Errols Weekly Music Update.

April 4, 2009

Concert Review: Bryan Adams at The Beacon Theater on Friday April 3, 2009

Concert Review: Bryan Adams at The Beacon Theater on Friday April 3, 2009

Beautifully Amazing

Sometimes the word “beautiful” can be used to describe a renovation of an historic building on the upper west side of Manhattan, complete with detailed trimmings, spectacular colors of gold and burgundy that is very pleasing to the eye along with the grandeur feeling of royalty that surrounds you as one recognizes all the hard work, which include all the amenities, that went into the restoration of the Beacon Theater. It can also be used to describe the performance of Mr. Bryan Adams last night, as the stage was completely stripped down to the bare bones with just a piano, a couple of music stands and a five lights that surrounded him which gave you the feeling that he was performing under street lamps on a New York City corner. So on one hand you had this massive new building (complete with new seats as Mr. Adams jokingly stated half way through the show) but yet on the stage was this simple setting and again the one word that comes to mind to describe both surroundings: beautiful. This was also a night of “firsts” for me as it was my oldest sons’ first concert ever and my first time seeing Bryan Adams in concert despite being of fan of his for the past 25 years, so you know this one ranks up there in my top ten shows of all time.

Every once in a while one needs to “go back to the basics” and I can guarantee that everyone who went to the show loved it just as much as I did because it brought the focus on the raw abilities of this one man to the forefront. His voice is amazing (like you’re putting on the album in your house or CD in your car); his song writing abilities shine through as they lyrics and meanings behind his songs are very powerful. How about his stage presence? He was larger than life up there with such comfort sharing his great sense of humor while contributing many New York related stories with the audience. He also kept a New York crowd quiet and that is a miracle in itself. Oh, and of course the man can play guitar. He can jam with the best of them and then take it down a notch like no other. He did receive some very complimentary assistance from the pianist in his band, Gary Briet.

This perfect night started off with no opening band just Bryan himself with the setting being very calm, almost like waiting for a Broadway play to begin. Lights turned off around 8:25 and he entered the stage almost having that “1968-Elvis comeback” look with the dark jeans and dark shirt with the guitar strung around his neck. The man is forever youthful and will become the “Dick Clark” of my generation. The familiar chords begin and in unison the crowd helps out “She says her love for me could never die” – the memorable “Run to You.” About two minutes into the song, the crowd also helped out by clapping the drum part, and then Bryan took over igniting everyone into a “sing along” right off the bat. He tells the audience that it was going to be a long night and that he’d play many of his songs although not everyone because “we’d be here until tomorrow morning.” (I don’t think anyone would have left if he did do it). He explained to the crowd that he was looking at Wikipedia about himself and he laughed at all the analysis behind his latest album “11.” “Basically it was my eleventh album” seemingly amused at all the different reasons why it was named “11.” He went into the first track off of the album “Tonight We Have the Stars” and I’m telling you right now the sound was extraordinary. Gary joined him for the third song- the upbeat “Back to You” and throughout the show he would remerge to lend Bryan a hand. One of the early highlights of the show was “When You Love Someone.” Bryan performed it brilliantly and like I mentioned, his writing ability really captures the essence of love and with my son sitting next to me, well I was moved to say the least.

Similar to the VH1 Storyteller series, Bryan went on to tell the audience that at one of his shows in Florida someone walked into his dressing room (“Ahh security?”) and gave him a note that said “Willie can you sign my guitar?” Realizing (or maybe not) that it wasn’t Mr. Nelson, he asked Bryan to sign it and I believe he said that a relative of his was in Iraq. Bryan decided to keep “Seven Spanish Angels” on his set from that point forward. The show was a perfect blend of up-tempo and amazing heartfelt songs. The audience was craving the 1980’s catalog and Bryan delivered with “Cuts Like a Knife.” To have the entire Beacon singing “Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, etc.” is something that my son will forever have in his memory bank.“This Time” is just a flat-out great song, period end of story!! His comfort with himself was evident in the song “Please Forgive Me” as he jokingly turned on a “country” voice and no one was upset. The crowd rose to its feet when Bryan was telling the story behind “Summer of ‘69” (not what you were thinking) and no matter how many times you have heard this song- you have to sing along. People were screaming out songs for him to play and he went all the way back to “Remember” from his debut album released in 1980. “Heaven” was like; well heaven- spectacular version of this often heard song. I found out his idol was Ray Charles and the inspiration for the song “The Right Place” which he wrote with Jim Vallance in 1986 but was recorded by Taylor Hicks on his 2006 debut album. Bryan actually sounded like Ray on this tune. The set ended with “The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You” which was super solid.

