He’s been an Englishman in New York, now Sting is back on home turf with his new stage show The Last Ship. He tells Weekend all about it . . .
He’s standing by the piano. The diminutive but unmistakeable figure of Sting is standing beside his musical director as a dozen or so players gather at Gateshead’s Sage Theatre for a morning rehearsal. Dressed immaculately in a low-cut black T-shirt and expensive leather jacket, Sting is observing his charges as they work through his musical, The Last Ship. Power is in the air.
The producer – Lorne Campbell – is working closely with a band of players, mainly from the North East, that includes Jimmy Nail. They discuss the rhythm of the music, the punctuations in the dialogue, the meaning behind the words.
And all the time Sting watches on, taking it all in, making sure the players are staying true to his original design.
When he moves away from the piano to stand among the cluster of journalists and PRs, eyes guiltily follow his movements. And later, there is unbridled glee. “Yes, he stood next to me for five minutes,” someone says. “He was very calm.”
The fascination is perhaps no surprise. For Sting is one of the world’s greatest musicians. The seller of more than 100 million records, with The Police and as a solo artist, Sting has accrued awards like Sir Alex Ferguson once collected football trophies.