Sting and Shaggy postpone show at Park MGM
Editor's note: Sting and Shaggy's scheduled Oct. 13 performance at Park MGM had to be postponed. Sting, who fell ill, was advised by his doctor to not perform. Fans are encouraged to hold onto their tickets, as Live Nation hopes to reschedule the concert as soon as possible.
Sting and Shaggy collaborating as a duo came as a surprise to just about everyone except Sting and Shaggy. The two met at a Sting concert in Antwerp when Shaggy joined the former frontman of The Police onstage while he was performing “Roxanne.” When Sting subsequently received a demo through a mutual friend of a new song Shaggy was working on titled “Don’t Make Me Wait,” he liked it so much that he visited Shaggy in the studio, singing the hook upon his arrival. He wound up contributing vocals to the song, then collaborated on another, then another, until enough material for an album had been recorded.
That album, 44/876, was released in April, the title a conjunction of the international phone code for the U.K. and one of the area codes for Shaggy’s home country of Jamaica. For Sting, it’s a return to the reggae roots that influenced the early sound of The Police. The ex-schoolteacher started out as a jazz musician before the 1976-’77 punk revolution transformed the musical landscape in England, subsequently adopting reggae as a primary influence once he joined drummer Stewart Copeland in a trio that would quickly include guitarist Andy Summers.
Although The Police would stretch musically from their punk-reggae foundation, Jamaica continued to factor in Sting’s craft. He wrote a handful of The Police’s major ’80s hits—“Every Breath You Take,” “King Of Pain,” “Wrapped Around Your Finger”—at James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s former Jamaican estate, Goldeneye. By 1985 Sting had released his first solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, and would continue to draw on reggae to shape songs such as “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” and “Love Is the Seventh Wave,” but leaned more toward his jazz inclinations than island sounds when it came to writing and recording.
Shaggy has mostly flown under the pop music radar since hitting No. 1 on the singles charts in early 2001 with “Angel” and “It Wasn’t Me.” The Jamaican-born ex-U.S. Marine broke into the Top Five with “Boombastic” in 1995, two years after making his mark with the U.K. hit “Oh Carolina.” Pop success eluded him in recent years, but he remained a draw on the reggae concert circuit. 44/876 put him and Sting back in the Top Ten in the U.K., and Sting was so inspired by the chemistry the two artists discovered they shared that he asked Shaggy to tour with him.
Sting previously toured with Paul Simon, with both artists performing solo and together, then in 2016 toured with Peter Gabriel and performed sets with both acts’ bands onstage. Shaggy has been joining Sting for “Englishman in New York” at the opening of their sets, adding a new dimension to the portrait of a “legal alien” before playing a handful of material from 44/876. Shaggy’s spontaneity and Sting’s seriousness create a yin and yang that makes the sum more than the parts, and if their musical partnership lasts beyond the tour, it should be no surprise to anyone who sees them together in concert.
Park Theater at Park MGM, 8 p.m. Oct. 13, $60-$250 plus tax and fee. 844.600.7275