Wrapped around your finger....
Released on 8th of November 2019
The new live recordings that are available here form a relatively short companion release to May 2019's My Songs album in which Sting re-recorded some of his most well-known songs. They are included as part of of a new, second, "deluxe edition". The original album is still part of it.
The slightly different interpretations he gave to the songs are continued here on their live incarnations. Only eleven new live songs are included, though, although the live CD lasts fifty-two minutes due to quite a few of them being around the five-minute mark in length. The other five live cuts that appear at the end (after Fragile) were included on the deluxe edition of the original album release.
As always with Sting's live work, the musicians employed are of the highest quality (as indeed is the sound). The tracks are taken from various concerts, something that becomes clear as you hear Sting address the audience in German and later Italian. However, it has a flow to it that makes it feel like a single show. It is an enjoyable listen but not particularly essential.
Highlights are the jazzy strains of Englishman In New York, the Police classics Message In A Bottle and So Lonely (enhanced by a great Stevie Wonder-ish harmonica solo) and interesting interpretations of the slightly less "box office" numbers in the atmospheric King Of Pain, Seven Days and the Eastern-influenced Desert Rose. There are is some inventive and clever instrumentation on these cuts. Seven Days, however, I have long found to be a bit stop/start and lacking in cohesion. It is certainly so on here.
Russians, although its heart is in the right place, sounds even cornier than it did back in the eighties, but Fragile is as evocative as it ever was. Brand New Day has a beguiling appeal to it. I have always liked The Police's Wrapped Around Your Finger too. Its slightly dubby reggae tinges are done well. No matter how many times I hear Every Breath You Take I will always find it somewhat creepy, evoking visions of Sting lurking outside someone's house, watching them.
TRACK LISTING (live songs)
1. Message In A Bottle
2. Englishman In New York
3. Brand New Day
4. Wrapped Around Your Finger
5. Seven Days
6. King Of Pain
7. So Lonely
8. Desert Rose
9. Every Breath You Take
LIVE TRACKS ADDED FROM PREVIOUS DELUXE EDITION
2. Synchronicity II
3. Next To You
4. Spirts In The Material World
5. I Can't Stop Thinking About You
Basically, if you like Sting's music then you will enjoy this and consider it worth owning, if you don't like him or think he should have retired or whatever, then you will probably moan about it. It's as simple as that.