Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams• Joan Jett & The Blackhearts• July 7, 2023• Maverik Center

Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe

Photo Credit: Kevin Rolfe

Something I love about summer in Utah is all the outdoor concerts we get to go to.  But every once in a while over the summer season, we get to head back inside for an arena show.  On Friday, July 7 I stepped out of the heat and into the cool air-conditioned Maverik Center where Canadian rocker, Bryan Adams brought his So Happy It Hurts Tour.  I just admit it felt a little odd being at an indoor venue in July.  But when I heard that the heat was sweltering at some of the other concerts going on that night I was happy to be out of the heat.  

Bryan Adams is one of those artists where it’s impossible to not know his catalog of music.  Especially if you grew up in the 80s and 90s.  I knew that I would recognize quite a few of his hits.  But I was surprised to find just how many songs I would know.  Not only know, but know all the words to.  Adams has an impressive hit list and he played it all.  I don’t think I was prepared to have so much fun.  And while it was a perfect night to get out of the summer’s heat, things got pretty hot inside Maverik Center.  Starting with Joan Jett.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (not pictured) started the night off. After a video montage spanning Jett’s extensive career in Rock n Roll the band took the stage and the audience rose to their feet.  Now this wasn’t the youngest audience of all time.  As concert goers age their desire to stay seated seems to grow.  But not this crowd.  They were on their feet and screaming the lyrics, “Hello Daddy. Hello Mom. Ch Ch Ch Ch Cherry Bomb!”.  

Joan Jett has an impressive hit list of her own.  The crowd sang along to hits like “Do You Wann Touch Me (Oh Yeah)” and “Everyday People”.  Many of Jett’s hits are covers, but people are surprised to hear that because she’s made the songs her own.  Sometimes it’s weird to hear the original version because the Joan Jett and the Blackhearts version is the one we’ve become familiar with and seem to like more.  No more is that true than with the rock anthem, “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”. 

The second that song starts people were excited to sing and clap along.  I’ve had the opportunity to see Joan Jett and the Blackhearts live a few times and this moment in their set never disappoints.  Closing things out with my two favorite Joan Jett tracks, “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and “Bad Reputation”, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts left the stage with the audience screaming their praise and excited from what they just heard.

Bryan Adams

The turnaround was quick and before we knew it Bryan Adams took the stage.  I had to laugh because Adams’ tour manager told me that the first song was going to be “Kick Ass”.  So I thought to myself “Oh good.  The crowd will be so excited for the set to start off on such a high level.”  And the set did get off to a great start.  And the audience was excited.  But the actual name of the song was “Kick Ass”.  The tour manager wasn’t giving me his opinion on how the first song was going to be.  He was telling me the song’s actual name.  Anyway, I couldn’t help but laugh at my misunderstanding.  

Photo Credit: Kevin Rolfe

It was impossible to not notice immediately that Bryan Adams still sounds so good.  I’d hear the hit songs like “Somebody” or “Please Forgive Me” and everyone would go nuts and about halfway through the song I’d think, “Wow.  He sounds really good!”.  I didn’t notice any dropoff in his voice.  It surprised me because one, that just happens to voices when we get older.  And two, Bryan Adams has that classic rasp in his voice that has made him a start.  Usually, that style of voice doesn’t age well.  But in Adams’ case, his raspy voice sounds just like you’d hope it would.  

Bryan Adams took a moment in his show to pay tribute to the great Tina Turner who recently passed away.  He told us that she was really good to him.  Adams was a young artist and she was a seasoned veteran and she helped him in his budding career.  He performed “It’s Only Love” the duet they recorded together on his album Reckless.  I thought it was a great moment and one that the Maverik Center crowd seemed to enjoy.  

The set was laced with hit after hit.  Songs like “Heaven” where Adams let the audience sing on their own for a while.  Or “The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You”  a lesser known hit, but one that the audience really seemed to get into.  But I’m sure you know that there are these next level Bryan Adams hits that took this show to an entirely new level. 

I don’t know that I ever thought, “I need to hear ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” live.”  But when I did got to hear it live on July 7, I realized that not only do I know every word to that song somehow, and not only did it sound amazing live, but it was a live music experience that I definitely needed.  The song began with just Bryan and his pianist on stage.  As the song grew band members would take up their instruments and join in. It was understandably a major highlight in the show and a really fun sing along.  

Photo Credit: Kevin Rolfe

In what has to be one of the strangest, yet most impressive moments in concert history was when Byran Adams performed “Summer of ‘69”.  The song began, and everyone went crazy.  The entire arena was on its feet.  Well, one fan went a little crazier than the rest of us.  Adams began, “I bought my first real six string…”.  Then he backed away from the microphone.  I thought he was just letting us sing the lyrics.  But he was backing away because a fan jumped on stage and took to the mic himself.  Crazy fan… ”Bought it at the Five and Dime…”. 

Security wrangled him off stage and after a few missed lyrics but without missing a beat, Bryan Adams return to the microphone and sang with the crowd “It was the summer of ‘69”!  The place roared, and while a bit confused by what just happened, didn’t let the odd moment sour their experience with this song.  If anything it’s a memory we will never forget. 

I couldn’t believe how smooth Bryan Adams was in that moment, and how great it was that the band was right there with him.  Later in the show Adams thanked the “gentleman who came up on stage and tried to sing. He tried his best. And then he got hauled off what can I say.  I hope he’s ok by the way.”  

After rousing renditions of “Cuts Like A Knife” the band left the stage leaving Bryan Adams with his acoustic guitar.  He closed out the night with “Straight From The Heart” which he dedicated to his mother.  Who was supportive of his desire to get into music. She spent some of the money she saved for Adams to go to college on a piano.  He joked, that’s why he was out on stage with a guitar.  The night concluded with a solo version of “All For One”.  A song Adams recorded with Sting and Rod Stewart.  

There was no encore.  Just a 26 song set not to be forgotten.  It had been over a decade since a Bryan Adams tour stopped through Utah.  Hopefully, (despite the random guy jumping on stage) we showed him that he should stop by more often.  It was a concert that I knew would be entertaining but I still left being way more impressed than I thought I would be.

Bryan Adams Setlist

Kick Ass
Can’t Stop This Thing We Started
Take Me Back
Please Forgive Me
One Night Love Affair
Shine a Light
It’s Only Love
This Time
You Belong to Me
I’ve Been Looking for You
The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You
Here I Am
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You
Back to You
18 til I Die
Summer of ’69
I’m Ready
Kids Wanna Rock
Cuts Like a Knife
So Happy It Hurts
Run to You
Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
Straight From The Heart
All for Love

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