Billy Joel & Sting – A Show Fans Won’t Soon Forget

Billy Joel has been busy over the past several months. Not only is he closing out his Madison Square Garden residency, he’s also teaming up with Sting for co-headlining shows including this one in Tampa.

Showing his New York State of Mind pride, images of New York City appeared on screen during “New York State of Mind”, and to close, a clip of Brooklyn Bridge appeared.

Opening Act

Billy Joel and Sting joined forces to give fans an unforgettable performance at Tampa’s Raymond James stadium on Saturday, Feb 24 for the opening night of Billy Joel & Sting: an event they won’t soon forget.

Former Police frontman Karl Denson delivered a compelling and polished performance, starting off with “Heavy Cloud No Rain,” including its lyrics: “The clouds won’t move until their work is done / Every morning I pray it might rain today.

Sting then launched into his solo material, performing everything from “Spirits in the Material World” to the poignant reggae-influenced tune “Desert Rose”. Additionally, crowd favorites “Roxanne” and the powerful “Message in a Bottle” were performed for audiences.

As if that weren’t enough, Joel also invited British rocker Mick Fleetwood back onstage for an unexpected duet of their classic tune “Big Man on Mulberry Street.” Their performance left fans of both musicians excited as they sang along to this hit that hadn’t been played here in Tampa since 1999!

Sting & Joel

Sting kicked off his co-headlining tour alongside former Police frontman Andy Summers at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium. Sting delivered a 16-song set, drawing from both his solo catalog and The Police discography; including “Heavy Cloud No Rain,” with its prophetic lyrics: “The clouds won’t move until all is completed / Every morning I pray it might rain today”.

The 72-year-old singer-songwriter kept the crowd singing from start to finish of his career-spanning show. No matter how many times he performed classics like “Roxanne,” “Message in a Bottle,” “So Lonely” and “Fields of Gold,” he always found new ways to make them feel vital and alive. Additionally, several songs were extended with extended parts or bridged for tension-release; most notable among these being Desert Rose which had an intoxicating Middle Eastern melody that felt all too relevant during an explosive week when war had broken out again across much of this region.

Sting made his second set appearance for Joel’s second set, joining him for an energetic duet of “Big Man on Mulberry Street.” To conclude the performance, they joined Joel for an energetic rendition of “New York State of Mind”, featuring Joel whirling around and waving his mic stand while clips from Manhattan filled the screen behind their band.

Sting & Sting

Sting, 72, was an engaging performer all night long. With some clever orchestrations (violist Kirsten Johnson performing a quote from Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kije in “Russians”) and an energetic solo from concertmaster David Kim as concertmasters respectively. But ultimately it was his songs which held their audiences captive.

No matter how often we hear him perform his classic songs — such as “Message in a Bottle,” “Brand New Day” and “Englishman in New York” — they always remain fresh and vital. For instance, in “Desert Rose,” he extended parts of it so as to build tension and release; its Arabic-influenced melody seemed especially poignant at a time when war is devastating the Middle East.

He has become known as an outspoken advocate for human rights and environmental causes, performing at Live Aid concerts to raise funds for Amnesty International as well as founding the Rainforest Foundation along with Trudie Styler in 1989. Additionally, he owns Jacobian castle in Wiltshire as well as homes in London, Los Angeles, and New York City.

Joel may still thrill his fans with new material, but Sting still amazes with fresh material of his own. At the close of this performance he performed “Turn the Lights Back On,” causing fans to wave wrist-lights. Sting will continue performing numerous shows with Stevie Nicks before concluding his Madison Square Garden residency this summer.