Bryan Adams review – floating convertibles and harmony-driven rock chuggers
O2 Arena, London
Adams veers into cliche in his ‘guitars can save the world’ character, which does a disservice to his considerable power-pop craftsmanship
Twenty minutes before Bryan Adams takes the stage, an inflatable white convertible rises up from behind the sound desk. Propelled by four drones, it slowly cruises the venue’s upper reaches. Meanwhile, on a vast on-stage video screen, a real white convertible is brushed past by a huge marching band, robbed of a wheel by a thief, swooped by a swarm of bees, repaired by a Stetson-wearing mechanic and looted by another wheel thief.
It’s an unexpectedly theatrical, faintly surreal intro for the man fans know as “the groover from Vancouver”, who trades in well-tailored, often prosaic but occasionally transcendent AOR (with a lucrative sideline in blockbuster ballads for blockbuster movies). Eventually, text on the video screen unspools a preamble positing Adams as a denim-clad angel here to save the world with a guitar. That this grandiloquent build-up leads into Kick Ass, a cliched exercise in rock music about rock music that goes as far as to invite the assembled to “ride this crazy train”, is prime bathos. The song’s rote moves sound hollow, not playing to Adams’ true strengths.