The rolling Twitter feed on the big screen just reflected the excitement of the near-full house at Mile One Wednesday as the gathered masses waited for Bryan Adams to take the stage.
It’s been just about six years years since Adams last played Mile One, almost as long as it has been since the Canadian star released a studio album. (His 10th, released in 2008, was titled “11.” Must have been the amp volume.)
Still, for the thousands who braved downtown parking to attend the opening show of his Canadian tour, he is as fresh as today’s biggest star.
Unlike today’s stars, however, Adams has a catalogue full of hit songs to lay on the expectant crowd, and his show is infinitely more polished.
It probably helps that he already has a few dates under his belt in Europe, most recently in Munich March 30, and that he’s been performing with guitarist Keith Scott since he was a wee lad.
Bryan Adams in concert is not exactly like Bryan Adams on disc. On stage, he gives just about every tune a keen edge — except when the song warrants a dirty rumbling, as did “Kids Wanna Rock” — but even the ballads that had boyfriends smiling and nodding in the 1980s had today’s husbands banging their heads.
In “Heaven” and “I’m Ready” and others, Norm Fisher’s bass pushes through strongly, Mickey Curry’s drums are a little more insistant, Scott’s guitar breaks wails that little bit harder. (Gary Breit rounds out the stage crew on keyboards.)
But it is Adams himself who whips the crowd into an early frenzy and keeps them there through more than two hours. He works the stage, and the crowd, running to mikes posted on each end of the stage and the centre, playing to each section, giving each one that personal touch.
Around him, camera operators catch images that are cut together for live streaming video on the big screen, except when it’s churning in psychedelic colours, except when lasers are slicing the air above the dancing, cheering floor. This is the whole entertainment package. What can you say? The dude’s a pro.
On this night, it is hard to believe you could find one person to disagree.
Ken Simmons is The Telegram’s new media editor.