punk-inflected Roxanne was performed by Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours, here, it becomes a lush ballad with all its rough edges smoothened out.

But don’t expect something drastic and innovative, there are no surprises. Just a very well crafted performance of some of your favourite Police/Sting songs with real strings. [If it was well recorded, the show calls for a high-def release.] The other thing is that Sting is so much more chatty here as compared to the Police tour, where he hardly said anything of interest. It’s like if his songs don’t move you, at least his stories about being a fan of cowboy movies and his seafaring family will. He even reeled out a story about watching children on pirated Soviet televsion which provided the impetus for the song, Russian.

After such an extravagant outing, one can imagine Sting turning up with a small band for his next tour, just to take things easy. But with the BBC Proms just around the corner, treat this symphonic pop/rock as a majestic curtain raiser.

Thanks to Scooter123 for recording and sharing the lossless tracks on the Dime site and for the artwork; also thanks to ethiessen1 for the back cover.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 256 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Disc 1
Track 01. If I Ever Lose My Faith in You (Sting 1993)^ (8.4MB)
Track 02. Band Introductions (1.7MB)
Track 03. Englishman in New York (Sting 1987)* (9.3MB)
Track 04. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic (Sting)* (8.3MB)
Track 05. Roxanne (Sting 1977)* (6.4MB)
Track 06. Straight To My Heart (Sting 1987)*** (7.3MB)
Track 07. When We Dance (Sting 1994)+ (11.0MB)
Track 08. Banter re Russians (3.3MB)
Track 09. Russians (Sting 1997)* (9.2MB)
Track 10 Banter re I Hung My Head (2.4MB)
Track 11. I Hung MY Head (Sting 1996)^ (10.4MB)
Track 12. Shape of My Heart (Sting 1993)*** (8.9MB)
Track 13. Banter re Why Should I Cry For You (2.0MB)
Track 14. Why Should I Cry For You (Sting 1990)* (11.4MB)
Track 15. Whenever I Say Your Name (Sting 2003)* (12.5MB)
Track 16. Fields of Gold (Sting 1993)^ (6.4MB)
Track 17. Next to You (Sting 1977)* (5.1MB)

Disc 2
Track 18. A Thousand Years (Sting 1999)^ (11.4MB)
Track 19. Banter re Tomorrow We’ll See (4.4MB)
Track 20. Tomorrow We’ll See (Sting 1999)^ (With Chris Botti) (8.7MB)
Track 21. Moon Over Bourbon Street (Sting 1984)^^ (11.9MB)
Track 22. Banter re End of the Game (1.6MB)
Track 23. End of the Game (Sting 1999)*** (with Chris Botti) (11.0MB)
Track 24. You Will Be My Ain True Love (Sting 2005)+ (7.0MB)
Track 25. All Would Envy (Sting 1999)# (10.5MB)
Track 26 Banter re Mad About You (1.3MB)
Track 27. Mad About You (Sting 1990)^^ (7.3MB)
Track 28. King of Pain (Sting 1999)++ (10.3MB)
Track 29. Every Breath You Take (Sting 1983)** (10.8MB)
Track 30. Desert Rose (Sting 1999)^^ (with Chris Botti) (9.3MB)
Track 31. She’s Too Good for Me (Sting 1993)* (5.9MB)
Track 32. Fragile (Sting 1987)* (8.2MB)
Track 33. I Was Brought To My Senses (Sting 1996) (Acapella) (3.2MB)

TT: 2:16

^Arranged by David Hartley
*Arranged by Rob Mathes
+Arranged by Steven Mercurio
**Arranged by Vince Mendoza
***Arranged by Jorge Calandrelli
^^Arranged by Nicola Tescari
++Arranged by Robert Sadin and Daniel Barridge
#Arranged by Michael Legrand
^^Arranged by Bill Ross

Principal Personnel:
Sting - vocals, guitar, harmonica
Jo Lawry - vocals
Dominic Miller - guitar
Ira Coleman - bass
David Cossio - percussion
Steven Mercurio - conductor
Chris Botti - trumpet, as noted
London Philharmonic Orchestra

To coincide with the tour, Sting has released the studio-recorded Symphonicities. Click on the link to order the album.

  1. 7 Responses to “BRITISH LEGENDS: STING - HOLLYWOOD BOWL 2010”

  2. I heard this at another site and I must say, against all odds, I kind of liked it. The sound was pretty decent and some of the versions are growers. I’ve heard the actual release as well. I preferred Disc 1 of the boot. Good post.

    By Dave C. on Jul 9, 2010

  3. Saw this show July 6 at Mohegan Sun Casino. This
    source is the perfect memento of a great night.

    By betting turtle on Jul 9, 2010

  4. Enjoyed your review and especially enjoy listening to Sting talking between songs. Thanks for making it all available.

    By Kathy on Jul 9, 2010

  5. Saw this show in New Orleans! What a brilliant night of music it was! This is great to have to relive that night! Sting played over 2 hours that night as well! He is a great artist and performer, and has a great rapport with his fans! He played a couple of old blues and jazz tunes specific for the New Orleans scene of music!

    By Peg on Jul 17, 2010

  6. I’ve been wanting to hear this. Thanks for sharing. How about more Sting & Police? Maybe even some studio outtakes?

    By Matt on Sep 9, 2010

  7. Had such a good time at this concert, and just happened upon this. Blown away by the cover, and so happy for the copy. THANK YOU!

    By Michael on Sep 18, 2010

  8. my pbs station is showing a great performances for the first time right now. and i decided to check and see if its been on youtube yet. and lo and behold it is. according to the information it may have happened just before xmas last year. it was posted just after that and its from a small theater where i used to go to see plays and sometimes a show here and there too. not many concerts but there were some.

    a sting fan might enjoy this. check it out.

    By darth on Feb 22, 2014

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