While I am of a demographic that grew up as Bryan Adams made one hit after another, I had yet to experience one of his live shows. And what an experience it is. If you are someone that is more apt to catch shows at smaller venues and perhaps shy away from the big stadium shows, I invite you to give Adams a chance—you won’t be disappointed.
Having lasting success in the fickle music business is, in my humble opinion, a combination of talent, passion, perseverance, timing and a good dose of luck. Adams has a few scoops of all and then some. He runs a tight ship and it seems to have served his stellar career well. This is a man that knows what works for him and gives his perpetually growing fan base exactly what they crave.
The tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of the wildly successful album, Reckless, rolled into the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville CT. This giant show, staged in the arena, had a personal touch and a wonderful flow. 21 songs on the set list with five—yes, count ’em, five—encore tunes! It’s hard to believe he made this album 30 years ago when you see his spirited performance.
The aesthetics of this two-hour show had Adams’ fingerprints all over them: very classic with mostly black & white photos from back in the day and video flickering on the giant backdrop screens. This blended seamlessly of course with the band members’ simple black jeans and T’s.
The full arena was politely keeping their seats…for the first song, then like a wave starting from the stage, they were up and as much a part of the show as the band. The anthem “Kids Wanna Rock” had fists pumping and was punctuated by a bangin’ drum solo from Mickey Curry. We were treated to a slick guitar solo during “It’s Only Love.” Keith Scott can not only play guitar, he illustrates several times during the show that he can play with it…while it flies around his neck or from flat on his back.
The set list was interspersed with some terrific commentary, while the overall flow never skipped a beat. This audience was listening to every word and Adams could command the crowd with just a facial expression. There was a give and take going on that hit a high as the strains of “Summer of 69” began. The beautiful thing about hearing these songs live for the first time was that they delivered sound, soul and sass. The hits are so numerous that getting an obscure song is a rare treat, and we got one: “I Ain’t Gonna Cry Over You.”
I don’t think there was a single spot on the large stage that the didn’t get a visit from both Adams and Scott as they played to the audience that was sure they were singing directly to them. While I would bet every movement is orchestrated, there were special spots that could have only happened spontaneously. At one point, Adams calls out for a wild gal and the cameras go on to pan the arena. Props to a good sport named Vicki who nailed a dance to the song, “If You Wanna Be Bad,” that Adams good-naturedly appreciated. Sexy yet PG enough for the family sitting in front of me.
While this tour was about celebrating the past hits, new music is set to be released before the end of summer and if history is any indication, there will be even more reasons to get yourself to a show.
The Reckless Tour continues with dates in the US scheduled through September. For all the details on everything past, present and future for Adams’ music, photography and philanthropy, check here.