Russell and Alan opening for Sting - 3rd October 2006
The venue was a beautiful, lit up church with brass ornate fittings, stained wood bannisters and large windows etc. I remember thinking that it would have been a very appropriate place for The Ordinary Fear Of God to be regaling us with their music. But Russell and Alan did their bandmates proud and although they only sang one song, Raewyn, they did so like the two consumate professionals that they are, who understand each other and work well together.
The layout of the place consisted of tables down in front of the stage area and a few rows of seats at the back. Upstairs there was a balcony in a horse-shoe shape.
To start the evening off, a musician called Dominic Miller played some songs and then introduced his daughter, (I think he told us her name was Mitzi? but I can't remember exactly) who looked to be maybe around 12 years of age. She sang a bluesy type song for us, very maturely, and was enchanting. She got a standing ovation.
Sting introduced Russell by telling the story of how he had first heard Russell's CD. He said Russell was an actor who was honing his craft as a musician while he, Sting, was a musician who was honing his craft as an an actor. LOL!! He recalled that when he first heard the MHMH CD he said to himself, "Damn - that's good!" He introduced Russell as a surprise guest, a great acting talent and movie star who's also a musician. Russell and Alan came out onto the stage to rapturous applause. Russell did an abbreviated intro to Raewyn and he and Alan sang the song flawlessly. They got a huge round of applause. Just before Sting began his set, Russell and Alan moved into their seats at their table to settle down and enjoy his performance.
Throughout the whole evening there were one or two cameras recording the whole event, including us folks in the audience. I gather this is for Sting's use, in what format I don't know. Trudi Styler was very low key and kept totally in the background, allowing Sting his limelight. He admitted he was nervous about how this new style of music (for him) would be received. But he needn't have worried as it went down very well. The melodies were beautiful and haunting and the accompaniment by the fellow on the lute was excellent. On a couple of the songs there was a small backing choir too. Sting told us tales about the Elizabethan era and how some of that history related to the songs - mentioning the ill fated love affair between the Earl of Essex and good Queen Bess as one example. The historical snippets/story telling was educational and entertaining and I wondered if he had been taking his cue from our own musical raconteur, Mr. Crowe. LOL!! At one point Sting made some quip about "sexual frustration" in that historical period but I didn't catch the punch line! He (Sting) gave us 2 encores and was also sang a chorus of "happy birthday" by the audience. He told us he was 55 (he sure doesn't look it!)
To the delight of the crowd (which I reckoned to be around 300?) Sting then did a couple of his old favourite songs adapted to a slower, lute accompanied style. One was Messege In A Bottle (one of my favourite Police songs) and the other was one of which the exact title escapes me but it was obviously popular with the crowd. During Sting's performance Russell, Dani, Alan and Keith sat in the audience with everyone else and Russell and Dani seemed to be very happy and affectionate together. Dave Oliver (Russell's stunt double whom Murph mentioned in her recent AG set report) and his wife were also there this evening. Unfortunately there didn't seem a be a proper bar in the venue but Dave did the best he could and went on a "drinks run" for us, returning with 4 small plastic cups filled with a lovely chilled white wine. I think that was all that they had in the way of alcohol. LOL!!
The whole evening lasted from 8pm until after 10pm. Russell's hair is looking thick, wavy and very "Ben Wade". Dani is looking as slim and trim as ever - who would have thought that she'd just had little Tennyson only 2 months ago?! All in all I had a terrific evening and it was great to see Russell and Alan perform again (and especially so seeing as I couldn't manage to travel to Kilkee to see them, so tonight was a lovely little bonus.) I'm going to buy Sting's new album too. I'd recommend it - very relaxing, thoughtful and very different from his usual style.
A big thank you to all who made this such a great night and here's hoping Russell and Alan can manage to find enough time while they're together again to feed their musical muse once more and come up with some new compositions to complement the old.