Monday, December 12, 2022

Bryan Adams @ Palais des Sports, Paris - December 12th, 2022

It's a glacial December night in Paris but things are about to get hot in the 15th arrondissement, as Bryan Adams is in town, touring behind his new album So Happy It Hurts. At 8:20, John Cleese's voice starts resonating in the arena, announcing the band's entrance on opener Kick Ass, the appropriately-named  second single from the new record, and we're off for two hours of killer songs and tight musicianship.

Adams has a very affable on-stage presence as well as a solid sense of humor, and his banter between the songs, en fran├žais s'il vous plait,  is almost as good as the songs themselves. Almost.

Because the songs are what everyone is here for: rockers, ballads, just an astounding barrage of smash hits that are etched into the minds of several generations of music fans. Even the newer numbers sound like vintage classics, and could have burned up the charts in the era when album and single sales were still a thing. Fans, young and old, singing every word, dancing, clapping, putting their phone lights up for such classics as Heaven, Cuts Like A Knife, Run To You, Summer Of 69... A true communion between an artist and his audience. The band is top-notch, of course, with special mention to long-time guitarist Keith Scott, whose leads and solos are almost as melodic and memorable as the songs themselves.

Unfortunately, like all halls designed for sports events, the sound is far from optimal: despite a clear and balanced mix from the engineer, the sound bounces on the back of the arena, producing a slight but noticeable echo. This isn't too obvious on the louder numbers where the volume stomps out most of the unwanted effect, but on quieter songs like the many ballads, it's a real annoyance.

Sonic considerations aside, this was an amazing show by the Canadian superstar who doesn't seem to age, physically or vocally and a perfect tour and year wrap for the singer and his band. But you could sum up the whole thing in just two words: Kick Ass!

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