BRYAN ADAMS – LIVE AT METROPOLITAN, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL, April 27th 2017
Well, as all of you, Melodic Net readers may already know, I am na 80’s guy. And my story with Bryan Adams dates back to 1984, when his masterpiece “Reckless” album was out. Being 8 years old at the time, in a country where Rock Music was basically nothing, let’s consider it’s been a very, very long time. Although I have always been much more into hair bands from that era, justl like Kiss, Motley Crue and Twisted Sister, a simple first listen to Bryan Adams songs on the radio had then started a lifelong affair. Tracks like “Summer Of ‘69”, “Somebody”, “Run To You”, “It’s Only Love” (his memorable duet with Tina Turner) and the older “Cuts Like A Knife” and “Straight From The Heart”, not to mention the mega, super hit “Heaven”, which was the theme song for a very well known Brazilian soap opera back in 1985, were crucial so that Bryan had then a very loyal fanbase in Brazil, and then in South America. Let’s say that, between 1984 and 1986, radio stations and TV programs of this era were overflooded with Bryan Adams music. I must admit that, due to my personal passion for Glam Rock bands, Bryan Adams didn’t become one of my favorite artists when I was a kid. But it was undeniable that his songs were as good (if not better than) as the bands I worshiped because of their music and image.
His next album “Into The Fire” and its follow-up, the double “Live Live Live” came unnoticed by mosto f his fans (later on I got to know it was not only around here), even though they were also pretty good albums. But with the release of his next record (yes, at the time we all called them “records”), the masterpiece “Waking Up The Neighbors”, it was simply impossible not to fall in love with Mr. Adams’s music again.Not only did it include the worldwide hit “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)”, the theme song of the “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves” movie, but it also delivered amazing, worldwide-known singles as “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started”, “Do I Have To Say The Words?”, “Thought I’d Died And Gone To Heaven”, “All I Want Is You” and one of my all time faves, “There Will Never Be Another Tonight”, not leaving alone all the other tracks off this magnificent release. If 1984’s “Reckless” gave Bryan Adams international recognition, it was “Waking Up The Neighbors” that made him one of the biggest, million-selling and most respected singers and songwriters in Rock (I still can’t figure out why and how people label him as a “pop artist”... maybe because he never wore fancy clothes and long hair? If so, that’s total bullshit). At the end of his extensive world tour to promote the “Neighbors” album, a greatest hits album was released, “So Far So Good”, with the timeless “Please Forgive Me” radio hit, which also became huge all over the world. By 1993, Bryan Adams had sold more records worldwide than most Glam Rock bands together, but the label of being another “pop” artist was still alive. Did he really care? Certainly not, and not even the fans who made his music the soundtrack of their lives.
After some years off (releasing another timeless song, “All For Love”, which was the theme song of “The Three Musketeers” picture movie, and that also featured the pop giants Rod Stewart and Sting sharing lead vocal duties with him), Bryan made his come back with the great “18 Till I Die” album in 1996. This album not only brought Mr. Adams back to the mainstream, with lots of great songs, but also included two movie picture soundtrack tunes on its international versions: “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?” (Don Juan DeMarco) and “I Finally Found Someone” (The Mirror Has Two Faces, a duet with Barbra Streisand). Other than these tracks, this album also featured more #1 singles all over the world, and Bryan Adams was back in the scene, living up to the legacy he had built, one that is hard to compare to other artists’ til this day.
Bryan Adams’s follow-up albums, “On A Day Like Today” (with the hits “Cloud Number Nine” and “When You’re Gone”), “Room Service” and “11”, and also the soundtrack for another huge movie, “Spirit – Stallion Of The Cimarron” (with the hit “Here I Am”), and his “Anthology” greatest hits album and ”bare Bones” acoustic live album, never let him fall in ostracism. His “MTV Unplugged” album and video was also a milestone in his career. Five fantastic live DVDs and the 2014 “Tracks Of My Years” masterpiece cover album (another one of my all time faves from him) always made a difference in this artist’s nearly untouchable catalog. I must be honest telling you all that, after “Tracks Of My Years”, I was really skeptical about Bryan Adams being able to put out another great album any time soon. Well, I couldn’t be more wrong. His last album, “Get Up”, is another one which will certainly stand the test of time. And I guess it’s not only my opinion, you know...
