Sting and Shaggy 24th May 2019 @ Birmingham O2 Academy.
There were some of the longest queues I’ve ever seen outside the O2 anticipating doors at 7.00pm, near wrapping around the entirety of the building. In a timely fashion, everyone had filtered in and found their magic spots for the show. No faff, no warm up performers or crowd rousers, at 8pm Sting and Shaggy stepped on stage. Further, with no bravado, they hit straight into their first song.
When announced that this collaboration was occurring, many were left perplexed- what an unlikely pairing. But actually, these two icons bring an interesting contrast to each other, both sonically and in their performance. Stings undertones of New Wave and Jazz have developed a subtle Reggae beat, and so Sting songs flow effortlessly into Shaggy tracks. We were treated to around two hours of magic, tracks selected from the duos Grammy-winning album 44/876, and a generous amount of greatest hits from each of the nights artists. The gems of the night for us were Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Angel and Shaggys’ new song, You- featuring Jessi Alexander Stewart, who apparently Shaggy found via YouTube, he truly is a talent, and was a welcome breath of fresh air and youth to the evenings proceedings.
After spending the night with both Shaggy and Sting we’re interested to see these men perform separately. Seeing the collaboration, the fear is that without Sting, a Shaggy show may be messy, lacking musical integrity, but still providing a great fun night out. And a Sting show may be too serious, without any banter or rapport, a little bit self indulgent perhaps. Sting on this night, was the stoic, sensual talent, a solid pillar of the band, and a courteous member at that, at several points during the night allowing instrumental introductions to each member of the band. Gordon Summers is a true, timeless and iconic talent. His voice and presence are unlike anyone else’s and being in a room with him, really hammers it home as to why he’s had a career with such longevity. Shaggy was the comic relief of the night, his shimmies and hip rolls made the night for many of us, and the fun he bought out in Sting was great to see. The Shaggy tracks also bought a lighter note to the evenings set list, having a higher tempo to many Sting songs.
Clip notes: Shaggy’s hips- don’t lie. Sting has some kind of sensual magic that brings a room to a standstill. Shaggy and Sting are a combo you never imagined working, but it totally does! Sting cannot dance.