Bryan Adams is a survivor. His videos were staples of 1980's-era MTV and his many hit singles dominated radio airwaves all over the globe in that same decade. While many of his contemporaries who scored similar successes have long since been forgotten, the Canadian-born rocker is still out there doing his thing and, based on his stunning show at Ruth Eckerd Hall last Wednesday night, he's still doing it well. [Text by Gabe, photos by Tracy.]
Adams is currently out on the "Bare Bones" tour, an all-acoustic tour that features him performing solo on guitar, with occasional accompaniment pianist Gary Breit. While it takes a certain amount of gumption to traipse around performing stripped-down, unadorned renditions of your catalog of hits, Adams pulled off this daunting feat with the greatest of ease. And the very vocal and appreciative near-capacity crowd of 1,936 seemed elated all evening.
For two hours, Adams, without the aid of an opening act, treated a roomful of faithful fans to a vast array of hits, stories and anecdotes, with a few off-the-cuff moments scattered throughout. The most memorable was a totally impromptu duet with a diehard. After reading the bright, eye-catching sign held up by Mark Twining, a 41-year old lifelong Bryan Adams fan from Largo, Adams invited Twining to hop up on stage and share the mic with him. Twining asked to sing "Lonely Nights," an early hit that, according to what Twining said to me after the show, "Changed my life the first time I heard it." It was obvious that the unplanned duet made quite an impression on Mark. He seemed visibly shaken and awed by the opportunity, and the audience reveled in the spontaneity of it all, rising to their feet for a hearty standing ovation at the song's conclusion.
While many of Adams' best-known rockers took on a whole new life performed as pared-down, sparse acoustic numbers, the sappiness of some of his more turgid ballads was enhanced. But Adams was able to satisfy everyone in the house by wisely mixing up his setlist and keeping it varied. Older material was interwoven with more recent stuff; FM radio rockers were played alongside Adult Contemporary tear-jerkers and no one seemed to bat an eye.
Adams has been able to successfully retain a loyal fan base who sing along passionately and feverishly at his concerts. He's sold a ton of records in his long career and his music is still alive and well on most '80's radio stations around the country. He's been successful enough to focus more on his recent career as a fashion photographer than on his musical career.
But Wednesday night, Bryan Adams was a rock star and he more than proved his worth with only his guitar to aid him. He once sang about how "Kids Wanna Rock"; while his audience may not be kids anymore, they still certainly wanna rock and they surely got what they wanted.
Run To You
How Do Ya Feel Tonight
Back To You
Here I Am
Do I Have To Say The Words?
Let's Make A Night To Remember
Can't Stop This Thing We Started
Still Beautiful To Me
Heat Of The Night
Not Romeo Not Juliet
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You
Cuts Like A Knife
If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good
Please Forgive Me
Summer of '69
Walk On By
The Right Place
The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You
You've Been A Friend To Me
Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?
I Still Miss You..A Little Bit
Straight From The Heart