Storry, Germein Sisters and Sting performing at Forest Live Sherwood Pines Mansfield on Sunday 23rd June 2024.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

On Sunday night it was the turn of Sting to grace the Sherwood Pines stage and to bring to a close three nights of great entertaining music. He was previously the front man, principle songwriter and bassist for new wave band The Police from 1977 until their breakup in 1989 when he launched his solo career. And so it was with an enormous amount of anticipation and excitement that this mainly mature crowd drank their Pimms and waited patiently for the main attraction.

To begin an afternoon of entertaining music was Canadian based artist, LGBT champion and fearless contemporary artist Storry, who has been on quite a personal journey. From being a straight A grade student to opera trainee and her coercion into the sex industry, this talented singer songwriter has since released her albums completely independently and has now twice been nominated at the JUNO awards. That journey now brings her to the heart of Sherwood Pines as she propped up the very talented Sting.

Opening with a Mozart aria she took this capacity crowd by surprise, before she launched into a set that had a little hip hop, R & B and gospel, the highlight being Who Loves You Now?

Storry left the crowd with the firm impression that she is a fierce and multifaceted artist and one to have a look at what she does next.

Up next was the Australian Germein Sisters who have previously supported the likes of Little Mix and Tom Jones and so are not intimidated by large crowds. From the moment singer and keyboardist Georgia, bassist Ella and drummer Clara hit the stage; their energy was palpable which created a feel good vibe all around.

The apparent ease with which the Germein Sisters play their instruments allowed for much dancing around on the stage which contributed to the crowd’s enjoyment as they participated in Germein led clapping or singing.

Championing their unique brand of indie pop, they powered through songs that included Talking, Suitcase and City Lights as well as their new song Chuck n Cherry. This tight knit trio had excelled in exhibiting a mix of fun and musical elements. They are a funky and striking group of powerful young women. They are a south Australian export at its very best.

Shortly before 9pm the headline act appeared with no frills or surprises kicking the night off with the band’s Voices Inside My Head which quickly segued into the bands 1979 classic hit Message In A Bottle which had the crowd singing out loud to “sending out an SOS” as if their lives depended upon it.

Ever since his faux punk days Sting has been a consummate musical craftsman, cleverly weaving trace elements of rock, jazz, reggae and global music styles into punchy pop tunes. And Sunday night was no exception as he delivered a set list that was littered with his solo hits alongside some of the greatest Police’s songs.

After short introductions to his guitarist and long time collaborator Dominic Miller and drummer Chris Maas, the Grammy and Brit award winner went on to perform hit after hit. Songs from his solo back catalogue went down a storm as the crowd sang along to the moving If I Ever Lose My Faith In You. There was a mass sing along to Fields Of Gold and the gorgeous Never Coming Home and Why Should I Cry For You? which was dedicated to his father.

At 72 years of age his voice still mesmerized even if perhaps he had to rasp his way through some of the high notes but he was forgiven as he launched into Can’t Stand Losing You, Walking On The Moon and So Lonely and the moving and moody Shape Of My Heart. The Police’s Driven To Tears, originally a protest song at the world’s atrocities, was more powerful than when it was released 44 years ago.

King Of Pain from the album Synchronicity, his old band’s final album had an excellent guitar solo from Millar, before the main set was brought to a close with the mass sing along, Every Breath You Take. Roxanne was saved for the encore before set closer Fragile saw some astonishingly delicate and awesome solo acoustic guitar as Miller and Maas contributed with just a basic beat.

Sting had delivered a set that had belied his years. He had made it look easy and with the crowd singing along to his every word, it seems that this very talented artist is going to be around for some years to come.