Posted on: May 8, 2012 by #JLCREVIEWER - Jeff Shaughnessy @therealjeffs
For Bryan Adams, the following can truly be said - the more things change, the more they stay the same. That is not meant as a knock on the iconic Canadian rock star, but rather a compliment, or a testament of sorts to the fact that his formulaic hit rock songs from the 80's & 90’s have proven to stand the test of time. This was definitely proven on Saturday evening at the Budweiser Gardens by the 9000-plus strong voices singing along with 'Somebody', only the second song of his hit-laced set list.
Adams has always played off the 'regular Joe' rock star part with ease, whether it's by his trademark blue jeans and black or white t-shirt, or as is the case on this tour, even handling his own guitar changes between songs. Perhaps budget cutbacks within the Adams camp have axed the number of roadies available, but given the sold-out shows that always seem to follow him around, it’s highly doubtful that is the case.
Adams’ band, including lead guitarist Keith Scott, Gary Breit on Keyboards, Norm Fisher on bass, and Mickey Curry on Drums, almost seemed a little rusty for the first few songs of the night, as this reviewer noticed a few uncharacteristic 'blemishes' during 'Can't Stop This Thin We've Started', but given that it was only the 5th song of the still-young evening, the band had plenty of time to get warmed up... and get warmed up they did.
Adams and his long-time guitar player Scott share the same chemistry together onstage after 30-plus years together, and the first real moment of that chemistry was displayed Saturday evening during 'Hearts On Fire', where during the ending of the song, Adams and Scott traded guitar solos in a style reminiscent of Lynyrd Skynyrd on one of the portions of the stage that extended out into the audience (which wasn't the only homage to powerful bands of yester-year, as Adams also borrowed a line from Led Zeppelin at the end of 'Kids Wanna Rock').
Put simply, Adams’ mega-hit ‘Summer of '69’ can be viewed as a microcosm for a typical Bryan Adams show: a huge cheer accompanying an opening guitar riff, plenty of audience participation via sing-along, a melodic guitar solo from Keith Scott, and a huge rock ending by Adams and Co. As the show picked up momentum, the crowd continued to feed off the energy of Adams’ and the second half of the evening had some fun in store for the audience.
As if the giant video board wasn’t enough to keep the attention of those in attendance, Adams’ stage crew brought out a few buckets and pans for Curry to use during a unique rendition of ‘If You Wanna Leave Me (Can I Come, Too?)’, followed by a bucket-solo.
With the buckets removed from sight, Adams took centre stage on his own with an acoustic guitar and began ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’, much to the appreciation of the crowd. A spotlight fixed on Adams looked more like a beam you would see emanating from an alien spacecraft, and at one point, it looked as if the beam was going to whisk Adams away to the far-away land of hit song writers.
Adams’ had a huge hit when he collaborated with Melanie C of Spice Girls-fame in the late 90’s with the song ‘When You’re Gone’, and it has become the usual for Adams to select a lucky female audience member to belt out the song with him onstage. A young lady named Nikki, who mentioned she is a chef at a Longwoods Road restaurant, did a very admirable job of filling in for Mel C, and the audience showed their appreciation with a huge cheer for her at the end of the song. At one point prior to picking Nikki, Adams actually singled out my wife (‘I see a girl in a white sweater over there!’), which was quite a thrill!
After even more audience participation during the song ‘Heaven’, Adams and Co. pulled a fast one on the crowd by pretending to gesture for Tina Turner to join them on stage for the famous duet ‘It’s Only Love’. Adams mentioned that both he and guitarist Scott were thrilled to have worked with Turner on the song, remarking ‘not too bad for a couple of young guys from Vancouver’.
Ending the full-band portion of the evening with ‘Run To You’, Adams had the band take a bow, then took the stage to himself for the final songs of the evening. An acoustic rendition of ‘Straight From the Heart’ was met with, of course, even more crowd participation. The song ‘Alberta Bound’ was performed as ‘London Bound’, much to the delight of the audience, before wrapping up the show with the Sting-Rod Stewart-Adams mega-hit ‘All For Love’.
With the crowd begging Adams for an encore, he simply strode up to the centre-stage mic, and after taking numerous bows, simply yelled ‘You’ve been wonderful!’, and disappeared off stage. Without a doubt, the sold-out Budweiser Gardens was thinking the exact same thing about Adams after his performance on Saturday night.
Setlist – May 5, Budweiser Gardens, London, ON
Here I Am
Kids Wanna Rock
Can’t Stop This Thing We’ve Started
Thought I’d Died and Gone to Heaven
Hearts on Fire
Do I Have To Say The Words?
18 ‘til I Die
Back To You
Summer of ‘69
If You Wanna Leave Me (Can I Come Too?)/Touch The Hand
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You
Cuts Like a Knife
When You’re Gone (w/ Nikki from London!)
Please Forgive Me
It’s Only Love
Cloud Number Nine
The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You
Run To You
Straight From The Heart
All For Love