Date: September 18, 2016
Place: U.S. Cellular Center - Cedar Rapids, IA
Let me start by saying right now: If you say Bryan Adams is awful: I will fight you.
This guy is AWESOME and EASILY one of the best things to have ever came from Canada. I mean he is better than maple syrup. He's that good. Bryan Fn Adams is the real deal.
I had heard over the summer that Bryan was coming to the area, and I got excited because this guy has contributed heavily to the unofficial Soundtrack To My Life (everyone has one). Unfortunately when I saw how much the tickets were going for, I was immediately discouraged. I don't drop big dollars anymore for concert tickets like I did back in the day, and while these weren't crazy expensive - they were definitely more than I wanted to spend. So....I accepted I probably wouldn't be able to go and more or less forgot about it.
Fast forward to September 17th, and I was perusing Facebook on a boring Saturday evening when I saw post from an old high school friend that said: "I have Bryan Adams concert tickets to give away if anyone is interested. PM me." HOLY SANTA CLAUS SHIT. A few traded messages later (one of which said something like "Are you serious? Free free?) and BOOM- I had a pair of FREE tickets to see Bryan Adams. WOW. You want to know the worst part? I couldn't find anyone to go with me! I spent all Sunday afternoon asking everyone I knew (that I would consider going with):
My Wife - She wanted to, but had oodles of work to do.
My pal Rick* - Who I totally thought would go - Couldn't go.
My pal Junior* - A common concert companion - Couldn't go.
Both my sisters - Couldn't go due to church group. C'mon! WWJD? Jesus would totally go.
My MOM - She said no thanks because she was afraid she wouldn't know any songs.
|Not bad seats for free!|
GAHH! Finally my wife suggested I take my oldest son who has NEVER been to such a thing. He was apprehensive as he isn't much for loud things and he wasn't sure if he'd even like the music. After letting him borrow my Bryan Adams CD's for a little while and saying he could use some noise-cancelling earmuffs, he agreed and we were off to the show.
Once we got to the venue and obtained our tickets from the will-call window, we were set. I was totally expecting nose-bleed seats as the tickets were free, but lo and behold - they were actually pretty damn good seats on the left side of the stage! The stage was actually set up in the middle of the arena, instead of at one far end. This created a smaller but more intimate and engaging seating arrangement. Finally at about 7:35, the lights went down and Bryan Adams and his band took the stage.
The entire band walked onto the stage all wearing dark jeans, black suit coats, and white dress shirts. He kicked off the show with Do What You Gotta Do from his newest album - Get Up! and the band sounded AWESOME. His lead guitarist Keith Scott and drummer Mickey Curry have been with him for decades, so they sound tight as hell. Then he started ticking off song after song that spanned his career: Can't Stop This Thing We Started, Run To You, Heaven, Kids Wanna Rock, and of course Summer of '69 - just to name a few. Whenever he did a song from his new album during the show (he did 3 or 4), it often would be accompanied by a video playing on the screen behind the stage, which definitely added to the show because it made the unknown song more entertaining.
What I found enjoyable was his playful banter with the audience between each song. It was entertaining, and made him come across as warm and genuinely happy to be performing. One funny moment was prior to playing the song Somebody, he told about how they had made a new video for the song to show during this tour, and had encouraged fans to submit "head shots" to the website to be shown in the video. He jokingly admitted that there were some head shots submitted that were definitely "adult" in nature and were definitely "not what they asked for." But thanked them for their contribution anyway.
During several songs he would encourage the audience to sing certain parts of the song and it got the crowd fired up big time. During Summer of '69, the audience pretty much sang the entire first verse, which it seemed like Bryan enjoyed (see sample video). It gives me goosebumps when that sort of stuff happens because it seems amazing to me that everyone knows the words to these songs, and THIS GUY is standing there directing it, listening to it, and singing it as well. That has to be an overwhelming feeling for a performer the first time it happens.
As the show was coming to a close, he FINALLY played Cuts Like a Knife and the crowd ate it up. For me, that song and the song Somebody were the highlights of the whole show. I'd listen to those two songs every day for the rest of my life if I had to.
When he came back for an encore, he did six more songs - the last three were him alone doing an amazing solo acoustic performance. The closing song was All For Love - which he hilariously introduced by saying how he had originally sang it with Sting and Rod Stewart. He then proceeded to gesture towards the wings of the stage and said "I'd like to introduce Sting and Rod Stewart.... but they aren't here tonight." It should go without saying he handled the song just fine all by himself.
All in all, it was an amazing show. The next time he comes to town, I will definitely be buying tickets. I also highly recommend his newest album Get Up! It's quite good and a fun listen. What am I saying? All of his stuff is good.
1. Do What Ya Gotta Do
2. Can't Stop This Thing We Started
3. Don't Even Try
4. Run to You
5. Go Down Rockin'
7. Kids Wanna Rock
9. This Time
10. You Belong to Me
11. Summer of '69
12. Thought I'd Died and Gone to Heaven (acoustic with Keith Scott)
13. When You're Gone (acoustic with Keith Scott)
14. (Everything I Do) I Do It for You
15. If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good
16. Back to You
17. We Did It All
19. I'll Always Be Right There
20. Please Forgive Me
21. Cuts Like a Knife
22. 18 Til I Die
23. The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You
24. Brand New Day
25. C'mon Everybody (Eddie Cochran cover)
26. All Shook Up (Elvis Presley cover)
27. She Knows Me (acoustic)
28. Straight From the Heart (acoustic)
29. All for Love (acoustic)
*- Names changed to protect the guilty/innocentVideo excerpts from YouTube - Bryan Adams Rocks Big Ben Live
Photo Credits: Mookie5150