Meeting Bryan Adams and seeing him live for the first time in 2007, during his “Anthology” tour, was certainly one of my biggest dreams come true. And now, 10 years later, being able to meet him and seeing him live again, were also times I’ll remember till the day I die. Was the 2007 concert good? Yes, it was. Maybe not good, but awesome (I’ll never forget his including “There Will Never be Another Tonight” in the live set because I kindly asked him to). Was this last show good? No, it wasn’t. It was even better. OK, I am a fan, so maybe you uys will give a second thought about what you’re about to read. But trust me, I’ve been na Ace Frehley fan for life and his solo show, which I also covered for Melodic Net, was reviewed without the “fan glasses”. This review goes the same way.
Getting to the venue abou tone hour earlier felt strange, since there were less than a thousand people there. The last thing I wanted was that Bryan Adams, after 10 years, faced a small crowd in Rio de Janeiro, just like Def Leppard did in 1997. Anyway, believe it or not, half na hour before the beginning of the concert, the place was packed, really packed. That felt great. In a first glance at the stage, all one could see was an extremely simple stage, no pyro, no side screens, just a big back screen with Bryan’s “Get Up” album cover on it. Too simple in my humble opinion, but that was Bryan Adams after all. About 20 minutes after the scheduled time for the show to start (well, there was really heavy rain in Rio, and it took me about two hours and a half to get there), Bryan and his band hit the stage. “Do What You Gotta Do”, off his new album “Get Up”, was the opening track, followed by the hit “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started”. Bryan seemed to still be trying to notice the crowd’s reaction, but by the third song, the new “Don’t Even Try”, he and his awesome band, which still consists of top-notch musicians Keith Scott (lead guitar, one of the most underrated guitar players ever) and “monsterous” drummer Mickey Currey, were already comfortable enough not only to enjoy themselves whileon stage, but also to deliver the best performance they could. At 57, Bryan Adams is still young enough to rock the house down, as he and his fellow longtime musical partners could show it.
Do you guys remember the simple big screen at the back I mentioned above? Well, folks, it was not as simple. At all. During the show, everyone could see not only all kinds of images, ranging from the new “Get Up” album cover changing, as some kind of slide movement or 3D video effect, nonstop (something I had never, ever seen), going through Bryan and his band’s old images, to the audience, sometimes mixing all these images into one wonderful scene. The five guys wearing jeans pants and suit jackets on stage meant business, taking the idea of entertainment to a next level that not even bands like Kiss had thought of. The hit “Run To You” was played then, after Bryan’s saying that they would play lots of old songs and lots ofnew songs as well (which they did). Well, anything from the “Reckless” and “Waking Up The Neighbors” albums would be welcomed by every single person in the house. What came next was, undoubtfully, one of the very best songs off his new “Get Up” album, “Go Down Rocking”. I personally tweeted Bryan to let him know this one just couldn’t be out of the set! If he ever read it, I’ll never know it. What really matters is that this new classic was played, and I personally couldn’t be happier about it. No, I’m lying. “Heaven”, one of his biggest hits came next, and the memories... oh, the memories... Anyone who’s ever been to one of his favorite artist’s concert knows exactly what I mean... Seeing an artist play a song, face to face with you, that you’ve been listening to for the last 33 years does mean something special. The memories... Keith Scott shone on this one for sure, playing that memorable guitar solo of his, while Bryan simply let him be on the spotlight. That was way nice! Taking advantage of the “Reckless” excitement, “Kids Wanna Rock” followed, proving that Bryan Adams isn’t an ordinary pop artist as many think till this day. If this isn’t a Hard Rock track, I don’t know what is! One of those songs that one can’t stand still, without a doubt. From easy-listening pop to hard rock songs, that’s what’s made Bryan one of the biggest artists from the 80’s, whose music is strong, alive and well more than thirty years later. Still going “Reckless”, Bryan and the guys played the hit “It’s Only Love”, immortalized on that album by the man himself and Tina Turner. A rock song that, just like most of his 80’s ones, still sounds fresh. Guitarist Keith Scott was on the spotlight again, playing some short but incredible solos during small breaks at the end of this amazing tune. Well, Keith and Mickey have been Bryan’s team players for over thirty years. It’s nice to see they’re still playing together, enjoying themselves on stage and playing this bunch of timeless classics.
