It’s been said that the formative years of Americans can be dated to their memories of Saturday Night Live eras. I’m pegged to the late ’80s/early ’90s, and, perhaps for that reason, Sting, despite all the albums before and since and all the pop trivia around him, is irrevocably associated in my mind with the Richmeister (Sting-a-ling-ling! Makin’ copies!). Perhaps I’m just demented.

Sting made his Cleveland stop on his Broken Music tour on Friday night, but appeared at the Cleveland Heights Border’s store for a book/CD/DVD signing. I found out about this when I stopped by the store after aikido the week before and saw their fliers up. Grace is a big fan, and I went and got the Bring On The Night DVD signed for her.

The signing was at 1PM and I got there at around 9AM when the store opened. Earlier in the week, I had overheard one of the store managers say that they expected long lines, but when they unlocked the doors, there were only about 40 people. After presenting our receipts for the items, we got our passes and lined up in the designated areas. Unfortunately, we couldn’t leave the line without having someone hold our spots, so I had brought my laptop — to go a local cafe in case the passes were numbered so we could come back later — in vain. It wasn’t that bad, though, mainly because it was a bookstore and there was coffee and snacks there, though no free Wifi. For the morning, I was stuck in the triangle formed by the dictionaries, maps and kids books (Early reader Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith books were nearby; I now know the plot details, expressed in easy words.) People brought Sting books for signing, and were passing the time reading those. Others were chatting about past concerts, following him around the country, etc. — the usual stuff one hears on a book-signing queue hours before the actual event. (I had, as someone might say, no dog in that fight: I kept my head down and read my history book. An overheard remark that “that woman has a police record!” took a while to parse as the woman having a vinyl from the Police.)

I was on TV. Channel 5 News had a small crew there doing the end-of-broadcast-segment and I wound up in the background of an interview. I have a screen capture as the last picture on the slide show of the Borders event. The guy behind me had a basket of forget-me-nots from the local florist to present to Sting (something from his book). He was also interviewed, but the editors cut that one and focused more on the cliched “giant line of women going to see Sting” angle instead: the Y chromosome would have upset the story. Anyway, I might post the video sometime later, if I figure out how to edit it properly.

The picture-taking was actually a bit more difficult than I thought it’d be. I brought the 80-200 f/2.8, thinking that there’d be enough light in the store, but had problems with low ISO settings: the lens is long and I felt I needed relatively fast shutter speeds to deal with camera shake. I was also off with the initial shots in terms of white balance, with a somewhat deceptive interior lighting temperature. I’m not quite satisfied with the mucking around I had to do to reduce yellow/red saturation: I should have shot NEF. The ISO noise was corrected pretty neatly using Noise Ninja, though. Anyway:

A few people in line asked me for copies: my immediate neighbors in line and some guy further back, who actually approached me somewhat abruptly. I’ve mailed off the 0.5 megapixel versions. If they want higher resolution images for printing, I suppose I’ll suggest that if they like the pictures, they can buy stuff for me off my Amazon WishList.

By 1PM, the line had wrapped itself through the store and was almost out the door. The signing itself was pretty quick for me, mainly because I was closer to the front of the line than not. Sting was quite pleasant; he signed the DVD itself, and then shook my hand. I had nothing to say vis-a-vis baskets of flowers, chit-chat or general gushing (though Richmeister thoughts did emerge, I restrained myself: there would have been a lynchin’) and I wandered off afterwards. I found the people who had been standing next to me, showed the pictures I had on the camera LCD screen, and told them I’d email them over the weekend.

The concert in the evening was pretty good. It’s mostly older songs, so I didn’t recognize most of them, just the old Police hits and a few of the more recent ones. No pictures from there, though, as cameras weren’t allowed (though people tried to take pictures with their phonecams; no idea how those would turn out, but I guess they’d be good enough). Sting sang “A Day In the Life” as a Beatles tribute. It sounded weirdly hollow, not least because I had just listened to St. Pepper during my CD ripping exercise. The Beatles did a lot of weird things to produce the sound on the album, things that can’t be recreated on stage with a four-man band. Sting also closed one of the encores with a rendition of “Every Breath You Take” that was peppy and almost entirely without the creepy, menacing stalker undertones of the original version. Strange how intonations change things, though one can’t entirely get away from the lyrics.

All-in-all, a good day.

One Response to “Sting”

  1. Sting fan Says:

    I’ve found a lot of Sting lyrics at this website: