RIGA/TALLINN - There once was a young man named Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner who performed with a band called the Jazzmen. At one point in his young musical career, Gordon appeared on stage wearing a black and yellow jersey that a fellow bandmate said made him look like a bumblebee. From then on, Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner was known as Sting. Today that silly nickname is world famous: Sting - '80s icon, '90s heart throb, star of "Dune" and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," and tantric sex promoter. And in three months, the world star will visit the Baltics.
July is still some time away, but with Sting's mass popularity in this corner of the world, tickets are sure to sell out within weeks.
As long as retro music continues to be a Baltic favorite, Sting's lyrics can be heard on nearly every radio station.
The British musician's songs, from the early years to his most recent album, "Sacred Love" are played in restaurants, shopping malls, taxi cabs, waiting rooms and nearly every other corner of the Baltic. Whether or not Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians understand his poetic and often morose lyrics is besides the point - the songs are just plain catchy. As Sting has said himself, he's good at writing incredibly depressing lyrics to very nice and happy tunes.
Sting has also earned a reputation for his few TV and movie cameos. In the early '90s, he made a hilarious guest appearance on "The Simpsons," singing a charity benefit song to aid Bart Simpson, who has fallen down a well: "We're sending our love down a well / to a kid who is halfway to hell."
And then he sold his soul to corporate America when he allowed "Desert Rose" to be used as a tie-in with Jaguar commercials.
Sting also served as the inspiration for Alan Moore's comic book character John Constantine, and once narrated a version of Sergei Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf."
And he's also a philanthropist. When Sting performed for the Live 8 charity concert event, he changed the lyric in "Every Breath You Take" from "I'll be watching you" to "We'll be watching you," as a way of putting pressure on all members of the G-8 Summit. That means one of the great canonical songs about stalking was transformed into a song for political activism.
But music has always come first for Sting. And his fans love him for it. Surely this summer's concert will go down in Baltic history.
July 28 - Saku Arena, Tallinn.
Tickets 695 - 2000 kroons, (44-128 euros) can be purchased at www.piletilevi.ee
July 29 - Arena Riga. Riga
Tickets 20 - 35 lats (29-50 euros) can be purchased