Kids just wanna rock . . what­ever their age

The Chronicle - - What’s On -

YOU know you’ve reached a cer­tain age when you go down­stairs ready for a con­cert and ask: “Do I look ridicu­lous in these?” of your hus­band and father.

The out­fit is a silk blouse over leather jeans and an­kle boots, with a long cardi to make it less bad from be­hind. The vibe is “Stella Gib­son goes to a gig”. The hus­band knows bet­ter than to com­ment; the dad screws up his face only for a sec­ond be­fore con­firm­ing it’s “fine, es­pe­cially as you’re go­ing to a con­cert”.

I needn’t have wor­ried. The arena was set out the­atre-style, with rows of seats, al­though we didn’t spend much time in them. My leather trews were not an is­sue in an au­di­ence in which I was com­fort­ably in the youngest 10%. But read­ers, make no mis­take: we rocked it.

I grew up with Reck­less, which was re­leased in 1984, when I was (gulp) five. My dad had a band and they played some of Bryan Adams’ best-known songs, so I fell in love with the likes of Sum­mer of ‘69 and Kids Wanna Rock from that place be­tween sleep and wak­ing where, as a child, mu­sic seems mag­i­cal.

Tonight that al­bum was given a su­perb air­ing – not Kids Wanna Rock, sadly, but won­der­ful out­ings for This Time and Some­body.

Run to You – harsh, ro­man­tic, painful – was played early on, and got ev­ery­one on their feet. Sum­mer of ‘69 tore the roof off, the lovely video­tape of those com­ing-of-age lyrics tat­tooed on skin mak­ing it all the more poignant.

A spe­cial men­tion for Heaven. I fell in love with this song as a teenager (who had her first kiss to it at a Bryan Adams con­cert in 1994) and, while I feel dif­fer­ently about its lyrics to­day, it’s a pow­er­ful love song ca­pa­ble of si­lenc­ing a thou­sands-strong crowd. There was plenty of rock too – from Keith Scott’s awe­some gui­tar solo on It’s Only Love, to a belt­ing 18 Till I Die, through to The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You, but a sat­is­fy­ing mix of acous­tic num­bers too. When You’re Gone was per­formed like that, and Ev­ery­thing I Do (I Do It For You) was won­der­ful.

The encore treated us to an acous­tic Straight From The Heart, which Bryan in­tro­duced with a mov­ing ref­er­ence to his mum. And then the Arena lit up for a gor­geous ren­di­tion of All For Love.

Bryan Adams is one of the finest show­men I’ve had the plea­sure of watch­ing dur­ing these (al­most) 40 years. Tonight’s tour was called the Ul­ti­mate, but don’t stop gig­ging any time soon, Bryan: surely the best is yet to come. HE­LEN DALBY

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