Sting - vocals, guitar, synclavier; Branford Marsalis - saxophone; Kenny Kirkland - keyboards; Delmar Brown - keyboards; Jeff Lee Campbell - lead guitar; Tracy Ann Wornworth - bass guitar; Mino Cinelu - percussion; J.T. Lewis - drums; Dolette McDonald - backing vocals; Guest: Peter Gabriel - vocals on "Ellas Danzan Solas (Cueca Solas)"; Guest: Bruce Springsteen - vocals on "Every Breath You Take"
In 1988, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman, and Sting announced they would do a joint tour to raise funds and awareness for Amnesty International. Sting, who had spent over a year on the road promoting his second solo LP, Nothing Like The Sun, was no stranger to the human rights driven interest group. In 1986, he had even reunited his old band-mates, Andy Summer and Stewart Copeland, for a one-off Police reunion at Giants Stadium in New Jersey to benefit the organization.
The '88 trek, dubbed the Human Rights Now! Tour, celebrated the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This performance was captured for the King Biscuit Flower Hour and features a powerful duet on "Ellas Danzan Solas (Cueca Solas)" with tour co-star Peter Gabriel. The stirring hymn tells the story of the Chilean women who famously danced in the streets to protest dictator Augusto Pinochet's violent reign in the late 70's and '80s that saw over 30,000 Chileans tortured or murdered. The song is especially poignant as it is performed in the historic Estadio River Plate, home of the world-famous soccer club of the same name, in a country that many Chileans fled to during the Pinochet regime.
The majority of the set was the same as the one he played on his 1987 Nothing Like The Sun tour. His monumental performance opens with the stunning "The Lazarus Heart." He then kicks it up a notch with two solo classics, "We'll Be Together" and "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free."
Even if you are a casual Sting fan, you gotta love the musicianship on this recording. The band was made up of some of the best musicians Sting has ever worked with, including New Orleans jazz legend Branford Marsalis on saxophone, the late, brilliant Kenny Kirkland on keyboards, Jeff Lee Campbell on lead guitar, and bassist Tracy Ann Wornworth, among others.
The set is a solid mix of classic Police songs and Sting solo tracks. The reggae groove of "One World (Not Three)" will keep your head bobbing. The poignant Spanish version of the touching "Fragile," "Fragilidad," morphs into an edgy version of "Driven to Tears." But the musical highlight is unquestionably the jazz-infused medley of "Bring On The Night / When The World Is Running Down You Make The Best Of What's (Still Around)." The latter is a showcase for Kirkland, whose piano solo is truly breathtaking. He concludes with two essential Police gems, "Don't Stand So Close To Me" and the obligatory, Bruce Springsteen-assisted, "Every Breath You Take." A must for all rock fans.