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“There's no religion but sex and music There's no religion but sound and dancing”

I walked past the parked cars and marvelled at the Bangalore Palace in all its forlorn splendour. A perfect place to have the concert, I told myself. I’m sure Sting would appreciate playing in a picturesque setting like this. I was drawn back to the time when I first heard The Police, way back when I was barely five. By that time music was already a part of my life and The Police was yet another path to that surreal peak of bliss.

I’d landed in Bangalore the day before and made the mad rush from the airport to drop my bags at my friend’s hotel room and then got back in the car to head to the Taj for the press conference. Once Sting entered the place I just grinned and stood up, here was a man who’s voice, music and intellectual rhetoric captured my imagination from the very beginning (though as a kid I didn’t use such big words, back then his music according to me was ‘nice’, just ‘nice’).

He handled questions with his British charm, and when asked if he would go back to his dream of the blue turtles and play that unusual mix of jazz, rock and reggae, he simply said “I’ve done that before, I want to move on now and go forward, not backward. You don’t cross the same river twice.” These words ring true in most of our lives and even now they echo in my head.

At 7.45 the lights dimmed, the intro to A Thousand Years started to play, smoke machines erupted, and then the crowd burst into a cacophony of cheers. Sting walked on to the stage and started off with Send your Love, and it began, that winding roller coaster through his world. Message in a Bottle, Englishman in New York, Fields of Gold, a beautiful rendition of Shape of my Heart and Fragile. Sting was his usual happy self, his lilting voice leaving everyone in the crowd spellbound. One of his back-up singers Joy Roch did a duet with Sting on Whenever I Say Your Name, and her voice was proof to the fact that Sting has a ear and an eye for talent and surrounds himself with it. The others shone as well, Domnique Miller, Kipper and the rest of the band played and sang their hearts out.

Someone among the journalists at the press conference asked him about his fascination with India. He smiled, adjusted himself on the high stool and talked about Varanasi and how his whole family has spent time there in the past. This was his first visit to Bangalore, and he was taken in by the city. He reminisced about his concert with The Police in Mumbai in the early eighties and how he loved it that he was back.

“Roxanne, you don’t have to put out the red light”

With that one line, Sting unleashed the band upon Bangalore, and put out a marvellous, nearly 12 minute version of the song that had won The Police their record deal with A&M Records. A few tracks later which included Every Little Thing She Does is Magic and If I Ever Lose My Faith in You, the stage lights went all calm and blue, and Sting then sang what is probably one of the most played tracks of his career, Every Breath You Take.

You can read the rest of our exclusive with Sting in the February 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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