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The Bryan Adams 'Bare Bones' Concert Experience - A Review

Updated on June 11, 2013

Bryan Adams strips his music down to its very foundation - just guitar chords and vocals - on his "Bare Bones" concert tour. And the songs don't just hold up; they pierce the skin, get right down under the rib cage, and, at the risk of sounding corny, work their way into your heart. This is what music is really about, and Adams has the talent to make simple simply sensational.

The "Bare Bones" tour was born as an experiment in 2008, according to the liner notes in Adams' album of the same name. Adams had been hankering to do more pared down shows after recording his MTV "Unplugged" album in 1996. The shows were successful, so much so that fans wanted a recording of the songs just like they'd heard them onstage. Adams released the "Bare Bones" album in 2010.

The "Bare Bones" tour continues today. In 2012 and 2013, Adams toured North America, Europe, Australia, Mexico, Canada and Japan.

Though he sometimes still plays arenas with a full band, Adams chooses smaller venues for his "Bare Bones" set, allowing him to be more intimate with the crowd. He interacts with audience members, sometimes teasing, sometimes insulting (all in jest), and yes, he takes requests.

The song line up includes classics and mega hits like "Summer of '69;" "Heaven;" "Cuts Like a Knife;" and "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You;" along with lesser known tunes like "You've Got A Friend In Me;" "It Ain't A Party (If You Can't Come 'Round); and "I Still Miss You....A Little Bit."

"I don't know if you got the memo about tonight's show, but this is the band," Adams says. That would be him, with a guitar and harmonica, and on a few selections, gifted pianist Gary Breit.

The backup band isn't missed, even a little bit, save for on "Summer of '69," which loses a little of its rock n' roll edge. Had the song not become so anthemic, it probably wouldn't matter much, but it's a classic and it's hard to be satisfied with anything that veers slightly left of the original.

But for the most part, the set is knockout fantastic. Adams writes his songs with an acoustic guitar, and when all the fancy instrumentation is removed, it turns out, they can stand alone just beautifully.


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So it's a shame Adams isn't given enough credit as an artist. His lyrics are deceptively simple. Deceptive in that he makes writing a song that stands the test of 30 years look easy. His brand of rock has repeatedly been called the meat and potatoes variety, perhaps a nice way of saying it's not all that complex. But let's not forget, meat and potatoes are the foundation of the meal. It's good, solid stuff, and people have been rocking out (and making out) to these songs for three decades. Give Adams fair due: He knows how to make music that remains relevant.

Not many artists can take the stage in blue jeans and a black shirt, accessorized with nothing but a guitar, and captivate an audience. But he does it. And the raw edge the music takes on is thrilling.

At a January 2013 concert near Atlanta, the man didn't hit a bad note all night. He sounded just as good, no, better, than you've heard him on the radio, his trademark raspy voice having a bit more gravel in it these days.

Surprisingly soulful, Adams delivered a beautiful tribute to his favorite singer, Ray Charles, by singing a song he wrote for the late legend but "forgot to give it to him" called, "The Right Place." He followed it up with a stunning version of "I Can't Stop Loving You," which has to be one of the best renditions of the song that anyone, including Charles, has ever sung.

Adams stopped the show to sign an autograph for a fan who'd brought along her 1983 "Cuts Like a Knife" LP. He even mimicked his cheesy pose on the album cover. At one point, he broke into a country twang, getting whoops and hollers from his Southern audience. (And darn if the guy can't sing country, too.)

Adams clearly wears his rock icon status lightly. He knows when to pull back - he tours only about 10 days a month, is fiercely protective of his private life and spends his time off the road pursuing other interests, like photography - and he also knows when to pull out all the stops. He may only take the stage 10 days a month, but he does it right, and he leaves everything he's got out there. Maybe that's why he's still around.

His formula is still garnering new fans. Two young girls who looked to be in their late teens, early 20s, attended the Atlanta show. It was their second Adams' concert; a few months earlier they'd taken their dad, a long-time fan, to a show for his birthday. Adams handpicked the girls to come down from the nosebleed section and take a spot on the front row - something he does at about every show - and two forever fans, who weren't even alive when "Cuts Like a Knife" was released, were born.

