PAUL SIMON & STING, O2 Arena – Evening Standard, 16 April 2015

Both Sting and Paul Simon are still capable of filling the O2 alone, so this hybrid tour was an opportunity to freshen up another greatest hits set by piling a second load of hits on top.

Having first performed together at a benefit concert in 2013, the Englishman and the New Yorker aren’t the most obvious duo. They couldn’t look more different, with bearded Sting channelling his inner Viking warrior next to his nondescript partner, and their gruff/sweet voices weren’t a natural fit when sharing a song. But both have spent long careers journeying far from their early sounds, which made for plenty of interest in a three hour show.

With both bands on stage most of the time there was plenty to watch as the solos stacked up, whether from fiery fiddler Peter Tickell or Marcus Rojas’s surprisingly versatile tuba. The atmosphere was convivial, with stage time evenly shared and duets bookending two solo segments each.

Rockier Police moments such as So Lonely and Roxanne raised a polite crowd to its feet, while gentler Simon had to wait until You Can Call Me Al to earn his wildest reaction. Nevertheless, this odd couple worked well together in a new format. May it lead to other fantasy pairings in the future.

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