In the Spotlight Sting: Summoner’s Travels

Nice and safe is the best way to describe this hour special, which is essentially a vehicle to help sell more copies of Sting's already top-selling album, "Ten Summoners Tales." A docu of this nature gives the filmmaker the opportunity to find out more about the artist and what makes him tick. No such insight is offered.

With:
Band: vocals/bass, Sting; drums, Vinnie Colaiuta; guitar, Dominic Miller; keyboards, David Sancious.

Nice and safe is the best way to describe this hour special, which is essentially a vehicle to help sell more copies of Sting’s already top-selling album, “Ten Summoners Tales.” A docu of this nature gives the filmmaker the opportunity to find out more about the artist and what makes him tick. No such insight is offered.

“Travels” features the singer-songwriter on tour in Italy, but there is little footage offstage.

What is shown backstage is distinguished by a B&W format. There are a few interview segs, and Sting comes across as contented and placid (read boring).

The setting for the concert is reminiscent of Roger Waters’ abstract piece, “Floyd at Pompeii,” with its ruined-coliseum look, but apart from a seg where Sting is shown half naked partaking in a “bit of yoga,” everything from camera angles to content is traditional. No danger of breaking new ground here.

When Sting was fronting the Police, the music was exciting, frantic and energetic, but as he has gotten older, his music has matured and changed, and his stage persona has transformed accordingly. While in the past he was more mobile on stage, now he merely stands in the same position for an entire performance.

Fans of the album will like the docu because the live performances are perfect re-productions of the record, with some old classics thrown in for good measure. Included are “Everything Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and “Every Breath You Take,” but even these are performed withless feeling than the original recordings.

In fairness to everyone involved, the band, including Sting, consists of first-rate musicians who make their own magic in the studio, and the filmmaking is absolutely pro.

In the Spotlight Sting: Summoner's Travels

(Wed. (15), 9-10 p.m., PBS)

Production: A production of Medialab and KRT/Howlin' Pictures in association with Thirteen/WNET in New York. Executive producer, Kim Turner, Miles Copeland; executive producer for "In the Spotlight," David Horn; director, Larry Jordan.

Crew: Editors, Bruce Ashley, Hal Schild; sound, Simon Osborne.

Cast: Band: vocals/bass, Sting; drums, Vinnie Colaiuta; guitar, Dominic Miller; keyboards, David Sancious.

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