Those girls are of the generation that listens to songs about booty-shakin', sung by 'artists' who trust in Auto-Tune to cover up their inadequacies along with a hefty helping of half-naked background dancers and pyrotechnics. But they found something pure, and they were screaming like it was the second coming of Elvis.

Call this reviewer an old fogey, but there's nothing wrong with music that actually sounds like music. There's something spiritual about the real deal. I'll take Adams any day, full band or solo, however he wants to play. But I prefer him stripped down to the bare bones.


© 2013 Crystal Tatum


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    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Vespawoolf, I hope you will see him live when he comes to your area. He is fantastic.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I am also a Bryan Adams fan and would love to see his Bare Bones concert. He's definitely successful with his basic approach. We own a couple of his concerts on DVD and have reaped many hours of enjoyment. Thank you for sharing your concert experience.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for stopping by word55!

    • word55 profile image

      Word 4 years ago from Chicago

      Bryan is a favorite rock player and singer! "I'm Going To Run To You" Thanks for sharing.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks Jaime.

    • profile image

      jaime Moura 4 years ago

      sometimes i say if only i could sing i`d follow this guy .i get no coment but he´s an idol to . anyway i´ll be share the moment on line.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks DDE!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The Bryan Adams 'Bare Bones' Concert Experience - A Review I like most songs by his singer and you created such a well written review.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      I completely agree Average Joe. He's a great musician.

    • profile image

      Average Joe 4 years ago

      Bryan Adams is truly underappreciated, thank you for voicing this. Just gold old rock and roll... which is something which stands the test of time, regardless what the beat or technology of the day is. He has several songs which young folks would like, regardless of the generation. And on top of tha..., dig a little deeper, and he has several more which also stand the test of time.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks Thelma. Bryan is great live. I hope you get to see him.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      Great hub. I love Bryan Adams music. I wish I´ll be in his concert one day! Thanks for sharing Crystal. Have a great weekend!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks so much khmazz!

    • khmazz profile image

      Kristen Mazzola 5 years ago from South Florida

      Fantastic hub! I really enjoyed your writing style too, the review was great!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you so much brevewarrior. You rock! I'll be doing the same.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Excellent review, Crystal. I see why you are a journalist. You relate to the reader and have a true gift of the written gab. I enjoy reading your work and am going up to the top of the page, grab your profile and hit the follow button!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      I think you'd love to see the acoustic show Annie. I was stunned at how good he sounded live. You really can't find many performers who sound that good live anymore.

    • Annie Miller profile image

      Annie Miller 5 years ago from Wichita Falls, Texas

      Great Hub, Crystal. I saw him perform in concert in the 80s and was surprised and became a fan. I'd love to see him live again.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks so much Mhatter99!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      How can anyone who reads this not give it an awesome rating. more than great work.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      Okay Crystal and I am sending a 'party' of Hubbers over from

      My daddy is a mummy - piece.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      I shall never grow tired of your flattery, Epi. Seriously, thanks for the grand review of my review. However, if Bryan Adams really sat on your deck and played music, I don't like you very much right now! Jealously is an ugly thing.

      I am heading to YouTube to check out Willy deVille and will report back.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      Wow Crystal you are a world class rock journalist and should be writing for the Rolling Stone magazine. I am Canadian too so I am proud of my 'Bryan' and he does us proud back home.

      And you are doing yourself proud too because this is such an excellent rock concert review and this write-up could easily fit into any newspaper in North America.

      I always wondered what Bryan would sound like in an acoustic setting (other than the time he and I shared some beers on my deck and he brought out his gee-tar) and through your passionate and detailed review -now I know.

      Sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 9:50pm

      and try one of my favorites - Willy deVille (he's on you tube)

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Yes, he

      s also a great photographer. Too much talent in one individual!

    • profile image

      anndango 5 years ago

      He is good! But I'm biased being Canadian and all. And he's a talented photographer to boot. Great hub! Voting up.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      I've been a fan, but rather on the mild side, until I saw this show. He's really surprisingly good.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      He is a talented performer for sure. Great review, Crystal. Now I'd like to see him in concert. :)


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