Sting kicks off his world tour in support of his latest album, 57th & 9th, tonight (February 1) in Vancouver.
The album is the former Police man's most straightforward rock/pop set since 2003's Sacred Love, and Sting tells us that he's looking forward to playing the new material live:
"They're all eminently doable. There's no great sort of studio smoke and mirrors on the album that we couldn't reproduce on stage with a fairly small band. I'm taking a four-piece out -- two guitars, drums and bass, no keyboards, and I'm looking forward to it."
Sting currently has shows booked through June in North America and Europe, mostly in theaters and smaller venues (and a few festivals) after playing arenas last summer with Peter Gabriel:
"We're playing smaller venues at first, little theaters or 2,000-seaters, because I think it's always good to start an album that sort of way so it can grow organically. The songs can grow organically, bringing people into an intimate setting rather than starting in an arena or a stadium, where the stadium plays you, really."
Sting is also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "The Empty Chair" from Jim: The James Foley Story -- the documentary about the American journalist kidnapped and killed by ISIS in 2014.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.