Why I need my evening with Sting

Derek Fattal insists that the ex-Policeman's concert on Thursday night is worth every shekel.

sting 88 298 (photo credit: )
sting 88 298
(photo credit: )
Over the last few days, the first question I've asked my wife upon getting home was, "Any luck getting Sting tickets yet?" Each time the answer is, "No, I just can't get through on the phone to the booking agencies." I eventually discovered that we could book tickets online at Hadran.co.il, at which point the conversation switched to "how many tickets we should get?" Suddenly, it's a case of "You want to blow around a thousand shekels [of money we don't have] on some pop star who lives in a mansion?" My wife demands that I explain why it's so important for me to see him, and to drag half the family along. The clear implication is that this "need to see Sting" is just another part of my continuing mid-life crisis that will leave the family destitute. The fact is that Sting and I go back a long way. Back in my wild student days, when Sting was lead singer of The Police, I went to one of his first-ever official gigs at a residence hall at Birmingham University. It was the spring of 1977 and they were playing as an unknown support band to a punkette called Cherry Vanilla. Along with some friends I queued for over an hour to get into the concert, but only a handful made it in. The rest of us were turned away, although a couple of brave souls who were less inebriated clambered up a steep drainpipe to get into the building. The next morning the campus was alive with the news that The Police had just blown everyone away, and that they were destined for greatness. Even though this was the heyday of "new wave" with bands coming and going every week, the first-hand reports from my mates confirmed that this was a concert I should not have missed. A few months later the Police broke into the big time with the release of "Roxanne" and "So Lonely," and the rest, as they say, is history. As a band the Police were the soundtrack to my student years. Along with Blondie, theirs were the songs that would get everyone rushing to the dance floor. One of the first dances I had with my wife was to "De do do do, Da da da da." In short, this was the music I fell in love to, and is saturated with great memories. I finally got to see the Police live for the first time in London towards the end of their 1983 Synchronicity tour. By that time the band was on top of the world, reaching heights of popularity previously scaled only by the Beatles. The concert was not one of the best, and rumors were that the three-man band was suffering from internal strife. The Police later disbanded with Sting bouncing back in 1985 with the release of the enigmatic Dream of the Blue Turtles and an inspiring live double album, Bring on the Night. For many, Sting's new jazz-tinged music eclipsed even the finest offerings of The Police. In particular the haunting song "Russians" and its accompanying video captured the essence of the times, and for many people growing up during the Reagan years, brought a sense of hope that the dividing wall between East and West could be broken. Rename the song "Iranians" and you just might believe that there is some hope for Israel's relationship with Iran. The next time I saw Sting was in the summer of '88 at a special Amnesty International concert at Wembley Stadium. My expectations for Sting were quite low, particularly with him appearing together with my all-time favorite musician, Bruce Springsteen. But on this occasion Sting simply outplayed the Boss with an incredibly powerful set. My wife Judie and I went to the concert with our best friends from the UK, just a few months before we left London to make aliyah. The show marked part of our separation from our life in England, as we knew the chances of seeing stars of this level in Israel were remote to say the least. Sting's subsequent releases were regularly played at home and in the car. The most poignant moment of all came when "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You" came on the car radio while I drove Judie to the hospital to give birth to our baby daughter, Eden. Imagine our delight when in the wake of the "peace wave" Sting landed on these shores to play two dreamlike sets in September 1994. We managed to get tickets to both shows - the first in Sultan's Pool with some of the new friends we had made since turning Israeli. The resulting mixture of exotic venue and Sting's fine band was one of the best concerts I have witnessed. The second concert was in a small park on the edge of Rishon Lezion - an unlikely stage for one of the world's premier acts. In the 12 years that have passed since those shows, the grooves in our Sting records have become even more worn, providing an aural backdrop as our kids have grown up. The power of great music, the music that moves you, whether it is Sting, Black Eyed Peas or Mozart, is that it accompanies you through life, and weaves its way into your heart, your friendships, and your soul. For me and thousands of others, tonight's concert with Sting is a date that brings to mind some of life's best moments. It's worth selling the family jewels to share that experience with the ones you love. Derek Fattal is the director of JPost.com