Review by David Waterfield
Thirty years ago this month Bryan Adams released Reckless; an absolute monster of a classic rock album that topped the Billboard album charts, spawned six top 20 singles in the USA (including a number one single with ‘Heaven’) and went on to sell over 12 million copies Worldwide. Tonight’s concert is, at least in part, a celebration of that album.
The first half of the show is given over entirely to Reckless and it’s a testimony to the strength in depth of the album that every track still stands up in its own right. ‘Heaven’ wasn’t a major hit in the UK at the time and the song pre-dates Reckless, originally appearing on the soundtrack to ‘A Night In Heaven’, a Lesley Ann Warren film that tanked commercially back in 1983. The song has had a life of its own though and tonight the Birmingham audience sang along to every word – with Adams standing back from the microphone to let them sing the first verse and chorus by themselves.
The crowd’s most enthusiastic response is reserved for the classic hits that they know and love – ‘Run To You’, ‘Somebody’, ‘Summer Of ‘69’ ‘It’s Only Love’ – but it’s great to hear other tracks from the album too. ‘Kids Wanna Rock’ is still a thumping, energetic, no- nonsense rock n roll song, ‘Long Gone’ is often overlooked and tonight Bryan alters the lyrics (“Operator get me Birmingham, get my baby on the line!”) while ‘Ain’t Gonna Cry’ which Adams introduces as “a song no one gave two shits about” gets a rare run out and is as bonkers and over the top as always, with Adams playing off long-time collaborator Keith Scott and finishing with the guitarist lying on his back in the middle of the stage and ending the song with a scream.
After a rousing ‘Summer Of 69’ the Reckless section is brought gently down to earth with an acoustic rendition of ‘Let Me Down Easy’, an Adams/Vallance song from 1984 (included on the recent deluxe edition of Reckless) that was later recorded by Roger Daltrey.
The second half of the show sees Adams reach into his extensive back catalogue to pull out a series of hits and fan favourites; from the quality, no-frills rock of ‘Can’t Stop This Thing We Started’, ‘Cuts Like A Knife’ and ‘The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You’ to chart conquering power ballads including the inevitable ‘Everything I Do (I Do It For You)’. There was even time for a mass crowd sing along during ‘When You’re Gone’ which Adams performs solo on acoustic guitar. A five song encore concludes with an acoustic rendition of ‘All For Love’ as fans light up the LG Arena with their mobile phones.
Tonight was a celebration of a classic rock album and a slick, polished two hours plus set of romantic power ballads and unpretentious, feel-good rock ‘n’ roll. Bryan Adams was a convivial host and it was an enjoyable gig that sent thousands of his Midlands fans into the night happy.
2. One Night Love Affair
3. She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancin’
4. Run To You
6. Kids Wanna Rock
7. It’s Only Love
8. Long Gone
10. Ain’t Gonna Cry
11. Summer Of 69
12. Let Me Down Easy (acoustic)
13. Everything I Do (I Do It For You)
14. I Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good
15. Cuts Like A Knife
16. Can’t Stop This Thing We Started
17. Please Forgive Me
18. When You’re Gone (acoustic)
19. 18 Till I Die
20. Cloud 9
21. The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You
22. You’ve Been A Friend To Me
23. C’mon Everybody
24. She Knows Me
25. Straight From The Heart
26. All For Love