Back in the day, in my neck of the Northern Maine Woods, when FM stations were The Place to get your music, Bryan Adams was a new rocker coming out of Canada. “Hey, you’ve got to hear this guy.” That was the buzz about his second album, You Want it, You Got It, released in 1981, and that buzz turned into an uproar with the 1983 release of Cuts Like a Knife. Then there was 1984’s Reckless, a multi-platinum sensation, and the rest is history. Yes, the good old days when new music was sparse enough to let you sink your teeth into the cuts, smell the new vinyl, and read the liner notes. How things have changed. But Bryan Adams? He doesn’t seem to have changed a bit and put on one hell of show at Bangor’s Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion on Thursday night.
Adams’ current tour, Get Up, is a tightly woven evening with unique video work production and a smart feel, heavy on the black and white imagery, perhaps a nod to Adam’s latest career – fashion photography. Dressed in sharp, dark jackets and white shirts for a retro feel, Adams and his band took the stage a bit after 8:00 p.m. and kept the crowd singing and dancing for a set list twenty-plus songs deep before wrapping up well after 10:00. The set list was a smooth mix of his classic rocking numbers, wedding ballads and soundtrack hits, acoustic solos, and some new radio-friendly material that blended in nicely. The music was all there, including “Run to You,” “Summer of ‘69” and, of course, “Heaven.” Adams’ raspy vocals sound as good as ever, and Keith Scott, on lead guitar, kept those iconic riffs coming all night long. No doubt about it, the music was great.
Certainly the music is always the medium, but the fans made this event. If Bangor residents thought they were hearing angels over their air conditioners, they were not – those voices were actually a few thousand Bryan Adams fans singing along like a finely-tuned choir, their voices to the night sky. It was remarkable. A fan close to the stage said she believed even Adams was surprised by the crowd’s participation. And that’s not all, Adams and the band encouraged female fans to dance during “If Ya Wanna Be Bad, Ya Gotta Be Good,” a sweet, bluesy number, for the stage video, then shared some swag. Adams engaged the crowd and reveled in their fun. The fans loved it.
After the show I heard it over and over again – “It was a great show” – “That was so much fun” – “I loved it” – similar in sentiment to the excitement I heard decades ago when a friend first turned me on to a young Bryan Adams. Well, we aren’t so young any more, but as the song goes, “everywhere I go, the kids want to rock.” Somethings never change.
Do What Ya Gotta Do
Can’t Stop This Thing We Started
Don’t Even Try
Run to You
Go Down Rockin’
Kids Wanna Rock
It’s Only Love
You Belong to Me
Summer of ’69
When You’re Gone
(Everything I Do) I Do It for You
If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good
Back to You
We Did It All
I’ll Always Be Right There
Please Forgive Me
Cuts Like a Knife
18 til I Die
The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You
Brand New Day
C’mon Everybody (Eddie Cochran cover)
All Shook Up (Elvis Presley cover)
Straight From the Heart (Solo Acoustic)
All for Love (Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting cover)