At the Florida Orchestra’s 50th-anniversary gala with Sting on December 9, “All he had to was raise his hands during his first number, ‘An Englishman in New York,’ beckon gently … and … the crowd at the sold-out [audience] jumped right in,” write David Warner and Caesar Carbajal in last Sunday’s (12/10) Creative Loafing Tampa (FL). “They were already in a good mood… Board chair Janet Paroo had just announced the gala’s record fundraising total ($1.5 million-plus) and Music Director Michael Francis was his usual charming British self… Then, well, there was Sting…. In the original [‘Roxanne’], there’s piercing anguish in Sting’s delivery…. In the orchestral setting, the feeling is less urgent, more empathetic—a love song meant to soothe. Both versions work, but TFO’s performance and Sting’s graceful phrasing were inarguably gorgeous. Throughout the concert, individual players got a chance to shine in solos, including Natalie Hoe on clarinet and James Connors on cello, as did Sting’s own very tight 4-piece band led by Rob Mathes…. And just to be clear on two things: This orchestra rocked, and Sting is still a rock star…. It all felt more like a revival than a concert, with Sting as the preacher.”

Posted December 18, 2017