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Sting at RedBull Sound Space at KROQ 8/31/16. Photo by Chelsea Lauren (@ChelseaLaurenLA) for KROQ & RedBull. Used by www.BlurredCulture.com With Permission.

On August 31, 2016, after a 13 year absence, Sting was back live on KROQ’s radio waves. With check in for the event starting at 6:30am, it was a special concert/interview billed as “Breakfast with Sting”, hosted by KROQ stalwarts Kevin & Bean. Promoting his new album “57th and 9th” (to be released November 11th), Sting performed five songs (clips of which are below) from his prolific catalog, including the first single off the album, “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You”, for an intimate crowd of 250 lucky fans.

During the interview segments, Sting talked about his experience producing a show on Broadway saying that even though Broadways is a demanding discipline, it was great fun and that he would go back and do it in a New York minute. He also admitted that he is a perpetual student, and found the experience touring with Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon was an educational one.

When Kevin & Bean tried to get Sting to offer up hope about a Police reunion, Sting said that he reunited with the Police because he liked surprises, and wanted to give his fans something unexpected. He then further warned Kevin & Bean not to ask the question again, because ,”it wouldn’t be a surprise then, would it?”

The interview  touched on a number other topic like “Roxanne” (It’s a song that he never get’s tired of), his 1957 bass (he likens his relationship with his instrument to his marriage to his wife), other people’s covers of his music (he thinks of Eva Cassidy’s cover of “Fields Of Gold” whenever he plays it) and musical genres (proclaiming that genres don’t exist, and how he never wants to feel trapped when it comes to music). I could dwell on my feelings about being able to see such an icon in music perform in such and intimate setting, and recall specifics from the interview, but here’s where this piece take a slight detour.

While I was in the audience, I noticed a big, beared guy a few rows in front of me. It was my friend Dave, and I shouted his name to get his attention. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Dave gave me permission to retell his story.) Seeing Dave in the audience so early in the morning to watch Sting perform was a little surprising. After all, he plays in a pretty dark, heavy metal band. Sting and metal?

When I saw Dave a few days later at the bar that he works security at, we both reveled in the once in a life time experience, but I had to ask him how he was able to gain admittance to the event. I was invited to the performance as media, but I didn’t think his heavy metal band had some kind of connection to Sting

When Dave started telling his story, I was taken aback. This big, bearded behemoth of man was reciting to me a love story. I’m paraphrasing a bit … and had to interpret my drunk iPhone notes … but here it is in a nutshell:

“I got into The Police and Sting because of my ex. When I heard about that show, I did everything in my power to find a way for me and her to get into that show. I had to do it. I had to do it for her. Why? Because I love her. I want to be with her. I wanted to do something for her that her parents never got the chance to do. It’s something that she’s never done. I thought I exhausted all my resources. I reached out to my talent agent. My contacts at my record label. Everyone. The day before the show, I told my story to a girl who used to work at KROQ and I guess my story moved her because she was literally crying after I explained to her why I needed help. That same day I got confirmation that I’d be able to get me and my ex into the show.”
I asked him if the romantic gesture worked, and he shrugged. I asked him what happens if it was all for naught.

“No matter what happens down the line, We’ll have that moment.”

When I was thinking about what I would write about this show, I was listening to Sting’s new single, “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You” for some inspiration. As I focused in on the lyrics, I got some goose bumps when I connected the song to Dave’s current situation:

“I can’t stop thinking about you
I can’t stop wanting you this way
I can’t face living without you
That’s why I’m searching night and day
This heart’s a lonely hunter
These hands are frozen fists
I can’t stop thinking about you
I don’t care if you exist

Do I hear laughter in the silence of the snow?
I know you’re hiding in this frozen heart of winter
A midnight church bell tolls
I know you’re close, your scent still warm
Then the trail turns cold, cold, cold”

All I can say is that Dave and his ex were meant to be at this show, and that it was almost as if Sting wrote and performed that song specifically for him. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for him, and hopefully his trail warms up.

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