The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall was filled to capacity all the way up to the third balcony on Monday night, and anticipation was high for Bryan Adams’ performance.
Yes, Bryan Adams, Canadian arena-rock veteran. But this time out, he was bringing his acoustic “Bare Bones” show to Nippertown for the first time, and even some long-time fans were wondering just how his often out-sized rock anthems would fit into the cozy, intimate Music Hall.
With the dimming of the house lights, a hush settled into the hall followed by cheering and applause as Adams walked onto the stage, waving to his fans.
After launching into the opening “Run to You,” Adams stopped the song abruptly because of the crackle of a loose electrical connection from his acoustic guitar. He had a bewildered look as he glanced in the direction of the sound engineer. With a quizzical smile, he exited the stage only to return moments later and start all over again – this time without a hitch.
For the most part, Adams plowed through his very long list of hits armed only with his acoustic guitar and that trademark rasp of a voice that fueled countless flashback memories of the ’80s – including “Heat of the Night” and “Summer of ’69,” a pair of welcome echoes of summer warmth on the coldest night of the year.
At times, however, he was joined by Gary Breit at the grand piano, and the additional musical support allowed Adams the opportunity to stretch out on a few crowd-pleasing guitar solos.
Throughout the night, Adams traversed his rock-star career, pulling song after song from his deep songbag of Top 40 hits – “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” “This Time,” “Straight From the Heart,” “Heaven” and more – proving that at just over 50, he’s still got it going on.
And he did indeed manage to bring a considerable degree of intimacy to the Music Hall – as well as at least one big surprise. Churning his way through a rave-up rendition of his breakthrough hit “Cuts Like a Knife,” he was accompanied by a bagpiper, who came marching down the aisle from the back of the theater.
Bet you didn’t see that one coming…
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Michael Eck’s review at The Times Union
Excerpt from Brian McElhiney’s review at The Daily Gazette: “The performances were all top notch, but at times the set dragged with one too many power ballads, particularly towards the end of the main set with ‘Please Forgive Me,’ ‘Walk on By’ and ‘Heaven’ only broken up with ‘Summer of ’69.’ Adams’ delivery didn’t offer much in the way of variation, either – he was either loud or louder, and for some songs, the juxtaposition of the acoustic instruments with the singer’s near-shout seemed a bit incongruous. But subtlety is not what one goes to see Bryan Adams for. The audience was there to rock, and rock they did. When Adams invited the crowd to come stand by the stage for the encore ‘You’ve Been a Friend to Me,’ many accepted, ending the evening on a note of camaraderie.”