Live Review: Bryan Adams

21 March 2016 | 3:16 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

"Some proper '80s sidestepping is dusted off for Summer Of '69 and visuals depicting the song's lyrics penned on naked skin assist with our singalong."

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A blown-up image of the cover art from Bryan Adams' latest Get Up album acts as backdrop. As we stare at it, we swear the image comes to life and the Canadian artist licks his lips. Are we hallucinating? It's not until the music fades out to make way for a buzzing sound and then a giant blowfly lands square on Adams' nose that we realise these are clever graphics.

Adams, last here for our 2015 AFL Grand Final entertainment, arrives on stage around 8.20pm sporting a Mad Men-esque Brylcreemed 'do, black blazer, dark jeans and super-polished black shoes — he's still got it. His backing band are dressed like rockstars instructed to fancy it up for the red carpet and it looks like all on stage share a barber. Can't Stop This Thing We Started struts in at song two and we're away. Run To You is all sexy no sleaze and those duelling guitars are everything. Adams directs his mic out to the audience and we kick off Heaven without him: "Oh - thinkin' about all our younger years.." as closeups of front row devotees singing/swooning up at the singer are broadcast on the giant screens. He doesn't join in until, "And baby, you're all that I want..." — clearly impressed by our lyrical knowledge and goes on to scale every high note in trademark gravelly style. 

Keith Scott's beloved instrument is battered, vastly contrasting his dapper attire. He's a dynamic electric guitarist as demonstrated throughout Kids Wanna Rock. His around-the-world guitar trick during It's Only Love — when Scott leans forward and whips his instrument full-circle around his neck on its strap — draws gasps. Some proper '80s sidestepping is dusted off for Summer Of '69 and visuals depicting the song's lyrics penned on naked skin assist with our singalong. Those vocal deviations ("Man we were killin' time...") are particularly satisfying to belt out. Adams tells us he loves the way Aussies pronounce his name, "B-R-I-N-E, Brine!"

Adams introduces Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman? by saying it's really a song to help guys when they don't know what to say to their ladies. The visuals that accompany this song, which opens with Scott expertly playing Spanish guitar, are like a cheesy karaoke video. Adams tells us he remembers first playing here in '92 or '93 (yep, we were there!) when he was surprised to notice we were already familiar with Cuts Like A Knife. And how everyone enjoys yelling out those "Na-na-na" bits! 

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The encore contains a rockin' C'mon Everybody cover before the band leave the stage and only Adams remains. There's something plaintive in his husky timbre and Adams sings Straight From The Heart, during which he plays some harmonica. Adams points out a gent down front who has been in attendance every time he's visited out shores, thanking said fan for a video he posted — also featuring his son — on Adams' Facebook. Naw! Adams is so genuine in his interaction with the crowd! After Adams leaves the stage, we're left a tad confused as to whether he'll return for one more song with full band. He doesn't. We've already heard it tonight, but closing with Summer Of '69 would've been next-level!