Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Bryan Adams Rocks the Forest

Forestry England are back on the festival trail this year, heavily promoting their outdoor events which were paused for a couple of years along with most other public events. 

To make up for lost time, national forest parks across the UK are hosting a stunning line up of shows featuring such names as Becky Hill, Daniel Bedingfield, Gregory Porter, Gabrielle, Hothouse Flowers, Nile Rogers, Paloma Faith, Sting, Tom Jones, The Corrs, Van Morrison and even Olly Murs. There really is something for everyone this summer in these festival-style open air events, set in the beautiful surroundings of the national forest.

At the Delamere forest in Cheshire, during a small window of blue sky that has come to be the trademark of what, in 2024, we laughingly call a summer, Bryan Adams was supported by VIVAS and Cassyette, playing to a crowd that stretched as far as they eye could see, from the edge of the stage right up to the official merchandise and mac ’n’ cheese stalls at the top of the hill which forms a natural amphitheatre for a series of shows playing throughout the summer.

VIVAS, a four piece indie rock band from Sheffield opened the show with a light, energetic set of enjoyable rock that kept the huge crowd entertained. Next up, Essex born alternative rock-punk-glam-goth singer songwriter Cassyette (aka Cassy Brooking) didn’t miss the opportunity to slap a few thousand people right between the eyes with her energetic, sharp performance. Overall, two support acts that did a great job of waking up the audience for the main star.

An entertaining backdrop video, promoting the latest ‘So Happy It Hurts’ album, slowly built up anticipation, climaxing with a giant marching band foreshadowing the arrival on stage of Canadian rock veteran and legend Bryan Adams and his fairly minimalist band comprising long time musical partner and virtuoso guitarist Keith Scott along with Mickey CurrySolomon Walker and Gary Breit. Launching straight into the classic high energy rock sound that Adams does best with ‘Kick Ass’, the crowd were up and dancing and the forest was shaking with the sound that has kept Adams recording and touring for almost 50 years, amassing worldwide sales of up to 100 million records.

Adams played tribute to his friend Tina Turner who duetted with him on one of his most famous releases, ‘It’s Only Love’, with the live performance morphing into a medley of two of Turner’s other best known songs, ‘Simply the Best’ and ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It?’.

Adams’ setlist was a familiar tour around all of his fan favourites, including ‘Can’t Stop This Thing We Started’, ‘18 ‘til I Die’, ‘One Night Love Affair’, ‘Heaven’, ‘Cuts Like a Knife’ and of course the crowd-thrilling, mandatory singalong, ‘Summer of ‘69’ which has so far clocked up 1.2 billion listens on Spotify. 2024 is not turning out to be a summer which “seemed to last forever” but judging from the voices of the huge crowd in the forest, these could well be the best days of their lives.

The relentless, infectious pace slowed down for the song which is Adams’ best seller and which probably brought him a new audience, perhaps to the chagrin of the diehard fans who were first attracted to the raw, mid-atlantic rock sound. That song is of course the soundtrack to the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It for You’. The song was an enormous chart success internationally, hitting the number one position on the music charts of at least 19 countries. In the UK, it spent 16 consecutive weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart, the longest uninterrupted run ever. Of course, thousands of voices joined in with the chorus, most of whom presumably contributed to the song’s commercial success.

Bryan Adams has been an unstoppable light rock hits machine for half a century and there’s no sign of that success slowing down. In the words of his own song, “Don’t stop this thing we started”.

The So Happy It Hurts tour continues across the UK, Europe, Canada and US through to the end of 2024. 

Forest Live continues at Forestry England sites across the UK into July.

Peter Freeth

Instagram @genius.photo.pf

Web genius.photo

Images: Peter Freeth

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