I know. I get it. I do. We do indie, as in independent, and Bryan Adams is by no means that. Bryan Adams, still known to many for his 80s poprock hits, is as much a part of the mainstream music industry firmament as anything could be.
But after watching a whole ton of indie club gigs, it can be a refreshing change to see a huge gig in a huge venue. And of course it’s often instructive to watch how the old pros do it. There are lessons to learn. And, well, it’s fun, goddamit.
We came upon Bryan Adams not too long ago when we heard about the fact that he’s setting up a place in Koepenick with several studios for artists, a gallery and space for start ups too. It looks like it’s going to be a cool new spot of creative colour on the Spree of East Berlin, and we’ll keep you posted on when it’ll be finished and ready to move in.
Bryan Adams has treated things somewhat differently
First, to talk about the Bryan Adams of today: While the majority of 80s rock stars have grown old, filled out, bought a bunch of sports cars, a few mansions, screwed supermodels, disappeared and then come back to put out albums and do nostalgia tours to pay the taxman who has finally come knocking, Bryan Adams has treated things somewhat differently.
For one thing Bryan Adams has become a highly respected photographer, initially photographing his celebrity friends but quickly moving on to do diverse work including fashion and art photography, with his work being included in British Vogue, L’uomo Vogue, American Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, British GQ, Esquire, Interview magazine and i-D, among others. He has also put out a book of photographs showing heavily wounded soldiers from the recent glut of wars, Wounded – The Legacy of War, as a way of protesting the culture of warfare that just doesn’t want to go away.
As well as being famously down-to-earth he’s also surprisingly funny
Bryan Adams walked onto the stage with his band little more than 15 minutes after the scheduled time and proceeded to play. I wasn’t sure what to expect – Bryan Adams has come to be known more as a crooner these days, playing mid-tempo, love songs, and the first two songs were exactly that. Then he did one of his 80s hits and things got a bit more lively, and from then on the gig got better and better.
He’s actually a bit of a rocker, is Bryan, and while most of what the world hears of the man is his schmalzier singles, a lot of his repertoire is good old head-down rock and roll. In a show that ran a good two and a half hours, he proved himself a conssumate professional. As well as being famously down-to-earth he’s also surprisingly funny, and on stage emits a general good mood vibe. He works the crowd like the seasoned entertainer he is; both he and the band are obviously enjoying themselves (guitarist Keith Scott and drummer Mickey Curry have been with him since the beginning of the 80s, and everyone except the much younger bass player has been with him for a long time too).
For the love of the thing
And after a good two hours, the band left the stage before coming back for a song together, and after that Bryan stood by himself with just an acoustic guitar and entertained the twenty-thousand-strong crowd like that for another half hour, playing classic covers including All Shook Up: the way you don’t really have to do if you’re world famous, the way you don’t have to do if you’ve sold 100 million albums plus, the way you don’t have to do unless you’re just really into it, for the love of the thing, for the love of playing music.
The thing is, Bryan Adams has built up a huge following and kept them through the years – through the decades in fact – by being consistently good value for money. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, sure, but if you’re an indie band who wants to go places you shouldn’t forget that this will only happen for you if you play on time, play good gigs, get the crowd involved, and just never, ever go away.
Review by Chi Chi Honeysuckle | Photos by Mia Morris
PS – for the people in the front row that Mia took a picture of, get in touch, so Mia can send you your photo. It’s cute.