It would be easy to think that after playing to a stadium of 100,000 screaming fans on AFL Grand Final day, rocker Sting would be in the mood for painting the town red.
But for his 65th birthday, which he spent in Melbourne yesterday, the former Police front man was in a surprisingly subdued mood.
“I actually had a very reflective day on my own,” he said. “I didn’t see anybody - not deliberately, it just happened that way. But that allowed me to take stock. I was thinking about all the people in my life who haven’t made it this far - including my parents, friends and contemporaries. It was an interesting day - it wasn’t the joyous, let’s-get-drunk sort of day. It was a reflective day and perhaps I needed it.”
The veteran rocker stayed on in Melbourne to promote his coming album, 57th and 9th, released next month, and said he has been in introspective mood of late, partly inspired by the death of David Bowie, Prince, Lemmy and his good friend Alan Rickman in quick succession. One of the of the songs on the new album - his first rock release since 1999’s Brand New Day - addresses the subject of the mortality of rock icons.
“There is a child in us all that somehow sees these cultural icons as being somehow immortal even though we know they are not,” Sting said of the anthemic 50,000. “But when they die we are in shock. All of us - even me. It’s really a song about that realisation and that acceptance of mortality. Someone like me who has had that dizzying intoxicating feeling of being at the centre of all this attention and lights and the hubris of that - is that where you learn philosophy? No. It’s when you reflect on it and what it actually means. 50,000 is a reflection on that kind of success and what it means or what it doesn’t mean.”
Sting, who travelled straight to the MCG after a long-haul flight from his New York home on Saturday to headline the grand final prematch entertainment, said he stuck around to watch the Western Bulldogs down the Sydney Swans in a thriller and reckons he now has a fairly good understanding of the game.
“I was fascinated by the linesmen who throw the ball backwards - there’s something absurd about that,” he said. “The athleticism and the stamina is extraordinary - it was a very good experience all round. I think I did OK at the beginning - I’m just happy to have got off a plane and done a performance like that.”
The reaction to the rocker’s set has been mostly positive, although some on social media took exception to his playing his new single along with two Police classics, Every Breath You Take and Message In a Bottle. The new song, I Can’t Stop Thinking About You, has been hailed as a return to his early days in The Police but Sting doesn’t agree.
“It’s so obvious - it’s my DNA, these were my chords and my compositions - so I haven’t gone back, this is part of my musical life,” he said. “I play rock and roll every night of my working life - so it’s not like I am going to return and be just like The Police - I AM the f -king Police.”
(c) News.com.au by James Wigney