Canada’s angry ant – a man who has not forgotten or forgiven that critics have never respected him even as his sales mean he could buy his own newspaper – and possibly borderline racist, Bryan Adams thought he was doing ok when oft-mistaken counterpart, Ryan Adams, found himself in a whole mess of public humiliation.
Now who’ll be more embarrassed to be confused for the other eh?, you could almost hear him say. But wait. Along comes the coronavirus, an online rant and an apology of sorts and all of a sudden last week we were all asking is Bryan batty?
Which was enough incentive to bring him into gig replacement therapy fold of Wind Back Wednesday, where we try to fill the hole left by the absence of live music. This review from 2013 may contain traces of MOR rock supreme and one long extended drink metaphor.
Sydney Entertainment Centre, April 19
Some artists put you in mind of a slab of beer and a Bundy chaser, like Cold Chisel say. Others make you think of a matured red (Leonard Cohen), an excess of cheap wine cooler (Britney) or an over caffeinated energy drink mixed with vodka (Fidlar). With Bryan Adams you are decidedly in no name diet cola territory.
Like his fellow travellers and near neighbours across the Canadian border, Bon Jovi, Adams looks and feels like that full-strength classic version which can sometimes be a little rich and harder to find at your usual outlets.
See, he’s got the guitar and the band and the songs from your real or imagined youth which everyone can sing together. He’s got the run into the audience, the girl brought up to sing with him and the two-hour show. And mate, mate ... mate, he’s got that memory of being wild and free in an endless summer.
So much like the real thing. Except it’s a bit chemically enhanced, a fair bit thinner and it leaves a fine coating of something on your teeth, or soul, that corrodes the longer you partake.
The packaging is right though: big, easy to grasp and not likely to confuse. There’s heartland rock’n’roll, like the opening duo of House Arrest and Somebody with their rousing mid-tempo rock which has the audience on its feet, punching the air, from the start. There are easy to follow lyrics where start rhymes with heart, summer should last forever and hearts (always) are on fire.
It’s a world where Kids Wanna Rock, you live on Cloud No. 9 and no matter what you do You Can't Stop This Thing We Started. And every so often, breaking up the rock, there are songs seemingly made for love-song-dedications to your long lost/locked up/gone to the footy beloved who needs to know that Everything I Do, I do it for you; that now you’re in Heaven you will make it All For Love; and if something went wrong, then Please Forgive Me, I can’t stop loving you.
Everyone loved it. It had everything didn’t it? I guess so, except for a single moment – a note, a lyric, an emotion - which was unique to Adams.