BY TER STAFF
While on the surface it may seem like an unlikely pairing, Sting and Shaggy complemented each other in the best way possible on Tuesday night at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom for their co-headlining 44/876 Tour.
Rewind to earlier in the year when the two first released their debut single ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’, music fans everywhere raised eyebrows over the catchy but unexpected collaboration. But when you think about Sting and The Police’s strong reggae influences, it’s almost a no brainer for Sting and Shaggy to team up in some capacity. Both artists played a big role throughout the years in bringing reggae into mainstream radio, so when you dig deeper, the two have more similarities than they do differences.
So thanks to Martin Kierszenbaum (Sting’s manager and Shaggy’s A&R), the two combined forces, recorded a single, recorded an album and are now touring the country together in support of their new LP. Fast forward to October 2nd and fans at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom were able to enjoy the duo live and in person.
And if you went into Tuesday’s show not knowing what to expect, you weren’t alone. Would Shaggy open the show? Would the two perform together? Or some format even more unexpected than the collaboration itself?
What fans got though was a true co-headlining tour from Shaggy and Sting, where the two performed together on stage throughout the entire night, delivering cuts from their album, as well as Sting, Shaggy and The Police’s greatest hits. Although their 44/876 album (named after the UK’s +44 country code and Jamaica’s 876 area code) is certainly a great listen, the two were certainly aware that their fans came to hear the decades of hits. So with their 2-hour performance, Sting and Shaggy were able to deliver all of the above.
One thing that was instantly apparent was how much fun the two have performing together. Opening with Sting’s 1987 track ‘Englishman in New York’, Shaggy put his spin on things, flipping the song into ‘Jamaican in New York’, before performing their album’s title track. The two seemed to enjoy backing up the other, as much as they enjoyed performing their collaborative songs together.
It’s no surprise that Sting is able to enjoy himself at yesterdays venue either. Not only was it the legendary singer’s birthday, but Sting is no stranger to the Aragon Ballroom. Many fans in attendance last night were surely in the same building a year ago for Sting’s sold-out show in 2017. But Sting’s Aragon connections go back further than that, as The Police performed at the Aragon Ballroom on November 20th, 1980 for the band’s second tour ever. From that point on, the band hit stadium status and delivered memorable Chicago performances at Comiskey Park (’83) and Wrigley Field (2007).
With the two having the time of their lives, their fans followed, as the crowd enjoyed the performances from start to finish. Highlights were present throughout the night, but personal favorites included their performance of ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’ as well as their mash-up of ‘Roxanne’ and ‘Boombastic’, which brought their regular set to an end before their encore performance of The Police’s classic hit ‘Every Breath You Take’, Shaggy’s ‘It Wasn’t Me’ and more.
A year ago, Chicago music fans didn’t know they needed a Sting and Shaggy concert in the lives, but Chicago is so glad it got one!
Check out our photos from last night’s performance below and get your tickets for the remaining dates of the 44/876 Tour here.