\Music legend Mr. Bryan Adams brought a night of solid rock n roll to Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC.
For those that might not know, Adams is originally from North Vancouver. He attended Argyle Secondary back in the seventies and achieved nominal success with his debut self-titled album in nineteen-eighty. It was on his third studio album, nineteen-eighty-three’s “Cuts Like a Knife”, that he reached Canadian star status when the title track earned regular radio rotation and became a mainstay in the Great White North. From there, he climbed into our hearts and began serving up hit after hit through the last 30 years.
On Wednesday night, he brought the second evening of “The Ultimate Tour” to our fair city. The outing is an effort to back his latest release, entitled Ultimate, which serves as a compilation of his own tracks over his thirty plus year career.
The night kicked off with “Ultimate Love”, a new song from that collection, and it was met with a round of applause and cheers from the excited audience. Bryan smiled through the entirety of the song, a humble and accepting response.
Adams and his long-time guitarist and friend Keith Scott sauntered over from their corners and met at centre stage to bounce their riffs off one another. Again, it was nothing but smiles and happiness splayed across both of their faces.
This was the base and overall summation of the night, happiness and joy.
The crowd sang along with mostly every song, be it the well-known hits like “Summer Of ’69” off his nineteen-eighty-four album Reckless or a deeper cut like “This Time” from Cuts Like a Knife, each song showcased the comradery of the on-stage musicians and the nostalgic overload it triggered in the attendees.
The show rolled along as a big rock event with refined acoustic breaks, Bryan performed stripped down versions of “When You’re Gone” and “Straight From the Heart” and a few others.
I felt very emotional throughout the night, it was a mixture of nostalgia and weirdly enough a bit of grief.
Personal story time.
Last year, my father passed away suddenly at the young age of 57. He was a seemingly healthy and fit man but underneath he had hidden heart issues.
I miss him so much.
But Jamie, why are you writing about your dad in a Bryan Adams review, you ask.
Well, my dad, Jeff Taylor, and my three aunts, Bonny Taylor, Tracy Taylor, and Marcel Taylor, and my uncle Warren Holubitsky, all went to school at Argyle Secondary at the same time Mr. Adams did. So, when I was younger they would mention that to me each time they heard me listening to his music.
This engrained him more and more into my brain. It was really cool to think that my dad had gone to school with this Canadian legend. From what I gathered, he wasn’t close friends with him but knew him in passing.
I also heard something mentioned at one point that Bryan had rented a room from another one of my family members, or something like that, but that was never corroborated.
Even though I had been a fan of this North Vancouver native for years, I had never seen him live until 2010.
In 2010, I went with my whole family to see him perform at the temporarily-rebuilt Empire Field just outside the Pacific National Exhibition, with the Beach Boys opening. (mini recap here)
This was the second and last concert I ever got to attend with my dad.
It wasn’t until I watched Bryan perform on Wednesday and all those years of memories flooded through my mind that I made that connection.
I sat there and took in the show, tears rolling down my cheeks and a big old smile from ear to ear. They weren’t tears of sadness but of happiness.
Bryan Adams as a figure had been burnt into my mind by all these little nothing stories told to me as a kid. Little passing comments about how they all went to school, followed by me asking a million questions thinking my dad was the coolest guy in the world, only because I thought he was down-playing that he might have been high school friends with a superstar. Now I look on it differently, I look at it my dad as the coolest guy ever because he took the time to talk to me, his son, and establish a real relationship and connection. He saw that I had an interest in music and that I loved “Summer of ’69”, and he used it all to reach me. My dad was the greatest
If, for some strange reason, Mr. Adams ever read this, I would be really embarrassed. I didn’t plan on this recap of the night turning into me blubbering in front of a keyboard about my father, but it is part of my personal experience with the night and I felt it was important to share.
The show was fantastic.
The presence and delivery of each musician on stage was genuine.
I was swept away in the nostalgia and in the music throughout the entire evening. A minimal stage setup let the sound be the star, so focus was on Mr. Adams and his competent crew.
It was a cathartic experience for me and I am appreciative of it greatly.
I have had this dream since I was about 16 that one day I will get to sit down with Bryan Adams for an interview. Each time he comes to town, I request it, and each time, so far, he isn’t available. I am accepting that it will probably never happen, but it doesn’t stop me from asking. I would love to chat with him about his music and his career and his love of photography, and most of all his time at Argyle Secondary.
I want to thank the band and specifically Bryan Adams for a truly special night.
Can’t Stop This Thing We Started
Run to You
Go Down Rockin’
It’s Only Love
You Belong to Me
Summer of ’69
Here I Am
When You’re Gone (solo acoustic)
(Everything I Do) I Do It for You
Back to You
Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?
The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You
Cuts Like a Knife
18 til I Die
Brand New Day
I Could Get Used to This
I Fought the Law (The Crickets cover)
Whiskey in the Jar (traditional song) (solo acoustic)
Straight From the Heart (solo acoustic)
All for Love (Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting cover) (solo acoustic)