What: Bryan Adams
Where: Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre
Thirty years: That’s how long it has been since Bryan Adams first unleashed Reckless on the world.
Thirty seconds: That’s the length of time it took for the 6,916 fans gathered Monday night to realize the 30th anniversary tour celebrating the album in its entirety was going to be one heck of a special evening.
Adams, 55, opened his sold-out Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre concert with the song Reckless, a dusty rarity that hasn’t seen the light of day in decades. Though the title track was left off the finished 10-song album, Adams scored points for including it during what was the kick-off to 15 dates in Canada. But in all honesty, he also deserves credit for keeping his forays into the world of the B-side fleeting on this night.
That was for the better, to be frank: As much as rarities Reckless, The Boys Night Out, and Let Me Down Easy — which was initially written for Stevie Nicks, and eventually covered by The Who’s Roger Daltrey — were interesting from a historical perspective, they nearly messed with the Reckless vibe. In a wise move, Adams tinkered with the running order of the studio album on this night, which allowed the unreleased songs to come in and out of the set without much bother, leaving the hits to occupy their own territory.
Genius move. By mixing the order in which 1984 classic unfurled, Adams gave the best of Reckless — Summer of ’69, Heaven, Kids Wanna Rock, It’s Only Love, Somebody and Run to You, natch — their proper moments in the sun. And what moments they were.
Heaven (a power-ballad gem) and Kids Wanna Rock (a barn-burning rock ’n’ roll workout) showcased separate sides of the Adams coin. He’s akin to a utility baseball player in that he does everything well; that said, he does a few things — the heartfelt ballad and the straight-ahead rocker — better than most musicians his age.
“Hey Victoria,” Adams said at the first opportunity to chat, to a drowning roar from the audience. “Nice to be back.”
The lovably raspy voice of his, which on a few occasions couldn’t replicate the Reckless sound of 30 years ago, was in fine shape. He’s older, and so are a large majority of his fans. But when the arena as a whole, from Adams and his band to the fans occupying the seats, sang along to Summer of ’69, that long, lasting relationship was a blessing. At certain points, it was like hanging out with someone you’ve known for too many years to count.
That his 86-year-old mother was there in the front row to see her son succeed made it all the more special.
That it has been 30 years since the release of Reckless, the fourth and arguably most important record of Adams’s career, wasn’t lost on anyone. But the audience gathered to see the Vancouver-raised performer didn’t forget about the new and relatively new stuff, either.
(Everything I Do) I Do It for You was a torch song sing-along of the top-shelf variety, while Can’t Stop This Thing We Started was its expected awesome self, and the recipient of another sing-along.
That’s how Adams operates when he’s rolling: One hit after another, from a variety of decades and in a variety of styles. And though the concert was in progress at press time — Adams does plays for hours and hours, after all — if our intel was correct, and he played the expected handful of covers, classics, and Can-rock gems, there is no reason not to call him one of the best ever, at least where rockers with hearts of gold are concerned.
- One Night Love Affair
- She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancin’
- Run to You
- The Boys Night Out
- Kids Wanna Rock
- It’s Only Love
- Long Gone
- Ain’t Gonna Cry
- Summer of '69
- Let Me Down Easy
- (Everything I Do) I Do It for You
- If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good
- Cuts Like a Knife
- Can't Stop This Thing We Started
- Please Forgive Me
- When You're Gone
- 18 til I Die
- Cloud #9
- The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You
- Running Scared
- You've Been a Friend to Me
- She Knows Me
- Straight from the Heart
- All for Love