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Adams provides one-night love affair for Winnipeg fans

Seasoned singer's voice in fine form during energetic set of classics

Bryan Adams performs at MTS Centre Tuesday, January 20. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Bryan Adams at MTS Centre, Jan. 20, 2015
Bryan Adams rocks out on his acoustic guitar at the MTS Centre Tuesday.  (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Adams gets the crowd going during the opening song of his set.  (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Bryan Adams wows fans with a set full of classics at MTS Centre Tuesday night as part of his 30th anniversary tour.  (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
January 20, 2015 - 150120  -  Brian Adams performs at MTS Centre Monday, January 20, 2015. John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Bryan Adams wows the crowd during the Winnipeg stop of his Reckless tour.  (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Bryan Adams performs at MTS Centre Tuesday, January 20. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Bryan Adams rocks out on his acoustic guitar at the MTS Centre Tuesday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Adams gets the crowd going during the opening song of his set. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Bryan Adams wows fans with a set full of classics at MTS Centre Tuesday night as part of his 30th anniversary tour. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
January 20, 2015 - 150120 - Brian Adams performs at MTS Centre Monday, January 20, 2015. John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Bryan Adams wows the crowd during the Winnipeg stop of his Reckless tour. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/1/2015 (1419 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

If it feels like Bryan Adams was just here, it’s because he was. The veteran Canadian rocker performed at the Centennial Concert Hall less than a year ago as part of his acoustic Bare Bones tour.

But that was a cozy, intimate affair that saw, as I wrote, the singer/songwriter perform his hits the way he wrote them, stripped of the arena bombast and the radio-ready production.

Tuesday night’s show at the MTS Centre was a different beast entirely. This time out, Adams performed his hits the way they’re supposed to be heard: plugged in and cranked up.

The Winnipeg show wrapped up the first Canadian leg of his Reckless tour, an arena run in celebration of the 30th anniversary of 1984’s Reckless — the career-making album that spawned six of his most recognizable singles: Run to You, Kids Wanna Rock, Somebody, Summer of ’69, One Night Love Affair and It’s Only Love, his duet with Tina Turner.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/1/2015 (1419 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

If it feels like Bryan Adams was just here, it’s because he was. The veteran Canadian rocker performed at the Centennial Concert Hall less than a year ago as part of his acoustic Bare Bones tour. 

But that was a cozy, intimate affair that saw, as I wrote, the singer/songwriter perform his hits the way he wrote them, stripped of the arena bombast and the radio-ready production. 

Tuesday night’s show at the MTS Centre was a different beast entirely. This time out, Adams performed his hits the way they’re supposed to be heard: plugged in and cranked up.

The Winnipeg show wrapped up the first Canadian leg of his Reckless tour, an arena run in celebration of the 30th anniversary of 1984’s Reckless — the career-making album that spawned six of his most recognizable singles: Run to You, Kids Wanna Rock, Somebody, Summer of ’69, One Night Love Affair and It’s Only Love, his duet with Tina Turner.

Naturally, that album got a lot of play, with Adams and his band rocking through every cut — as well as some tracks that were released 30 years later on the sprawling four-disc reissue that came out in November. Kicking things off with Reckless just after 8 p.m., Adams and his band turned in hard-charging, throat-shredding performances of One Night Love Affair, She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancin’, Run to You and a stomping Boys Night Out in breathless succession. 

That raspy Adams voice was in fine form, and you have to admire the man’s endurance; he’s been playing nearly 30 songs a night during this tour. There was no opening act, so he had lots of room to stretch out. (Maybe too long; the setlist would have benefitted from some editing. Leave ’em wanting more, Bryan.)

For the soaring rendition of Heaven, Adams brought out his songwriting partner of three decades Jim Vallance who, in his Winnipeg debut, took his place behind the keys. It wasn’t the only bit of concert magic that happened during that song; Adams let the audience sing the first verse, and it sounded like every last person in the room was participating.

Bryan Adams performs at MTS Centre Tuesday, January 20.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Bryan Adams performs at MTS Centre Tuesday, January 20.

The guy knows his way around a love song, to be sure, but the night’s best moments came when Adams and his band let loose and rocked out. Kids Wanna Rock was an early-set highlight, which was followed up right away with the masterful It’s Only Love. I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: you forget just how good these songs are until you hear them live. Credit for the show’s relentless energy must be given to guitarist Keith Scott, who was simply a joy to watch perform. 

After concluding the Reckless portion of the evening at the one-hour mark, Adams quipped, "The good news is I have 12 albums," before launching into his mega-hit (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, from 1991’s Waking Up the Neighbours.

For a honky-tonk rendition of If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good, Adams turned the spotlight on woman in the audience named Liz who gamely danced for the entire song. The smile never left her face. After running down crowd-pleasers such as Cuts Like a Knife, Can’t Stop This Thing We Started, the affecting Please Forgive Me and a solo-acoustic version of When You’re Gone (his bubblegum duet with Melanie C., aka Sporty Spice), he wrapped up the main set with the lovably cheeseball The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me is You.

At press time, Adams was still going strong, leading his band through a generous six-song encore.

The stage setup was nearly as simple as it was at the concert hall, just three large screens and minimalist lighting. Right down to his jeans and long-sleeved T-shirt (which fit him impeccably, by the way), the show was a straightforward, no-frills affair that kept the focus squarely on the music. As it should be.

Adams has built a brand out of being approachable. He’s incredibly affable; his music is accessible. Every demographic was represented at the MTS Centre Tuesday night, which is a testament to both his mass appeal and the quality of what he’s selling.

Because that’s the thing about Bryan Adams: He’s not in the business of writing flash-in-the-pan hits; he’s in the business of writing songs that become classics.

 

jen.zoratti@freepress.mb.ca

Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti
Columnist

Jen Zoratti is a Winnipeg Free Press columnist and co-host of the paper's local culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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