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Live Review: Bryan Adams – 14th December 2022 – O2 Arena, London UK

4 min read
Rock icon @bryanadams dominated London's O2 Arena last night as he returns to the capital for So Happy It Hurts tour!

When it comes to Canadian music there are a few names that instantly come to mind for most – Celine Dion, Michael Bublé, Alanis Morissette, The Weekend or Shania Twain to name a few. But no list of iconic Canadians would be complete without worthy mention of Bryan Adams. It’s been a regretfully long time since I last saw Adams perform – a good 20 years ago in New Zealand in my early twenties and I loved it! Ever since I’ve been eager to see the superstar again, and last night was the night as Adams and his band touched down at London’s iconic O2 Arena as part of his So Happy It Hurts tour, supporting his latest album of the same name.

“It must be London tonight!”, Adams declared before paying homage to the penultimate show of this latest world tour as well as paying tribute to the final show for his sound engineer of 43 years before ripping into new song Shine A Light and career notable, Heaven which had everyone in the packed venue singing back to the superstar who finally got to bring the show to London following it’s postponement earlier in the year.

Just like the first time seeing Bryan Adams over twenty years ago, I forgot just how many massive hits the Canadian icon has produced for us over the course of his 40+ year career. Amongst the occasional newbie from new album and encore opener So Happy It Hurts was a plethora of musical triumphs that have helped carve one of the most envious and illustrious repertoires in the industry. Bold and brash inclusions like 18 Till I Die, When Your Gone and Back To You with it’s impressive piano work, watched over beautiful ballads including Heaven, Please Forgive Me and Cuts Like A Knife as the crowd lapped up every nostalgic moment. With such an abundance of hits, Adams was easily forgiven for not having Spice Girl Mel C join him for a perfect onstage collaborative opportunity.

Ensuring the set was as versatile as possible, around the countless hit singles Adams delivered segments of contrasting styles to mix things up a little. He took us back to the 1920’s with double-bass infused performances of You Belong to Me and I’ve Been Looking for You while downtempo, solo acoustic moments with encore numbers Straight From the Heart, All For Love and the festive Christmas Time, as well Here I Am, which he dedicated to his god-daughter in the audience, offered a chance to see the spotlight focus solely on Adams and an opportunity for the crowd to catch their breath.

The set was a mix of old and new, perfectly balanced and well positioned to keep the beaming crowd engaged and up for providing a solid backing vocal. From the twenty-somethings on my left that were belting back to Adams throughout almost every song in the set, to the sweet elderly couple to my left; the husband content on sitting and enjoying the show while his wife stood, hand clutching the seat for support as she danced along to the show, the night had a bit of something for everyone.

The musician was always eager to involve the crowd wherever he could throughout the set, even dedicating a large portion of the night to the audience for requests with the likes of war-inspired Rebel and a brief verse and chorus of On A Day Like Today finding a footing as the main segment of the show drew to a close. It was, however, performances of Can’t Stop This Thing We Started, Run To You, Summer of 69 and signature ballad, Everything I Do (I Do It For You) that stole the show; each played out in their precise original form. To compliment his back to back encore performances of So Happy It Hurts and Run To You, a giant inflatable replica of the So Happy It Hurts album cover car complete with beaming headlights flew over the crowd and the stage thanks to several attached drones, giving a unique theatrical element to the show.

It was a greatest hits style set from one of music’s most celebrated and iconic songwriters and performers. A voice unfaltering and a stage presence as energetic and charismatic as ever, last night’s show really was one that made us so happy it hurt!

Set list:

Kick Ass
Can’t Stop This Thing We Started
One Night Love Affair
Shine a Light
Go Down Rockin’
It’s Only Love
You Belong to Me
I’ve Been Looking for You
The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You
Here I Am
When You’re Gone
(Everything I Do) I Do It for You
Back to You
These Are the Moments That Make Up My Life
18 Til I Die
Summer of ’69
Take Me Back
On A Day Like Today
Please Forgive Me
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
All for Love (Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting cover)
Christmas Time