For the encores, he spliced in more stories about New York- a real good one where he could not catch a cab and had to take the NY subway to the Garden. As he boarded the train, he met a whole bunch of fans that were going to the show. Not believing it was him, there was only one person who walked up to him and eventually helped him get to the Garden. Everyone rose for the classic “Somebody” and sung word for word- “I thought I saw the Madonna when you walked in the room.” “I need somebody” resonated throughout the Beacon as I looked over to my son who was soaking it all in. After the song ended, someone screamed out “Free Bird” and believe it or not, Bryan launched into it. I was laughing because everyone always screams out “Freebird” (c’mon you know you have) and he did it. His shortened version ended and then he playfully started the opening guitar chord on “Stairway to Heaven” but quickly started to laugh. He then played my wife’s favorite song from him” Have You Really Ever Loved a Woman.” Again I’m at a loss for words on how to describe how beautiful this song was performed. The row of women in front of us all put their arms on the shoulders of each other to the left and right, swaying back & forth to the pleasing tune. The “moment” continued as I was completely blown away by “Never Let Go,” a song about complete self-sacrifice. He rightfully spotlighted the heroic efforts of the pilot, co-pilot and crew of the flight that crashed the plane into the Hudson back in January, calling it the most spectacular effort in “aeronautical” history. The audience kept asking for “Straight from the Heart” and he delivered. Again the entire audience sang word for word and I was in amazement that it was only him up there creating this wall of sound. The show ended with the majestic “All for Love” and I was in awe.

This was a memorable night for me, as the combination of his show and my son being with me could have not played out any better. Even though we were in this pretty big theater, he made us feel like we were in our own living room, singing along to his endless library of songs-some poignant and some rocking but most of all “straight from his heart.” Thanks Bryan for making this night so special. As my son left the theater he just said “Dad that was amazing.”

Set List:

1.        Run to You

2.        Tonight We Have the Stars

3.        Back to You

4.        Here I Am

5.        Let’s Make This A Night To Remember

6.        Can’t Stop This Thing We Started

7.        I Thought I’ve Seen Everything

8.        When You Love Someone

9.        Heat of the Night

10.     Seven Spanish Angels

11.     Not Romeo, Not Juliet

12.     You’re Still Beautiful to Me

13.     Cuts Like a Knife

14.     This Time

15.     Please Forgive Me

16.     Summer of ‘69

17.     Walk on By

18.     Remember

19.     Lonely Nights

20.     Heaven

21.     The Right Place

22.     The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You


23.     Somebody

24.     Free Bird

25.     Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman

26.     Never Let Go

27.     Straight from the Heart

28.     All for One



  1. I went to the Beacon concert on Saturday, and like you I’ve been a HUGE fan for years (since I was 7,back in the 90s) but this was my first Bryan Adams concert.

    It’s amazing how just him and his guitar filled the huge theater with such energy. The VOICE, so raw and stunning. He was charming, self-deprecating, funny, and the audience was great ..women AND men shouted hilarious obscene declarations of love throughout the night, eg “Bryan I wanna be your underwear!”.

    My fav parts were “Heat of the Night” – sounds great acoustic, Walk on By, the countrification of Please Forgive Me, and the gorgeous piano in Back To You.

    The audience was standing throughout the encore and he asked us to leave our seats and gather around the stage. Bloody brilliant night.

    Comment by LR — April 5, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

  2. I am a huge fan of music. Have seen everything from the Grateful Dead to Billy Idol. I have to say this show was outstanding. I was a little concenred when I found out the show was acoustic, but it did not matter I was smiling ear to ear for the entire show. If you have the chance this is a must see.

    Comment by Dryben — April 6, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

  3. i am 20 years old and i have listenened to bryan since i was 10 to me bryan adams is the best singer / songwriter on this planet i recently went to my first gig at gateshead sage and he was awesome i will never forget it and hoping next year he will come back with the but to see te bloke who has helped me through a lot of bad times in real life was amazing.

    Comment by lee — October 20, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

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