Review: Bryan Adams delivers hometown hits to Vancouver
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of 'Reckless,' Adams performed a marathon set at Rogers Arena on Jan. 14, 2015. (CTV/Anil Sharma)
Robert Collins, CTV Vancouver
Published Thursday, January 15, 2015 8:58AM PST
Last Updated Thursday, January 15, 2015 10:27AM PST
“Hey Vancouver!” smiled Bryan Adams, four songs into a marathon set at Rogers Arena last night. “It’s great to be back!”
The crowd roared its approval at its returning hero, the beginning of a night dripping with hometown nostalgia.
“This tour is celebrating the 30th anniversary of an album that was written in this town,” continued the raspy-voiced star of the evening. “There’ll be songs you know and songs you’ll be hearing for the first time.”
A sly smile crept across his face. “That’s the way it is. It’s my show.”
In Pictures: Bryan Adams gets 'Reckless' in Vancouver
Mercifully, the threatened avalanche of unheard material never materialized, as Adams and his band spent the evening delivering hit after hit after hit. The album being celebrated was 1984’s ‘Reckless,’ and the first half of the show drew entirely from that disc and its accompanying b-sides (if you don’t know what those are, ask your parents). That meant a barrage of classic rock radio staples from the very start, “One Night Love Affair” and “Run To You,” followed by underrated three-chord stomper “The Boys Night Out.” “Heaven” prompted the first mass sing-along of the night, soon followed by an equally audience-inclusive rendition of “Somebody.” Shout outs to Tina Turner and writing partner Jim Vallance were punctuated by a version of barroom rocker “Ain’t Gonna Cry” that saw lead guitarist and Vancouver native Keith Scott soloing while writhing around on his back. From a distance it resembled a seizure.
The crowd finally rose to its collective feet for “Summer of 69,” Adams’ most effective piece of storytelling augmented by a surprising and inexplicable pair of breasts on the giant screen behind him, before sitting back down again (and taking a collective pee break) for the mundane “Let Me Down Easy.”
“That concludes the Reckless part of the show,” grinned Adams, “But I have 11 albums.”
The hits kept coming. “Everything I Do” has lost none of its syrupiness, while Adams clearly regretted requesting a female volunteer from the crowd and a spotlight for “If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good,” an early candidate for the most uncomfortable piece of audience participation of 2015.
Adams quickly shook off this downturn with a gutsy “Cuts Like A Knife,” helped largely by a crowd eager to join in the fun.
“I’ve never heard anyone sing it as loud as that,” insisted Adams. “Pardon my language but that was f***ing amazing!”
As the show drew towards the two-hour mark Adams dismissed his band for a brisk acoustic guitar blast through “When You’re Gone,” repeating the trick during an encore for solo renditions of “Straight from the Heart,” “All for Love” and an edited “Alberta Bound,” its words wisely changed to “Vancouver Bound.”
These stripped down versions of his songs illustrated Adams’ true talent. Because while Vancouver’s hard working soft rock hero could never be described as an inspired songwriter, his ability to convert deceptively simple musical and lyrical ideas into choruses that connect with millions of people can’t be denied. Everywhere he goes, the kids want to rock. And on last night’s evidence, so do their parents.