[Review] Sting: Bring on the Night (1986)

The album of the film of the tour of the first album of the guy from The Police.

Kronomyth 2.0: The late show with Sting.

With one solo album under his belt, Sting decided to mount a world tour. And film the making of the tour for a movie. And release a double album of the tour, mostly from shows in Paris. What’s the French word for pretentious? Ah, yes, Sting.

I am, of course, kidding. Sting is highly intelligent, talented, et cetera, and none of that has changed. He is not, however, a very good guitar player. And so the lion’s share of carrying the stage performances on Bring on the Night falls to the crackerjack jazz band behind him: Branford Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland, Omar Hakim and Darryl Jones. And that’s where the kronomyth comes in. Bring on the Night sounds like Sting with one of those Late Show bands behind him.

The Dream of the Blue Turtles played up Sting’s jazzy side. (Interesting Sting fact: Before The Police, he played in a jazz band.) Bring on the Night isn’t jazz, despite the presence of top-tier jazz musicians, it’s jazzish. Yes, I need to find a better word for that. But you know those Late Show bands have some serious chops, and you’ll have the same impression here. Kenny Kirkland’s solo on When the World Is Running Down You Make the Best of What’s Still Around makes plain just how good this band is right out of the gate.

So, what to make of Sting’s first live album? For one thing, it’s interesting to hear him interpret the songs of The Police. They lack the drive and energy of the originals, but Sting uncovers some hidden nuances in them that make the exercise worthwhile (e.g., Driven to Tears). And then there are the Sting songs you’ve never heard before: Bring on the Night*, Low Life, I Burn for You, Another Day. Even Police fans will enjoy hearing these.

Bring on the Night’s crowning achievement, however, is the bringing to life of the songs from The Dream of the Blue Turtles. Consider Me Gone, Moon Over Bourbon Street, We Work the Black Seam, Children’s Crusade… they sound even better than the originals. Another surprise is a blues cover, Down So Long, that gives Eric Clapton a run for his money. At least in my opinion, although I’m hardly a blues connoisseur.

Look, Bring on the Night wouldn’t make anyone’s Top 500 list. I’m not even sure it would make Sting’s Top 5 albums. But it may be the best live album that Sting has ever released and that’s, um… actually I thought I had more than that.

*Or forgotten that you’ve heard before because your mind is getting soft.

Original 2LP version

A1. Bring on the Night / When the World Is Running Down You Make the Best of What’s Still Around (11:42)
A2. Consider Me Gone (4:55)
A3. Low Life (4:06)
B1. We Work the Black Seam (6:59)
B2. Driven to Tears (7:00)
B3. The Dream of the Blue Turtles / Demolition Man (5:55)
C1. One World (Not Three) / Love Is the Seventh Wave (11:08)
C2. Moon Over Bourbon Street (4:19)
C3. I Burn for You (5:24)
D1. Another Day (4:47)
D2. Children’s Crusade (5:26)
D3. Down So Long (J.B. Lenoir/A. Atkins) (4:38)
D4. Tea in the Sahara (6:25)

All songs written by Sting unless noted.

The Players

Sting (vocals, guitar), Omar Hakim (drums), Darryl Jones (bass), Kenny Kirkland (keyboards), Branford Marsalis (saxophone), Dolette McDonald (backing vocals), Janice Pendarvis (backing vocals). Produced by Kim Turner and Sting; engineered by Gerd Rautenbach, Peter Brandt, Kim Turner and Jim Scott.

The Pictures

Art direction by Michael Ross. Paintings by Donna Muir and Su Huntley. Photography by Michael Ross, Denis O’Regan and Huntley/Muir. Design by Michael Ross and John Warwicker.

The Product

Released on 2LP, 2CS and 2CD in 1986 in the UK (A&M, BRING/BRINC 1), the US (A&M, CD 6705), Argentina (A&M, 29014/5), Australia (A&M, RMC 55017/8), Germany and Spain (A&M, 829 473-1) and Japan (A&M, C38Y3010) with picture innersleeves.

  1. Re-issued on 2CD in 1991 in Japan (A&M, PCCY-10273).

3 thoughts on “[Review] Sting: Bring on the Night (1986)

  1. Contrary to popular belief, Sting is not a fake guy. He believes in his ballads, and there are plenty of tear-inducing moments in his solo career. But yes, he’s not a very convincing rocker (but a good one, nonetheless).

  2. Oh, and one more thing: “Bring On the Night” is not a previously unreleased song. It appeared on Reggatta de Blanc.

    1. Yikes, I can’t believe I missed that. Thanks, Miles. I haven’t listened to Regatta de Blanc (my least favorite Police album) for almost forty years and it shows.

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