By Brian Ossip, DC Music Live
After countless Grammys and other awards, and scores of hit songs, Sting and Paul Simon join forces to put on a show that is every bit a testament to their legendary careers. In what might seem an odd pairing, the two icons brought their show to Verizon Center on March 13 in what was billed as “Sting & Paul Simon – On Stage, Together.”
Just after 8:15 p.m., the two emerged onstage together with both artists’ bands, and tore the roof off the building.
The pair kicked off the set with Sting’s 1999 hit “Brand New Day,” and continued a set that dipped into both artists’ extensive catalogs, which even saw them swapping vocals mid-song.
Alternating between combined and solo sets, the pair ran through a string of incredible tunes including “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” “Graceland” and “Walking on the Moon.”
The chemistry built throughout the years was obvious. Early on in the set, Simon joked that as the tour had gone on they had gotten closer. In fact, Simon felt “more Adonis-like than ever, and I can now have sex for days!”
The beauty of this combined show was in the shared moments between the artists. It’s amazing simply hearing Paul Simon sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” And equally exciting hearing Sting perform “Every Breath You Take.” But to hear those two songs performed by both singers, together, trading vocals and matching harmonies, was pure magic. Sting performed Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion” and the Simon & Garfunkel song “America.” Simon, for his part, covered Sting’s “Fields of Gold” and “Fragile.”
Throughout his solo set, Sting performed a few of his biggest hits from his former band, The Police. “Message In a Bottle” and “Roxanne” drew some of the biggest ovations and crowd reactions of the night; a sentiment that did not go unnoticed by Sting, who grew noticeably more excited during those songs, dancing around the stage and interacting with his incredible band.
Simon finished off the solo portion of the concert with perhaps his biggest, and best, hit – “You Can Call Me Al.” The classic brought the entire crowd to their feet to dance while Simon showed that even at 72 years old, he could still bust a move across the entire stage.
The encore ended the show with a run of the aforementioned “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Every Breath You Take,” as well as “Late In The Evening,” and The Everly Brothers tune “When Will I Be Loved?”
And as the two legends exited the stage for the last time and the audience members filed out of the arena, there was a sense that what was just witnessed was truly unique and unforgettable.