Regina ... CONCERT REVIEW: Bryan Adams
JEFF DEDEKKER Leader-Post
February 20, 2014. 12:30 am
Conexus Arts Centre
For a second time around, Bryan Adams certainly knows how to keep his Bare Bones tour fresh.
The 54-year-old Canadian rocker returned with the tour to Regina on Wednesday — Adams initially brought the Bare Bones concept to the Queen City on Feb. 12, 2009 — and while the two shows shared some similarities, each was distinct enough to stand on its own merit.
For those who weren’t fortunate enough to catch the tour on its first foray to Regina, Adams explained exactly what the evening would entail.
“I’m taking 35 years of songwriting and reducing it down to the smallest musical configuration — my voice, my guitar and Gary (Breit) on the piano,” said Adams.
The name for the tour is quite apt — the staging is minimal with only a backdrop and the lighting is sparse as well. Yet the scene fits the performance perfectly with Adams leading the audience through an intimate and sometimes revealing show.
Adams was in fine form musically. His work on the guitar, with some additional support from his harmonica, was excellent. And his distinct voice was also impressive — his trademark raspiness is what gives Adams’ voice its edginess.
But what made the evening special for the full house at the Conexus Arts Centre was getting a glimpse or two at Adams the man, as opposed to just Adams the musician.
At times it was almost like Adams was sitting in your living room, regaling you with stories between songs.
In introducing When You Love Someone, he shared a missed opportunity with the crowd.
“I wrote this for the MTV Unplugged album … it was used in a Sandra Bullock film and Kenny Rogers recently recorded a country version of it. I really enjoyed it and asked his management for Kenny’s email address so I could send him a note,” said Adams. “I did that, not expecting a reply, and I ended up getting a nice note back from Kenny.
“I guess I should’ve written to Sandra Bullock.”
Adams also talked about many of the people he’d collaborated with over the years as songwriters. He spoke a couple of time about longtime collaborator Jim Vallance, describing their meeting and subsequent partnership as a “happy accident.”
The duo wrote a litany of hits over the year but Cuts Like A Knife, which they wrote in 1983, has a special place for Adams.
“This is the song that got us out of the sh*tty clubs and into the better sh*tty clubs,” he said with a chuckle.
Adams also touched on his musical influences. Some, he admitted, where obvious, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. But as a teenager Adams also found inspiration in Janis Joplin.
“Growing up I was totally transfixed by Janis Joplin’s voice. I was amazed listening to her sing Me And Bobby McGee. And then I found out that Kris Kristofferson wrote that song and that led me to Kristofferson, who is an amazing songwriter.”
Adams paid tribute to them with a remarkable version of the Kristofferson hit Help Me Make It Through The Night. It’s a song that most wouldn’t expect to come from Adams but his emotion and haunting vocals made the song his own.
The 24-song, 110-minute set was a wonderful journey through Adams’ incredible catalogue of hits. Whether it was a raucous hit from the ‘80s or a tender love ballad from any number of movies Adams has written for, there was something for everyone.
That also explains why, as Adams admitted, he can find his way to Regina every two years or so and still find an audience ready, willing and able for the next show.
1. Run To You
2. It’s Only Love
3. I Thought I’d Seen Everything
4. Here I Am
5. When You Love Someone
6. This Time
7. I Finally Found Someone
8. Can’t Stop This Thing We Started
9. If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good
10. (Everything I Do) I Do It For You
11. Cuts Like A Knife
12. Help Me Make It Through The Night
13. Summer of ‘69
14. Walk On By
16. Back To You
17. All For Love
18. Alberta Bound
19. The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You
21. You’ve Been A Friend To Me
22. Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?
23. I Still Miss You … A Little Bit
24. Straight From The Heart