Artist: Bryan Adams
Date: 24th March 2019
Venue: ICC Theatre, Sydney
Reviewer: Rod Strachan
Attending a Bryan Adams concert has become quite a ritual in Sydney for me during the past 3
decades. The 2019 Shine a Light tour would see Bryan play the ICC Centre for the first time ever
and like him my first trip to the venue. Here is how the night unfolded.
Opening act Mahalia Barnes proved to be a fantastic choice in opening acts. Armed with her band the soul mates including husband Ben Rodgers on bass, they blazed their way through a great set list. Songs including “Little Light” written for her daughter Ruby, “Don’t Hold Back” and the Bettie Davis cover “If I Am Lucky I Might Get Picked Up” highlighted the set. The best was yet to come though when Australian Rock Legend Jimmy Barnes joined his extremely talented daughter on stage for a rousing rendition of “River Deep, Mountain High”.
After a stage change up the scene was set for the main act. A very simple stage design with large screen behind the stage was to be more effective beyond words could describe. “Ultimate Love” kicked off the mammoth 30 song journey much to the joy of the 9,000 strong sold out audience. After a brief intro to the crowd the band banged straight into “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started” and long-time fan favourite “Run to You” back to back.
Bryan paused briefly in a sombre moment to reflect on the Christchurch tragedy where they had
been just playing days earlier. Dedicating the next song “Shine a Light” to the people lost. Then it was back to Reckless for the all-time classic “Heaven” next including some amazing footage of
space the earth on the screen to accompany. “Go Down Rockin” followed up by the guitar
extraordinaire and long term band member Keith Scott blazing a trail on “It’s Only Love”. Lead-off single for the Ultimate Collection album “Please Stay” followed fitting in perfectly to the live set backed up with “Cloud Number 9”.
Then it was time to get up and dance, anyway we could we were told for “You Belong to Me”. Then there is nothing like keep the crowd in a frenzy when you can you rely on “Summer of 69” to enter the fray! The stage was then left for Bryan and keyboard player Gary Breit to pave the elegant and beautiful “Here I Am” as a duo. “When You’re Gone” was next with just Bryan playing acoustic and solo. The band all returned to the stage to follow up with the chart topping “Everything I Do (I Do It for You)”. Backed by the drumming of the incredible long term friend and band member Mickey Curry and new kid on the block on bass Solomon Walker the MTV Unplugged classic “Back to You” rang out perfectly in our ears!
Back to ‘84 for another cut from the Reckless album with “Somebody” up next. The mood swing
was fast with ballad “I’ll Always Be Right There” proving the versatility of the band and even an F-Bomb to start the song (some PA issues there!). An incredible 1-2-3 punch hit next with “The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You”, “Cuts Like a Knife” and “18 ‘Til I Die” included the comically changed lyrics of age 65 not 55 as per the original recording. No doubt a jab at himself as he approaches 60 later this year!
The next three songs came from audience requests, Bryan asking the crowd what they wanted to hear. “Into The Fire” was the first, with Bryan and Keith discussing whether it was in A or E prior to playing one of my favourites. An abridged version of all these was followed by another of the greats in “Thought I’d Died and Gone To Heaven” and a fan in the crowd waved a sign for the final of the trio ‘There Will Never Be Another Tonight”. The main set was concluded with the number one single “Please Forgive Me” and “Brand New Day”.
After just a short few minutes the encores were launched with my early 2019 song of the year
contender “I Could Get Use to This”. The Crickets cover “I Fought The Law” kept us all on our feet. The frenzied rendition of the AC/DC classic “High Voltage” featuring our very own Jimmy Barnes making his second cameo of the night came upon us like a hurricane! Second to last the “Irish Folk song written 300 years ago” as Bryan described led into “Whisky In a Jar” playing acoustically with a harmonica. The curtain call farewell from the Musketeers classic “All For Love” ended an amazing set featuring everything anybody could ask for in a set almost two and a half hours in length. As always BA delivered a stellar performance backed up by a band of musicians of top shelf quality.
The ICC Theatre designers can take a bow as you never forget your first as the layout and views
inside the Theatre are first class.
Special thanks to Megan, Kim and Tim for the great night we all had! Looking forward to the next