The King Center, Melbourne, Florida • January 6, 2009
As they say, the three keys to a successful business are, “location, location, location.” Well, apparently that same philosophy can also apply to rock and roll – as is the case with the current acoustic tour by ’80s pop icon, Bryan Adams.
I attended an earlier date on this acoustic tour at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Orlando, last May. Although I was somewhat critical of that show, my issues primarily had more to do with the weak production and the miserable, over-sold venue and less with Adams’ actual performance – which wasn’t too spectacular either, but it didn’t totally suck. This show, however, was a 180° turnaround from the last.
With a capacity of only about 2,500, perfect acoustics, and no obstructed-view seats, the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts is one of Florida’s premier venues. In fact, unlike the last place I saw Adams perform, the King Center was specifically designed for this type of production.
Although he was one of the biggest names in pop music during the ’80s and early ’90s, Adams hasn’t enjoyed any meaningful U.S. chart success in more than a decade. In fact, despite achieving Top 10 status abroad with his 2008 release 11, the record climbed no higher than a dismal #80 on the American charts. But one could have guessed it was still 1985 judging by the cooing and ooing of the approximately 1,500 adoring 30-50 somethings who (partially) filled the venue.
Canada’s human hit machine took the stage at 8:15pm and, like the previous show I attended, Adams sported a black dress shirt, dark blue denim jeans, and a fabulously coiffed haircut. However, in contrast to his performance last spring, Adams now seemed much more relaxed and comfortable with the acoustic format. He was personable and funny. At one point during the show, an enamored female fan exclaimed from her fifth row seat, “You’re so yummy!” Adams quickly replied, “That’s Florida’s mating call.”
Accompanied only by pianist Gary Bright and his own six string (bought at the five and dime), the 49-year-old, one-time MTV poster boy looked half his age and sang magnificently. From recent tunes like “I Thought I’d Seen Everything” to such old school faves as “Summer of ‘69,” “Cuts Like a Knife,” “Run to You,” and “Straight from the Heart” Adams’ set was an unbelievable, non-stop onslaught of hit-after-hit. Oddly, the one song left off the 90-minute hit parade was perhaps his biggest (and sappiest) hit ever – 1991’s “(Everything I Do) I Do it for You.” Wow, the good Lord really does work in mysterious ways!
Bryan Adams: http://www.bryanadams.com ◼