If you’re looking for the fountain of youth, look no more, it’s called Rock ‘N Roll. Boyish and Renaissance man Bryan Adams transported through a time machine from the 1980s to grace Wolf Trap’s stage Friday night. He is 55 years young with 100 million album sales, two young kids, a just released 13th studio album, Get Up and in addition a world- renowned photographer. He blew the roof off of Wolf Trap because “Kids Wanna Rock.” His show mixed MTV style with heavy audience interaction, loud riffs, striking sexy media visuals, and 50’s throwback.
The show is unique in many ways. Before the show started, the show started. On the video screen gracing the stage, was a seemingly still life photo of Adams with a gorgeous woman straddling his face with her long, manicured hands. It’s also the cover photo of his new album.
Adams and his four-piece band wore matching jeans and long white shirts, – vintage 1950s – while performing energetically in the oppressive heat. The band members are Keith Scott (lead guitar, backing vocals), Mickey Curry (drums, backing vocals), Gary Breit (keyboards and backing vocals), and Norm Fisher (bass, backing vocals) who are collectively known as “the backing band” or “The Dudes of Leisure” or “Bryan Adams’ Backing Band.” The Dudes of Leisure are a tight bunch having mostly been together since 1983!
Adams doesn’t rotate his backing band and it shows with the tightness of the show and by the fun they are having on stage. At one point during the set, Adams playfully bopped Scott’s head with his fist and they laughed. Scott nailed the guitar in “Run to You.” Curry’s expert drumming carried “Kids Wanna Rock.” Breit’s keyboard touches carried “Heaven.” Fisher’s bass line held the tempo during “Please Forgive Me.” It was amusing was watching Scott expertly stand in for vocals for Tina Turner during “It’s Only Love.”
The show thrilled the audience by interweaving Adams’ hits from the 80s up until today up until now with his prolific depository of songs. Highlights of course were his hits:
- “Run to You” (my personal favorite that I can play over and over).
- “Cuts Like a Knife”
- “It’s Only Love”
- “Kids Wanna Rock”
- “Elvis’ All Shook Up”
- “Summer of ’69”
- “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”
- “Please Forgive Me”
- “Cuts Like a Knife”
- “18 til I Die”
- “The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You”
The show employed tantalizing video and live footage of the performers on a screen behind the band. There was no doubt Adams rose during the MTV era. During “Run to You” – its accompanying video included footage from the actual 80s video. The phenomenal live camera work during the show accentuated the show’s edginess and captured the audience’s attention. Many times the cameras were turned on the audience and showed them dancing. Adams even took a shot of the crowd and posted it on his Instagram. Adams told us that a man from Singapore had his same name as his Instagram, but Adams stole it back by asking Instagram for it.
Adams “auditioned” female dancers in the audience for one song. He selected my friend Darline Buchannon, a spin instructor to boot, to dance to “If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good” with the video camera on her the whole time. She fell over a couple of times while standing on the chair, but still managed to heat up the venue even more and steal the show. Darline received a standing ovation and a package from Adams. What a hoot! One audience member surmised that since she was so good to play along – that she was planted, gotta love DC conspiracy theories!
The show closed out with Adams’ solo acoustic set. He had the audience light up their cell phones and its serene beauty made you feel like you landed among the stars.
Adams and his crew delivered a rocking and high-energy show. Don’t miss the chance to see this talented Canadian musical genius who helps you forget about your problems for a little while and live in the now.
Running Time: Approximately two hours and 15 minutes, with no intermission.
Bryan Adams played for one-night-only on September 9, 2016, at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center – 1645 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For tickets, to their upcoming events, go to their calendar. For tour dates and tickets visit the band’s website.