Last updated on July 13th, 2023 at 07:07 am
The Bryan Adams So Happy It Hurts show started in darkness, with the voice of John Cleese telling the crowd of about 7,000 that “man fell into a black hole of making bad music” and that “there is no rock music.” The recording described an angel being sent as the world fell silent, awaiting that angel’s words.
Red lights filled the stage as an eerie red mutant-looking Bryan Adams said, “Let there be guitar, drums, bass, piano. Let there be a kick-ass, kick-ass rockin’ band!” Then he launched his “Canadian Rock Invasion,” minus that weird opening song. I thought, “Let the audience tell you you’re a kick-ass rockin’ band, hit the stage, and prove it.” The opening song, “Kick Ass,” was fun; it certainly didn’t kick ass and was silly and goofy fun at best.
The 63-year-old Adams then crafted his way through a night of nostalgic hits from the era when MTV videos were a thing and could make your career or break it.
The lights went white as Adams broke into “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started” and “Somebody,” the first pair of many hits. Upping the tempo, he then dedicated “It’s Only Love” to the recently deceased Tina Turner, his singing partner on that tune.
The night took on a fresh and unexpected twist as Adams brought out rockabilly star Brian Setzer (Stray Cats) for a four-song set that included “You Belong To Me” and “I’ve Been Looking For You,” two songs that were tailor-made for Setzer to take part in. Bryan and Brian took a fun take on the classic Cricket and Clash song “I Fought The Law.” The loudest cheers came as Setzer took lead vocals on his Stray Cats hit “Rock This Town,” ramping up the nostalgia to 11.
Of course, Adams himself got the X rocking all by himself with the cheeky “Summer Of 69,” “Cuts Like A Knife,” and “Run To You.”
Adams has a two-song portion of the set where he lets the fans choose the songs. (Supposedly, anyway; I have a feeling the songs are already decided.) This time, the fans chose the syrupy “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?” and the better choice, the high-energy “Kids Wanna Rock.”
If you’re a fan of Bryan Adams, you know he has several slow-tempo ballads that became massive hits. The audience seemed most engaged during these, especially “Please Forgive Me” and the megahit “Heaven.” During the latter, Adams took a breather as the crowd sang the entire first verse.
Adams played six ballads total, including “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” and an acoustic version of “Straight From The Heart.” These are some of his biggest hits that are basically a necessity from a fan’s perspective.
The one thing I loathed was how the show ended with “All For Love,” a ballad originally sung by Adams, Rod Stewart, and Sting. Obviously, Stewart and Sting couldn’t make it to the X to help, and the song felt small and tinny without them.
Rock icon Joan Jett and her band The Black Hearts started the night out with an almost hour-long throwback to the 80s when both Jett and Adams dominated FM Radio and MTV.
Jett was in excellent form, whether it was featuring new songs “If You’re Blue,” “Rear View Mirror,” and “Whiskey Goes Good” from her recently dropped EP Mindsets or with that classic punk sound from her days with the Runaways. She played “Cherry Bomb,” a classic hit that Runaways bandmate Lita Ford also sings in concert. I’m not sure which one sings it better; I’m leaning toward Jett, but it’s a close call.
Jett was at her best when she played the covers that she turned into hits, including Gary Glitter’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me,” Tommy James’s “Crimson & Clover,” and the infectious cover of The Arrow’s “I Love Rock “n” Roll.”
Joan Jett’s Setlist:
Shooting Into Space
Cherry Bomb (The Runaways cover)
Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah) (Gary Glitter cover)
You Drive Me Wild (The Runaways cover)
Rear View Mirror
Everyday People (Sly & the Family Stone cover)
If You’re Blue
I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll (The Arrows cover)
Crimson & Clover (Tommy James & the Shondells cover)
I Hate Myself for Loving You
Whiskey Goes Good
Bryan Adams Setlist:
Can’t Stop This Thing We Started
Take Me Back
Please Forgive Me
One Night Love Affair
Shine a Light
It’s Only Love (Dedicated to Tina Turner)
You Belong to Me (joined on stage by Brian Setzer on guitar)
I’ve Been Looking for You (joined on stage by Brian Setzer on guitar)
Rock This Town (Stray Cats cover) (Brian Setzer on lead vocals)
I Fought the Law (The Crickets cover) (sung as a duet by Bryan & Brian)
Here I Am
(Everything I Do) I Do It for You
Back to You
18 til I Die (Someday I’ll be 18 goin’ on 65)
Summer of ’69
Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman? (Fan Request)
Kids Wanna Rock (Fan Request)
Cuts Like a Knife
So Happy It Hurts
Run to You
Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (Frankie Valli cover)
Straight From the Heart (Bryan performed solo acoustic)
All for Love (Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting cover) (with “Shine a Light” intro)