For longtime fans of Sting, the news is good on the music front: The solo artist and former frontman of The Police is about to release his first new record in a decade.
"The Last Ship" (Polydor Records), which is due on Sept. 23, is also the name of a Broadway play co-written by Sting about his growing up in the 1950s around a decaying shipyard in northern England. The production is slated for a 2014 debut.
However, the new tracks don't figure into Sting's current "Back To Bass" tour, which makes a stop Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15, at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa's Event Center at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City.
For this latest road trip, Sting is focusing on 20 or so of his greatest hits from his solo career and his days with The Police.
According to Reverb critic Kristopher Coe, Sting has still got "it" –– skinny jeans and all.
"Forget the 16 Grammy Awards and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame credentials," Kristopher Coe writes of an early June performance at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Golden, Colo. "How many 61-year-old men can still rock skinny jeans?
"He's still got it. Sting's vocals still sound crystalline, his musical chops are uncanny and his catalog is the unabridged manifesto for Rock Theory 101. He's the original hipster - and the flattery is well-earned."
With a set ranging from the opener, 1993 hit "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You," through earlier solo material such as "An Englishman in New York" and Police classics, such as "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" and "Message in a Bottle," Sting ably surveys the bulk of his 35-year career.
The only quibble for San Francisco Chronicle critic Aidin Vaziri is Sting's tendency to fix what isn't broken with his songs.
"No one can ruin 'Roxanne' quite like Sting," Vaziri writes of an early June show at the new America's Cup Pavilion in San Francisco.
Sting "just couldn't resist tweaking" that 1978 single "with an extended round of scat singing, wedging a thoroughly unnecessary fiddle solo into 'Driven to Tears,' or using 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da' as an excuse to slap his bass like the theme from 'Seinfeld,'" Vaziri writes.
The tinkering did little to dim the enthusiasm of the audience, for which "even deflated versions of 'Message in a Bottle' and 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' sent ripples through the capacity crowd," Vaziri writes.
Nor did it mask Sting's still-powerful stage presence.
"He remains a natural charmer, too, who can still elicit shrieks by simply removing his jacket or tempering some of his more austere material with a dose of self-depreciation," Vaziri writes.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and
Saturday, June 14 and 15
WHERE: Event Center, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City
WEB SITE: Sting.com