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|Sting||Vocals and guitar|
|Janice Pendarvis||Background vocals|
|Colleen Atwood||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Gil Friesen||Executive Producer, Producer|
|Robert Lambert||Associate Producer, Editor|
|Andrew Meyer||Executive Producer, Producer|
|Ferdinando Scarfiotti||Production Designer|
Posted October 1, 2010
It is about time that this ground-breaking video finally made it to the DVD format making it even more of an audio and video treasure. The original show, a special on A & E almost 20 years ago, was an unprecedented undertaking at the time, recording a band not only in live concert but through the whole process from inception to rehearsal and to performance. The concept was as risky as it was revolutionary, especially for Sting who had everything to lose by not only gambling on a solo project, but by making this effort so accessible in such a unique manner to the viewing public. In its form and feature, it was also a prototype for what would become "reality" TV, long before that was such a category. Beginning with location shots of the band in rehearsal at a French castle just outside Paris, we get an impressive portrait of Sting shaping a new musical ensemble: he lays out the rudimentary form of his original compositions, then brings them to life, gently but confidently directing his very talented charges, mostly accomplished African-American jazz players and singers, through the complex arrangements, allowing for their contributions along the way. What becomes abundantly obvious, beyond his now-and-again reserve and arrogance, is his finely-tuned sense of artistic expression, complemented by his technical knowledge of the medium. He knows what he wants, and he has the ability to express it understandably. In addition to the picture of music and musicians coming together, we are presented interviews, some disarming, with Sting and other members of the band spliced strategically into the body of the video. Apted's editing is excellent in these instances and rather spectacular overall. At times he even synthesizes the scenes from the concert performance of a song with those at practice, the two segments pieced together as one without missing a note or beat. We also are provided usually unseen glimpses of the band's manager, Miles Copeland, ensuring that peace reigns among the musicians while securing the preparations and publicity for their debut. Although we are fortunately not subjected to tantrums, petty arguments or catty exchanges, so typical of today's reality TV content, there is at least one incongruent inclusion: The camera follows Trudy, Sting's wife, to the hospital where we witness her giving birth to their son Jake. The event actually occurred while this was being made, but it's debatable whether it should have been part of the story. Criticism about it was leveled long ago and need not be addressed again. Suffice it to say that it is still part of the footage. The A & E special "Bring On the Night" video culminates in the full live concert. Not surprisingly, despite playing unfamiliar music with an unorthodox mix of instrumentalists in front of an SRO French audience in Paris, Sting brings the house down. The finished songs are both well-polished and exciting as is their performance, which, despite Sting's earlier concerns, is near flawless. He finishes the evening and the video with an encore of a few selected Police songs, including "Message In a Bottle" which he sings alone on stage - while final credits roll. The initial show removed any lingering doubts in my mind, low those many years ago, that the lad from Newcastle is indeed a musical genius. In DVD format, it sounds and looks better than ever and is as inspiring now as it was two decades before.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 21, 2009
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