Harmony and Heartstrings: Sting’s Intimate Valentine’s Day Concert with the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall

in SF Concert Reviews by

The Sting with the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall concert last night was a mesmerizing journey through the iconic artist’s storied career, interspersed with personal anecdotes that added depth and intimacy to the performance. As Sting took the stage amidst the elegant backdrop of the symphony, he not only delivered breathtaking renditions of his classic hits but also invited the audience into his world, sharing the autobiographical stories behind each song.

One of the highlights of the evening was Sting delving into the inspiration behind “Roxanne,” a song that emerged from his encounters with the seedy underworld of Parisian nightlife during his time with The Police. He recounted the tale of a French prostitute named Roxanne, whose plight served as a metaphor for the struggles of marginalized individuals. Through Sting’s vivid storytelling, the song took on new depth, revealing the complexities of love, desire, and redemption.

Final moments of Sting’s performance with the San Francisco Symphony

Similarly, during the performance of “Fields of Gold,” Sting transported the audience to the fields of his home in England, painting a vivid picture of the landscapes that surround it. With evocative imagery, he wove together memories of love, infusing the song with a sense of nostalgia and longing that resonated with listeners on a new level. Against the backdrop of the symphony’s lush instrumentation, Sting’s storytelling brought a sense of intimacy to the grandeur of Davies Symphony Hall, creating a truly immersive experience for all in attendance.

Then came “Englishman in New York”, a timeless classic that provided a glimpse into Sting’s experiences navigating life as an outsider in the bustling metropolis of New York City. Inspired by the life of his friend, the eccentric writer, and gay rights activist Quentin Crisp, the song celebrates individuality and resilience in the face of adversity. Sting’s heartfelt performance, accompanied by the San Francisco Symphony’s dynamic arrangement, captured the spirit of Crisp’s unapologetic authenticity, resonating with audiences who have ever felt like outsiders in a foreign land.

Amidst the celebration of music and storytelling, it was also Valentine’s Day, and Sting made a special acknowledgment of the occasion. With warmth and affection, he dedicated a couple of songs to his wife, Trudie Styler, who was in the audience. Expressing gratitude for her unwavering support and love, Sting thanked her for putting up with him for 44 years, eliciting heartfelt applause from the audience and adding an extra layer of romance to the evening.

Throughout the concert, Sting’s anecdotes served not only to entertain but also to humanize the music, reminding us that behind every song lies a story waiting to be told. Whether recounting tales of his time with The Police or reflecting on his solo career, Sting’s storytelling added a layer of authenticity to the concert, forging a deeper connection between artist and audience.

In the end, Sting with the San Francisco Symphony was more than just a musical performance—it was a journey through the life and experiences of one of music’s most enduring legends. With each song and story, Sting invited us to share in his triumphs and tribulations, reminding us of the power of music to transcend boundaries and touch the soul.

Photos by Louis Raphael

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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