Watch: “Run To You”
It was a good surprise listening to “Cloud Number Nine”, a song that didn’t make it big here in Brazil, but is certainly another fan favorite, this being followed by the new album opening track “You Belong To Me”, on which the big, high-tech screen in the back played something like a promo video of it while they were playing it. Also, before announcing it, Bryan asked the crowd how the command “shake your ass” was said in Portuguese. He was surely having fun, and he told the audience to shake their asses in the middle of the song, since he and the band would do the same. Bryan Adams is surely not only one of the best singers, songwriters, hit makers of his generations, but continues being a very charismatic and loved performer. In order to close this trilogy, “Summer Of ‘69” was delivered perfectly. This being one of his biggest hits ever, it’s needless to say that it was sung by every single person who was there. It did bring tears to his fans’ eyes, me included. Bryan may have been a bit naive having this song’s lyrics on the screen – maybe to make sure the crowd would sing every single line of its lyrics. That was beautiful to see, but an unnecessary move, since such lyrics to such a timeless rock song would never, ever be forgotten, especially in such a special occasion. It was surely one of the top moments of this two-hour show.
Watch: “Summer Of ‘69”
After so many great songs and his band rocking hard, it was time for Bryan to really slow down (it doesn’t mean that when an artist plays a ballad that his shows do). Keyboardist / pianist Gary Breit was the only one who remained onstage while Bryan picked up his acoustic guitar. I hadn’t thought about this possibility, really, even though he toured successfully like that very few years ago. “Here I Am” was the first song that was beautifully presented in this format, once again making his fans delirious. He then said he wouldn’t be able to play all the songs that were being requested, but that he would try to play something from each one of his albums. Another surprise was “Heat Of The Night”, off his “Into The Fire” album, a song that’s never been that popular but, guess what, sung voraciously by his diehard fans. Such a great version for such a wonderful tune. “When You’re Gone”, the huge US hit, but not that big here in Brazil was next, but then again, sung by everyone that was there. It was surely another great surprise, since it’s another one of his great songs for sure. And to close this part of the set, no better song than his timeless, wonderful, magnificent (OK, I’m done with the adjectives...) “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)”. Once again, at least in my case, it was hard to hold the tears and think of the memories this epic ballad brings. Well, I am sure I wasn’t the only one. “Everything I Do” was undoutbfully another one of those moments that one will never forget. By the middle of the song, his great band had come back to finish it, and this arrangement was memorable. Guitarist Keith Scott could show again how talented he is, and why Bryan has kept him in the band for so long. It was a perfect, wonderful closure of this four-song set.
Watch: “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)”
The band was back, and “Back To You”, off “MTV Unplugged”, was appropriate enough to keep on this great show. I still wonder why such a great song has got a studio version that is so hard to find. That was another one which was a nice surprise, and that the public sang along to from start to finish. Then it was time for Bryan and his band to play the new “We Did It All”, which fit perfectly in the set. Not so many artists play so many new songs these days. But that’s the secret, as I’ve always said it: releasing a great new album and having the new material played in between old, well-known classics. The result? Perfection.
“Somebody”, another super hit, was played, and the crowd simply went crazy. How Bryan Adams’s songwriting skills can range from rockers like this to commercial, extensively radio-played ballads to even other styles, still remains a secret to me and other millions of people. Why am I saying that? Well, even though the next song, “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?”, is a ballad, it’s much more than that, since it’s totally different from power ballads of his generation. Spanish guitars don’t have much to do with radio hits, do they? In this case, it really did, having become another one of his biggest hits. Bryan and Keith played it graciously, while the song’s promo video played on the big background stage screen. Again, fans never seemed to get tired of these hits, just like Bryan and the band didn’t when they played them. Want some more? So there you go... who in the venue would dare not to sing along to the classic “Please Forgive Me”? Probably, not a single soul. That was the third time I felt tears rolling down my cheeks, and I’m not ashamed at all to confess it. Another one of my B.A. favorite songs ever... memories? Yes, lots of them.
Some would say Bryan Adams is nothing but a ballad maker. God have mercy on them. The guys cameback to rocking when they played Bryan’s very first hit song, 1983’s “Cuts Like A Knife”. Well, it can be as catchy as a pop song can be, but nobody can deny the rock and roll hooks it’s got, including the infectious, great Keith Scott guitar solo. A certain crowd pleaser till this day, once you see thousands of fans singing the good, old “nah nah nah” lyrics. Cheesy? Certainly. But just go and try to write a song like that... and fail miserably! The question I had myself was “what about his great ‘18 Till I Die’ album?”... That was when Bryan and the band kicked in two tracks off it, the amazing “18 Till I Die” and “The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You”, the latter also with its promo video on the amazing background screen I have mentioned. Earlier that night he promised he would give a little bit of each one of his albums, at least of his huge ones, and he did. That felt great, especially if one considers the first time Bryan Adams was supposed to make it to Brazil was during that tour and, for some reason, the then announced shows simply didn’t happen. That was “the last song in the set” before they came back onstage very few minutes later.
