Bryan Adams at Rogers Arena, 6/6/18
Vancouver icon and Canadian rock music legend Bryan Adams was once again “Waking Up the Neighbours” around Rogers Arena Wednesday night. He presented his Ultimate Tour, hot on the heels of his first Canadian date in Victoria.
The former resident of 12th and Arbutus was all smiles throughout his 28-song set, as the appreciative crowd showered the hometown boy with generous helpings of adoration. If it was not already apparent to the casual BA fan before Wednesday night, Adams made it crystal clear that “we’re all searching for something, we’re all looking for love.” From the first track of the night, “Ultimate Love,” to his last, “All For Love,” the consistent theme throughout Adams’ entire body of music is that inescapable four letter word with a definition that can never do its meaning justice.
The skilled band unleashed their unmistakable brand of Canadiana rock music in a traditional looking five-piece format onstage. Adams and his four cohorts – all adorned with a semi-casual jeans and business coat style to accompany their presentation -consisted of two guitar players (including Adams), a bassist, a drummer and a piano/tambourine player. All of the musicians combined to execute the many layers and subtle nuances of Adams’ current and back-catalogue to near perfection. However, it was the standout guitar playing of local musician Keith Scott that drew the most favour from the raucous Vancouver crowd.
Interestingly, Adams has never been a fan of one of one of his biggest hits, “Summer of ‘69,” so the song’s early placement in his setlist comes as no surprise. With Adams having been born in 1959, the song’s themes do not reflect the experiences of a 10-year-old boy (at least not in 1969). “Summer of 69” was primarily penned by Adams’ longtime writing partner Jim Vallance. While Adams has never gone on record indicating his early aversion to the song, those that know the artist and Vallance personally have cited some of the discontent Adams had early on towards the 1984 hit off of Reckless.
Of the first 22 songs before his lengthy encore, only one track, “When You’re Gone,” was performed acoustically by a solo Adams. But after “Brand New Day,” the Cuts Like a Knife hitmaker took the stage-reigns in a solo encore effort. Weaving his way through original material such as “I Could Get Used To This” and “Remember,” Adams has taken to including a couple of cover songs (“I Fought the Law” and Whiskey in a Jar,” respectively) on The Ultimate Tour.
A genuinely happy-to-be-home Adams thanked everyone in attendance. He placed particular emphasis on his gratitude towards the doctors, nurses and care-aides at Lions Gate Hospital, who have been busy looking after both his 90-year-old mother as well as his father over the last few weeks. The spotlight shined side-stage on Adams’ smiling mother who overflowed with pride as she watched her son perform to the Vancouver crowd. The audience provided the deservingly proud mother with a standing ovation as Adams proclaimed that Wednesday evening was his mother’s first trip outside of the hospital in weeks. She continues to win her battle against cancer.
Adams ended the evening with a profound rendition of “Straight From The Heart” that would make you pick up your phone and call your sweetheart. He finally concluded with the song from The Three Musketeers soundtrack that was originally performed by Adams, Sting and Rod Stewart, the aforementioned “All For Love.”
Bryan Adams Setlist
Can’t Stop This Thing We’ve Started
Run to You
Going Down Rockin’
It’s Only Love
You Belong to Me
Summer of ‘69
Here I Am
When You’re Gone
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You
Back to You
Have You Ever Loved a Woman?
The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You
Cuts Like a Knife
18 Till I Die
Brand New Day
I Could Get Used To This
I Fought The Law
Whiskey in the Jar
Straight from the Heart
All For Love