Most people turn 60 with a quiet party among friends or maybe a surprise bash put together on the DL by their spouses that features a hilarious slideshow or funny video. Not Sting. The former Police frontman and solo star plugged in and played with everyone from Lady Gaga to Mary J. Blige and Bruce Springsteen in celebration of his 60th birthday on Saturday night at the Beacon Theater in New York.
The event, a charity fundraiser for the anti-poverty group the Robin Hood Foundation, included Gaga on piano banging out a jazzy cover of the Police’s “King of Pain,” giving the sedate ballad the same kind of electric energy she brings to her own key-thumper “You and I,” according to Rolling Stone. She traded lines with Sting on a stage packed with up to 20 musicians, including a string section and backup singers, who helped the eternally youthful singer work his way though his 30-plus-year catalog of hits.
Among the other highlights: Stevie Wonder doing a duet with Sting on “Fragile,” will.i.am throwing a freestyle rap and bits of the BEP’s “I Gotta Feelin’ ” into the Police’s “Walking on the Moon,” Billy Joel marking a rare return to the stage for renditions of “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” Rufus Wainwright singing “Wrapped Around Your Finger,” and Sting teaming up with his son Joe for a moving rendition of the tune Sting wrote about his own relationship with his pops, “Why Should I Cry For You?”
One of the highlights of the evening was the mini-set with Springsteen, who waltzed out with his guitar to sing the sedate death-row ballad “I Hung My Head,” which featured a raucous guitar solo. He also performed a solo version of “Fields of Gold” on 12-string guitar and harmonica, with one verse sung a cappella. Sting came out to sing “Can’t Stand Losing You” with the Boss, with the two men leaning in to each other and howling the lyrics into the same microphone.
The night ended with the party’s guests trading lines on “Every Breath You Take,” with Gaga nodding to her piano icon, Joel, while singing the line “Can’t you see/ You’re the one for me.” Sting closed out the show with a solo acoustic version of “Message in a Bottle,” which was followed by wife Trudie Styler surprising him with a dozen bagpipers and a confetti drop that got the one-named rock icon misty. “Thank you a million times,” he told the crowd as he and the missus danced together onstage.