– Words by Jordan Buford / Photos by Ronnie Jackson –
Allen Event Center / Sunday, April 11, 2015
The Allen Events Center was buzzing this night. The venue in the suburbs of Dallas is known to get some high-class acts in from time to time, and this night it was hosting a legend.
Bryan Adams was bringing his tour in support of the 30th anniversary of Reckless to town, for the second show of the US tour no less.
How the Dallas area got to be that lucky, I don’t know; but the place was pushing capacity with over five thousand people attending. The majority looked like they had no doubt walked into an actual record store to purchase what became a multi-platinum selling album. By the time the night was over, they would hear Reckless played in its entirety, with plenty of other tracks rounding out a stellar set.
A screen ran the whole width of the stage at the back; and before Adams and his band got to business, his picture was displayed on said screen, the eyes often blinking with the mouth moving periodically.
The stage was spacious, even with two pianos on it, along with the standard instruments as well as a little row of amplifiers. A platform was even situated on each side of the stage, looking like it would allow for some fan interaction. They were going to have ample room to do their thing.
When they took the stage at 8:20, Adams and crew wasted no time getting down to business, knocking out the first few numbers in rapid succession. Reckless was the only well they drew from for some time, with the title track opening it, while “One Night Love Affair”, “She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancin'” and “Run To You” soon following.
Not a bad way to get momentum going. The crowd this night sure seemed to like it at least.
Before progressing further, Adams spoke to how good it was to be back in Dallas, stating that along with all ten tracks that made the cut, they would also be performing some material recorded in those sessions. “Well, because it’s my show and I can do whatever I want,” was the answer to why those outtakes would be included. He was joking though, at least to an extent, as he immediately began laughing, the spectators soon following suit.
After another number, Adams picked up an acoustic guitar. Moments after plucking the strings, the fanfare reached a fevered pitch. He continued with that, staying silent while letting the fans sing the first verse of “Heaven”. “Baby, you’re all that I want…” he continued, taking back the reins on that line.
Apart from the song being stunning, so, too, was the visual effects that accompanied it. A view of the earth as if looking down from heaven was seen on the screen, while the lights shone what appeared to be stars all around the venue. Upon finishing the song, he and his band received a standing ovation, something you seldom see these days in the first place, let alone during a song early on in a performance. It was definitely a highlight of the night, with plenty of crowd participation, too.
Adams had unquestionably been the main focal point thus far, but as they marched on with this 120-minute long set, his band mates began to get their moments. After getting the audience involved in “Kids Wanna Rock”, with the throng of people shouting, “THE KIDS WANNA ROCK!”, all eyes turned to Mickey Curry, who ripped through a mighty drum solo to conclude the track.
Keith Scott then shredded out a solo on his axe at the tail end of “It’s Only Love”, a song that began with the voice of a legend introducing it in a way. “And if your life ain’t worth livin’ and you’re ready to give in, just remember: that it’s only love…” It was the unmistakable voice of the great Tina Turner, whom Adams pointed out he had been privileged to have worked with her when he was only 24-years-old.
The band broke down the final portion of “Somebody”, giving it a funky beat, while the crowd was encouraged to sing the chorus as loud as possible.
They were hitting another excellent stretch of songs; and Adams didn’t beat around the bush in saying “Ain’t Gonna Cry Over You” was one song from the album the masses never gravitated towards, though the love song was one the musician was fond of.
Things then got a little more sensuous as a woman’s body appeared on the screen, the lyrics being displayed as well as “Summer of ’69” got them closer to the midway point of the show. People were standing throughout it, cheering and singing along with plenty of gusto. “I love it when you sing along,” was the compliment Adams offered everyone once what was quite possibly the most beloved song of the night was done.
“Let Me Down Easy” (a cover of Roger Daltrey’s songs) then rounded out the Reckless portion of the night, and it was done as bare bones as possible. He was the lone figure on stage, armed only with an acoustic guitar while the lighting was kept to a minimum.
“…The headline reads that I have twelve other albums, so I will play some of those now,” the singer remarked now that they had burned through everything from that 1984 classic.
“If You Wanna be Bad, You Gotta be Good” was one of many other songs they did this night, and before it got underway, Adams went on the hunt for a “wild woman”. He needed a lady to help him out for the song, and nearly all of them were desperately trying to get his attention in hopes they’d get picked. After making a selection, the woman was lit up by some lights; while Adams repositioned the microphone so he could sing that track directly to her, while she danced around for the duration of it, earning some merch and the thanks of Adams for it.
“Cuts Like a Knife” provided another moment for the fans to chip in; and after being asked to “…Give it to me Texas style!” as Adams put it, the onlookers upped their singing, proving that everything is indeed bigger in Texas.
“Please Forgive Me” and “When You’re Gone” slowed things back down, the former allowing Gary Breit to deliver a lovely piece on the piano; while the latter found Adams alone once more on the stage.
The job of closing the show then fell to “The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me is You”, which Adams found time during to formally introduce his band mates to everyone before they all took their leave.
Some blue lighting outlined the screen at the back of the stage as the audience cheered and applauded for well over a minute after they left, letting them know that not only what they had done was loved, but they also weren’t going to be let go that easy.
“You guys are still here? I thought you all went home!” cracked Adams when they finally returned to the stage, kicking off a five song encore with “You’ve Been a Friend to Me”.
Shortly in to the encore, Adams encouraged everyone to get as close as they could, packing into the front area around the stage and the aisles. “If you can’t smell the person next to you, you’re not close enough!” he stated; while the screen projected live footage of everyone dancing along.
The final few songs featured Adams back alone on stage. “Straight From the Heart” and “All for Love” also seemed like the perfect pairing to cap the night off with. In advance of that last song, he requested everyone pull their phones out. It was an odd moment. There was a time he could have done that with lighters (and surely did). Times have changed, though.
Everyone did what had been asked of them as they got one last opportunity to sing along; while the musician spent a couple minutes on stage afterwards waving at and thanking those who came out to see him. “You’ve been wonderful, thank you,” he screamed as the lights faded and he disappeared from sight.
Overall it was a very pleasurable evening and the show felt very intimate despite the size of the venue. Adams, the band, and the production were extremely polished for only being night two of the U.S portion of the tour. Professional, polite, and a commanding stage appearance were the qualities presented by all tonight. This was easily the most enjoyable two hours I had spent in a long time.
One Night Love Affair
She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancin’
Run To You
The Boys Night Out
Kids Wanna Rock
It’s Only Love
Ain’t Gonna Cry
Summer Of ’69
Let Me Down Easy
(Roger Daltrey cover) (Bryan solo, acoustic)
(Everything I Do) I Do It for You
If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good
Cuts Like A Knife
Can’t Stop This Thing We Started
Please Forgive Me
When You’re Gone
(Bryan solo, acoustic)
18 til I Die
The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You
You’ve Been a Friend to Me
(Eddie Cochran cover)
She Knows Me
(Bryan solo, acoustic)
Straight from the Heart
(Bryan solo, acoustic guitar and harmonica)
All for Love
(Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting cover) (Bryan solo, acoustic)