The largest gothic cathedral in the United States was a musical haven to rock star Sting and a sea of international musicians last night. Sting, who is performing two sold out shows December 8th and 9th at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, played songs from his latest album called If on a Winter’s Night …, “a seasonal contemplation mixing traditional English songs and carols with his own The Hounds of Winter and Lullaby for an Anxious Child.” Sting performed about 20 beautiful songs along with two encores to-what I am estimating-a few hundred people, who in my view, came from the tri-state area.
And St. John the Divine was the perfect backdrop for Sting and his musicians. The entire Cathedral looked magical. My guess is Sting’s production company was filming the entire concert from start to finish. Make-up on the ladies was perfectly done and all of the men and women were dressed in black tie for the camera that was located stage left and roaming.
What was fascinating about the concert was every musicial instrument imaginable was on the stage and played. Some I recognized and some I did not. The women who played the harp was interesting.
As for the music, it was the antithesis of what I have always known about Sting, which is generally rock music and a devout yogi. Sting was more of an opera star last night than a rock star, which goes to show the range of this artist. The music and the venue tied together perfectly. It made me feel like I was watching a performance for the King of England or an episode of Showtime’s The Tudors. It felt majestic, yet most of the songs performed were calming and appropriate for the holiday season. My favorite songs were Christmas at Sea, Ghost Story, which Sting said was about his father, and Lullaby For An Anxious Child. For the Lullaby song, he brought out the Newark Boys Choir on stage. They did a wonderful job singing with Sting and what a great opportunity for them. Way to go Newark Boys Choir! However, my question for Sting is “why didn’t he use the Harlem Boys Choir to perform with him?” I have no ill will against the Newark Boys Choir, but Sting was technically in Harlem last night. It would have been a nice and a respectful acknowledgment toward the Harlem community. Oh well, maybe next time.
Overall, the show was beautiful and well worth its price. I guess I was one of the few who was able to purchase tickets online in the first nine minutes when they were made available. Apparently, that is how long it took for both shows to sell out.