Watch: “The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You”
Before having become a writer for music websites (more than once) I was a music fan. A diehard one. If I told you all I haven’t spent years and big money on music, meeting some of my biggest music heroes, etc I would be lying. Stalking them? Never. I don’t see it that way. But since there’s technology these days, I can’t help looking for, once in a while, what my music heroes are doing at the moment. Taking that into consideration, I couldn’t keep away from sending Bryan Adams, as I said before, a tweet asking him to play two songs off his brand new album “Get Up”, these being “Go Down Rocking” (as mentioned above) and the wonderful “Brand New Day”. Again, I’ll never know if he ever read that tweet. But he did play “Brand New Day” as the first encore song. What a nice, perfect song that is! Just like most of his music, it’s a wonderful song that has everything it takes to become one of his timeless rock hits. The next one, “C’mon Everybody”, an old classic rock and roll song he’s been playing live for ages now, and which was one of the bonus tracks of the “Tracks Of My Years” album, was also a good surprise. That was when the band left the stage and Bryan remained there on his own, picking up his acoustic guitar.
Watch: "Brand New Day"
The fact that he had done a whole acoustic tour basically by himself, which resulted in the amazing “Bare Bones” live album and the “Live At Sydney Opera House” live DVD, should have made us think the man would also do such a thing on that night. And he did. The second part of the encore, which was played entirely by Bryan Adams by himself, started with the amazing “She Knows Me”, one of the very few songs written by himself and Jim Vallance off his amazing “Tracks Of My Years” cover album. I bet no one was really expecting this great song, and neither was I. Such an amazing one, which graciously started the end of this outstanding night. When it was over, we all could see him grab his harmonica and start his 1983 “Straight From The Heart” hit. Once more, it brought the audience, who had been following his musical steps for somany years, lots of memories. Bryan can certainly be proud not only of his stellar legacy in music, but also being responsible for writing the soundtrack of millions of people’s lives, for over 35 years. I can still remember listening to “Straight From The Heart” on the radio when I was 7. A nostalgic, sweet feeling his fans are still proud of. He then thanked Rio for being “a beautiful audience” on that night, preparing himself then for the very last song of the night. He kindly asked the thousands of people in the house to light up their cell phones (and this was shown again on the background stage screen), and honestly, that was another magic moment. When he hit “All For Love” (another one of my very favorite songs of his), we had a scene that can’t be seen often in concerts nowadays – while he was playing it, under only one spotlight, people were with their phones lift lighting the venue and, yes, there were lots of emotional crying again (I admit it, me included). He kindly thanked and said goodbye one last time and left the stage.
Watch: “Straight From The Heart”
Watch: “All For Love”
Summing up, even though I am more into hair bands and real hard rock music, whose bands usually have the image to back the music up, it’s undeniable that few artists have the musicianship, the legacy and the worldwide hit singles as Bryan Adams and a few more artists considered “pop” by many do. In Bryan’s case, well, I guess everything has been said on this review. He’s always been an artist who has relied more on his music and songwriting instead of the image, different from 90% of his fellow 80’s acts. It was weird loving that show that much, since there were no pyro and fancy stage effects, just five guys wearing jeans and suit jackets, proving that what it takes to be “timeless” is way more than good looks, fire, theatrics and such. That’s why, maybe, Bryan has been around for so long and will probably be in many years to follow. His fans, who are all ages, will be there for him, no matter what, living up to the music that is still strong and feels fresh till this day, and to the music to come, that will certainly not disappoint both audiences and critics. Bryan Adams, a living legend who, just like wine, gets better as time passes by. A true artist... in jeans and a suit jacket.
“Do What You Gotta Do”
"Can't Stop This Thing We Started"
"Don't Even Try"
"Run To You"
"Go Down Rocking"
"Kids Wanna Rock"
"It's Only Love"
"Cloud Number Nine"
"You Belong To Me"
"Summer Of '69"
"Here I Am"
"Heat Of The Night"
"When You're Gone"
"Everything I Do (I Do It For You)"
"Back To You"
"We Did It All"
"Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?"
"Please Forgive Me"
"Cuts Like A Knife"
"18 Till I Die"
"The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You" encore
"Brand New Day"
"C' mon Everybody"
"She Knows Me"
"Straight From The Heart"
"All For Love"